I was just about to sit down and write a few holiday thank yous to deliver around school tomorrow.... when I begain to think about holiday gifts from school in the past. * One district I worked in had a charity (providing for Christmas for struggling - anonymous - families in the district) and asked that no gifts be given to the teachers, but instead a contribution be given to the charity in the teacher's name. This went over fairly well, but then some families ignored the request - or gave both to the charity and to the teacher as well. And you would see THESE children be embarrassed when they didn't give a gift to the teacher as a number of their classmates. * a girlfriend of mine ... probably the greatest teacher I have had the pleasure to know personally ... was given so many gifts. WOW! There was a HUGE gift certificate from the entire class.. about $175.00 which is very large, yes! But this was back in the mid-80's so it was unbelievable then. But THEN every student ALSO gave a gift of their own. Sadly, a few years later, her husband divorced her - in a WHIRLWIND affair-laden divorce. One weekend when she was on a religious retreat, she returned to find that he had cleared out her house, except for her bed and her clothes. There was NOTHING left for her and her toddler. Within a week the current class, the faculty and staff, and those families who had had her in the past furnished her ENTIRE home - and she had such a surplus she gave things away to charity. That Christmas her toddler was given anonymous gifts that reached the ceiling of her living room. Talk about being a beloved teacher. She is amazing - and my hero. But even *I* was stunned by the response. *One school I worked at.... one Christmas (my first one at this Catholic School), one student gave me a medium-sized sauce pan. It was a nice sauce pan, but, well....no one had given me a pot before. Rather surprised - I brought it with me to lunch that day, and the teachers oooed and ahhhed over it. hehehe, really? "NO! You don't understand!" said my mentor teacher. "This family SELLS those pots (probably door to door or at home parties- since this was before the internet really took off). And you can tell how much they admire the particular teacher by how big the pot or pan is. We haven't seen one THAT big yet! you should have seen the one they gave to Mrs. *P*. I've never seen a pot that small. We thought it was one for a barbie doll." * This year, one of the teachers at my current school was grimacing (after school hours) about a small token gift from a student with whom she spent most of her energy and a large gift from a student who she liked but didn't need to spend a lot of time with. She said, "isn't that just the way it goes... parents have no clue the time you spend. And it's my experience that the more effort you give towards a student - the smaller the appreciation gift will be." *** As a previous music teacher and now a one on one aide (vs a classroom teacher), I'm sort of happily surprised when they remember me at all. **** What were your experiences?