First, find out school policy and abide by the rules. What, I am bossy? Yeah, that’s news. Really, figure out (ask other parents in the school) what is customary and either follow it or if, for some reason, it doesn’t seem enough to you… get creative and come up with some new ideas.
So, what to give? Is handwritten card and cookies enough or do you slip a gift card inside? If you do, try Sephora, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts or iTunes. Sometimes a group gift is in order. so pony up and be the one that collects the money and buys the gift, assign someone else the task of getting the card signed by all of the students. More work for you but you will make some teacher’s day.
The new Flour Bakery cookbook (add some sweet wooden spoons or a whisk and a pretty dishtowel and put them in a mixing bowl). You could also make your favorite recipe from the cookbook and include the baked goods with the book.
Penzey’s is a great stop – the catalog is great but the store is even better (in Arlington, MA). They also have the best packaging for the spices; whole nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves are placed between the bottles in many of their gift boxes. You can put together your own, too. Pretty and sweet or savory.
Don’t forget plants. Sure, a poinsettia or a white amaryllis or some sweet paper whites. Sounds boring? Not this time of year in New England! Go get a nice orchid (Trader Joe’s has them, as does Whole Foods) or a big gorgeous flowering tropical house plant (just be sure to cover it well when you run it outside). Nearby garden centers will have a nice selection and you will get a much needed dose of green while you shop. Usually know for their more expensive arrangements, Winston Flowers has some less expensive choices that are lovely, too. I have also had great luck at the Waban 1-800-Flowers store. Great selection and great customer service, too.
The most important thing is to thank the teachers and let them know they are appreciated. Happy Holidays and head over to Pragmatic Mom for super Tutor Gift Ideas.
The 12 Days of Shopping
I will be posting The 12 Days of Shopping jointly with Capability:Mom. Please visit her blog to see the other half of each post.
Dec 1: Make Your Own Gifts GRANOLA, Amazing Granola from Nigella Lawson versus Amazing Granola Bars from The Barefoot Contessa
Dec 2: Kids Make Gifts CRAFT (ModPodge versus Clove Fruit)
Dec 3: Personalized Gifts (Fancy Address Stampers versus Pretty Papers Giveaway)
Dec 4: Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom
Dec 5: Tutors/Teachers
Dec 6: High Tech/Low Tech
Dec 7: Hostess/Doing Good and Getting Something
Dec 8: Sanitation Engineers, Mail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer, etc. (a.k.a. who else did I forget?)
Dec 9: Husband, Me (Our Own Wacko List); Capability:Mom Husband/Wife
Dec 10: Dog/Cat
Dec 11: Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store
Dec 12: ’Cause I Am So Together, Last Minute Home Made Gifts: Cookies & Personalized Holiday Tags
Nope, (I rarely run out of stuff to talk about – really) just a case of over-booking – something my husband finds prevalent on my side of the family – as in “Let’s run a road race, have a clambake and maybe build a deck…in the same day!” Okay, I exaggerate but once we did have a clambake, run a road race and have a 70th birthday party in one weekend (not in that order) with all of my siblings and our spouses and children (all under 10 years of age) and my parents. So we are that kind of family. Oh, did I mention I have three sisters and a brother and that the 70th birthday party included about 30 other people? On the beach? Yeah.
How did I marry someone who doesn’t do this? Maybe self-preservation kicked in. Maybe hearing, “Honey, baking 200 cookies and running the bake sale while planning for a big family event and starting to work is maybe a little too much?” helps me realize what is actually on my plate. I am also really bad at timing meals – the salad gets made whenever it occurs to me (usually in the middle of the process of cooking something complicated) – just a fair warning of more of my – admitted to, anyway – short-comings.
So, it is true, when I agree to do too much – well, it doesn’t always go well. I get run down, cranky and maybe not so much fun. Quite possibly I get sick, too and then I am no use to anyone. I am thinking about how to minimize this self-imposed stress but haven’t exactly worked out how yet. Let me know how you say no to opportunities when they sound good or make you feel guilty for not saying yes. Do you have a pat one-liner? Years of practice or do you say yes too much?
I like to think that I am an optimist – that does not mean I do not complain – and that it will all work out in the end. So I have over-booked. It is true. I am getting ready for Thanksgiving (not hosting, phew), writing an article, writing up meeting notes, planning some marketing with a friend for other venues, joining a networking group and taking on some part-time work. Oh, and there is more – meeting about a volunteer position at the library (I love the library) that will take up even more time, scheduling parent-teacher conferences, attending parent-teacher conferences, and the usual day-to-day mom stuff. Yup. I am officially in the weeds. Maybe I will bake a pie today, too.
There is a group of really dedicated women who have taken it upon themselves to find local charities who need a boost or, if you will, a step up. They focus on small, local non-profits that do not have huge marketing budgets but that are doing good work. It is an informal gathering of women (sorry, guys – you can send a check, though!) and the suggested donation is only $35. It is a really nice way to connect within your community, socialize a little and make a tangible difference. I encourage you to go (it is fun), get involved and do some good. I wrote about my experience here and they liked it so much they asked to put it on their website. The next fundraiser is October 13 and focuses on Strong Women, Strong Girls which is a great organization that pairs college-age mentors with younger girls.
Strong Women, Strong Girls is an emerging not-for-profit organization that supports the leadership and self-esteem development of women and girls. The mission of Strong Women, Strong Girls is to build upon the lessons learned from strong women throughout history to encourage girls and young women become strong women themselves. By building communities of women committed to supporting positive social change, Strong Women, Strong Girls works to create cycles of mutual empowerment for women and girls.
To do this, Strong Women, Strong Girls has created an innovative after school model that uses the study of contemporary and historic female role models, mentoring relationships with college undergraduate women, and skill building activities to help at-risk girls in grades 3-5 build positive self-esteem and skills for life-long success.
In addition to supporting the development of young girls, Strong Women, Strong Girls also emphasizes the leadership and growth of the college women who volunteer as mentors. Strong Women, Strong Girls seeks to build the skills and leadership capacity of these talented young women to engage them as mentors for girls in their communities now and as life-long advocates for women and girls.
There are chapters at the following institutions of higher education: Boston College,Harvard University,Northeastern University, Simmons College, Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University and U0niversity of Pittsburgh.
From A Step Up’s website:
The mission of a step up is to educate members of our community about the innovative, important contributions made by local charities and to raise money for specific initiatives at these organizations. All of the money we raise goes directly to the people who need help – none goes to overhead or fundraising costs.
To achieve this mission a step up invites women we know to attend fun, informal gatherings. We host the events at our homes and we invite a representative from the organization to speak about their work and impact. We ask guests for a $35 donation which will go towards a specific initiative at the organization we are supporting. We have a chance to socialize with old and new friends while learning about a charity and the many ways to get involved in our community. We hope to make positive changes in peoples lives and raise our level of awareness while meeting new and interesting women.
So please join me in strengthening our community and supporting these hard-working volunteers (they charm local merchants into donating the refreshments and I suspect they go out of pocket if no one ponies up) all funds go to the featured non-profit. They donate the space, the food and beverages (yes, there will be wine) and their time and energy. The least you can do is to join in. Contact them at email@example.com for more information.
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