It’s that time of year again, the time where you look at that ever-increasing list of people who you feel obligated to give a Christmas gift to. Family, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, in-laws — those are all required. But then there are those you’re not always so sure about: the parcel delivery guy, your manicurist, the garbage man, the paper boy, and yes, your daycare provider.
May I be so bold as to suggest that while the delivery guy and the manicurist do an amazing job, your daycare provider is one person you may want to prioritize on your gift-giving list. And there’s a very good reason for that. You’re not placing your hands or your Amazon purchases in their loving care, you’re placing your child in their care. And that’s a really big deal.
So, what DO you give to a daycare provider for Christmas anyway? Here are a few ideas to get you thinking:
1. A Week’s Pay. During my time as a daycare provider, I never received a week’s pay as a gift, but I’ve heard it’s been done! Okay, okay, not many of us have that much extra cash laying around at Christmas time. But have no fear, there are lots of other ways to show your appreciation (that don’t cost quite so much money!)
2. A Gift Card for a restaurant or movie. I loved receiving gift cards for Swiss Chalet or Kelsey’s or Cora’s, because it meant I could spend some quality time out with my own family. The families that I often received these kinds of gift cards from were the ones that realized how much my kids gave up (their space, Mommy’s attention, their peace and quiet, etc.) to share their home with other kids during the week.
3. Tea or Coffee. If your daycare provider relies on caffeine to keep up with the little ones, surprise her with her favourite tea, coffee, or hot chocolate, or with a selection of K-Cups or T-Discs if she has a single-serve machine.
4. Chocolate. Probably goes without saying ….
5. Scented Wax Warmer. If she’s got a house full of little ones during the day, chances are your daycare provider could use something to freshen up that house, especially in the middle of winter (several dirty diapers/day + weather too cold to open windows = one stinky house). Candles are too dangerous to burn with several children around, but wax warmers and pod warmers are perfect!
6. Home-Baked Goodies. Why not spend some quality time with your kiddo baking up some yummies for your daycare provider? Not only will she enjoy the results, but you’ll be able to teach your little one about giving in the process.
7. An Ornament, Picture or Craft made by your little one. Another great way for your kiddo to take part in giving back to your daycare provider!
8. A Sincere, Hand-Written Note of Thanks. We all know how much parents depend on their daycare providers, but it’s always a great idea to let your daycare provider know just how much you appreciate the care she gives, the songs she teaches, the skills she reinforces, and the love she shows by writing a thank you card. What better time to do it than at Christmas? The encouragement may be just what she needs to get through those long months of January and February with 5 little cabin-feverish kiddos every day.
9. Dinner Delivery. Give your daycare provider 24 hours notice that you’d like to provide dinner for her family. Then, bring a salad, main course and dessert, along with disposable plates and cutlery, the next afternoon when you pick up your little one. Not only will your provider enjoy the break from making dinner that night, she also won’t have to do the dishes!
10. Pick Your Child Up Early on Christmas Eve. Your daycare provider may be staying open til her usual closing time, but trust me, she’ll be pleasantly surprised to have a quieter afternoon on Christmas Eve.
You can spend $0 or $300, but whatever you do, let your daycare provider know just how much you appreciate her this Christmas season!