Sunday, November 14, 2010

Etiquette, Holiday Edition

The holidays are coming, which makes me think about, well, obligation gifts. Off the top of my head I can think of the following categories of people I will or should be giving gifts to:

  • Nanny
  • House cleaner
  • Newspaper delivery person
  • Postal worker (if you are my parents, at least*)
  • Administrative staffer(s) who have helped me in the past year
  • Ada's teacher
Now this last one is the thing that got me started thinking about all this. I saw this idea on parenthacks for a teacher gift, which sounds delicious but made me think: ANOTHER person to whom I now have a seasonal obligation?

Don't get me wrong, I really like Ada's teacher, and Ada clearly thinks she's fantastic. But am I supposed to buying or making her a gift? Isn't it enough that we are ceaselessly engaged in the financial support of the school, or bringing snack, doing the weekly class wash or volunteering for lunch duty, cooking assistant or PE helper? (Okay, I am not volunteering much, but Chris has done more than his share of this kind of thing over the past few months.)

So what do you do? Do you give the teacher a gift? The postal worker? The newspaper guy? (the latter is probably the most in need financially, and he has done a good job getting the paper on the porch this rainy season...) Who else do you give gifts to at the holidays? Why or why not? 

*My parents seem to have very good relations with their postal worker. I think this guy has moved on, but for a while they had a postal worker nicknamed Smokey, who left them a fantastic, idiosyncratic poem one year.

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