Wednesday

Gifting Required?

Received Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN I know that there is an upcoming posting about holiday bonuses, but I'm wondering what families expect from their nannies around Christmas time. Generally I give gifts at birthdays and such, but am always at a loss around Christmas since most of the families I've worked for don't celebrate it due to religious reasons. This year however my situation is a bit different and I need some advice.

I recently quit my job (an entire other posting that maybe I'll share someday), and have been lucky enough to find a new one quickly. However it doesn't begin full time until January 4, 2010. This month (December) I am going to be working for them for 2 weeks as a transition. They have a 3 month old baby and he is their first child. I'm really excited to work for them, I believe we are going to be well suited for one another.

So my question is this, what do I do for a gift? They are Jewish (not strict) and I'm unsure what the tradition is with Christmas. Should I do a simple card? Possibly buy the baby a book? What seems appropriate since I'm not even working for them full time yet? I don't expect any sort of bonus or gift from them, but I want to at least acknowledge the holiday.

27 comments:

Kaitlyn & Daniel said...

A card and a homemade baked good would be nice. Pretzels dipped in white chocolate with crushed peppermint are yummy. I wouldn't get the baby anything. Just something very simple and sweet.

nannyneedsanap said...

If you can get the baby to yourself for a little while, a card with his handprints in it would be cute for the parents, or trace his little hands on green costruction paper and cut out about twenty of them. Cut out the center of a small paper plate and glue his little hands all around it. dip his finger in red paint and make berries on it, then take his picture and glue it in the middle. I think a home made gift from the baby will mean the most to them.

nyc mom said...

I appreciate any small gesture from my nanny. No expectation of spending money. Would be just as happy with a $5 baby book, a lovely craft such as nannyneedsanap suggested, as some homemade cookies. Since we try hard to always recognize our nanny's bday, her kids' bdays, and xmas and I have my kids buy her gifts with their own money also (they are a bit older), I do appreciate the gesture.

CuriousDad said...

How about a card expressing your Holiday wishes and appreciation to work for them? With MAYBE a small token gift for the child.

ItsTheHolidays said...

First of all, jewish peopel celebrate Chanukah, so, please do not give them a Christmas card or a gift wrapped in Christmas paper, even if they are non observant, they would still be doing Chanukah.

If you want to give them something, I would suggest a gift to the child and not to the adults. Any gift to the child would be appropriate, wrap it in Chanukah paper and a nice Chanukah card to the parents.

Nanny in San Diego said...

I would just give a nice card to the family, maybe a small token such as a baby's book...but not much else. I wouldn't want to look like I was sucking up to my boss just yet.

Momkat said...

Chanukah starts this Friday, December 11 and lasts for eight nights. I would give them a Chanukah card with a nice message about looking foward to working for them. I think your idea of giving the baby a book is very sweet--I'll be they would appreciate it. If you don't want to get a full roll of Chanukah paper, you can get a Chanukah gift bag, and put the book and card in it. It would be "just enough" and a very nice way of starting off a relationship with the family. You sound very kind and sweet. Enjoy your new job =)

ericsmom said...

I would just get the baby a Carters outfit. Its not expensive. $10-15 dollars. You don't have to do Christmas or Chanukah wrapping paper. You can get a cute winter scenery paper. Like snowmen, winter scenery, etc.

Just Me said...

If you are considering a small gift such as an outfit like ericsmom suggested, there are lots of department stores with children's clearance racks that have good quality brands for cheap. I'm not sure how far the chain goes but I live at Kohls' for their clearance racks. I can spend $50 and get $150 of clothes, all off the clearance racks. Just double check the baby's size or buy a size up.

Village said...

I think a card for their holiday, not Christmas, and a book you intend to read to the child.

IMHO, I wouldn't want anyone putting my three month old baby's hands into paint for any reason, no matter what type of paint. I don't think you should do that. That is not a good way to start a relationship.

lynn said...

I'd get the baby a $5 board book....they even make ones called "my first hanukkah"....and give it to them the week of the 14th since that is during hanukkah

MissMannah said...

Personally, I disagree with many of the previous posts. You're not even an "official" employee until after the new year so you don't need to get them anything. I'm sure they aren't expecting anything, especially since they don't even celebrate Christmas. Since you said they aren't strict Jews, it makes me wonder if they even celebrate Hanukkah. I've known several who don't--or at least don't make a big deal out of it. If you want to do something, get a holiday card. Something wintery, not with any particular holiday symbols on it. Put a nice little note in there thanking them for the job and saying how much you look forward to getting to know the family in the next year.

VAnanny said...

I think any effort you put towards a gift or card is a wonderful sentiment that the parents will really appreciate. I think you sound wonderful! Good luck in your new position!

aunt/nanny said...

I would probably give them something at Hannukah instead of Christmas. I just made the presents I'm giving my employers for Christmas today. I bought 2 Hand Mold Ornament kits from Hobby Lobby. I made one with his hand mold, and one with his foot mold. Tomorrow I will paint them. I'm going to give Mom one and Dad one. She's expressed interest in making the ornaments several times, but she's never done it. I did it at home today while she was there. She saw me getting the clay and plaster ready, then I asked her to go upstairs for 20 minutes. So she probably knows what I made, but I didn't tell her. I want her to know so that she does not make them herself, but also did not want to tell her and "ruin" the suprise. I already bought the baby's gift. He is 14mos old, and spends a lot of time outside, but doesn't have a lot to play with out there. Mom brought home a Little Tykes slide/climber thing yesterday. I bought him the Little Tykes Coupe Car, but told Mom so she knows not to get it. An expensive option, yes, it costs $50. But I am a live-in, and have been with this family for a year now. I am extremely close to them, especially Mom and baby. I went with them to their family's house for Thanksgiving this year. Everyone was very welcoming. I attend their family's birthday parties, Sunday morning breakfasts, etc. I was sat down last week and asked if I wanted to be a part of their family. I have not spoken to my family in years, and my husband recently passed away. They want me to be a member of their family, not just a nanny. So, after that long-winded explanation, I wanted to buy that expensive gift, because he is like my faux-nephew, and I knew he would love it.

ericsmom said...

Aunt/nanny

You made my eyes tear up when I read your post. I wish the best for you and your new extended family : )

Yaya said...

I've always done a thoughtful gift for the parents from the child. Example: Take the baby's footprint in white paint and add details so it looks like a snowman and make that an ornament.

I've also always gotten the kids I nanny for gifts, but I decided that this year I am not going to do that since last year they threw my gifts and said they didn't like them, and well...I don't have a lot of money so they have been crossed off my list.

Philadelphia Nanny said...

I like to give a gift that my kids and I made together for my nanny like a card, etc. along with a small store bought gift (bracelet or gift card).

Manhattan Nanny said...

Congratulations on your new job!
Hanukkah is celebrated from Dec. 12-19 this year, and children receive gifts on all eight days, so any one of those days would be fine. I think a small board book would be perfect. You don't need special Hanukkah paper. The traditional colors are blue and white. I use blue tissue paper and white ribbon. You could make a card that says happy first Hanukkah. I think they would be very pleased.

dadiswrongonthisone said...

I am making refrigerator magnets for my family and friends this year: you can buy the magnet paper at staples and then design your own magnets on the computer: it's so easy. You could put a picture of the kids on the magnets if you have some on file in your computer. I think the parents would love something like this.

bippitybpooityboo said...

Some homes will be offended or be unable to except even well meaning "Chanukah gifts." Since you really don't know this family very well and though you may suspect that you aren't a strict jewish families, some traditions may still be important to them. I say avoid an awkward situation and just let the holiday slide this year since you haven't really started working there anyways.

cali mom said...

Hmm...I'd say nothing at all is required or probably expected, since you aren't actually working for them yet, therefore the thought you put into this *should* be very much appreciated.

Maybe you could pick out a wintry, completely non-denominationl card with snowflakes or something, and write "best wishes for the season" kind of message, with a note about how much you are looking forward to working with them in the coming year, and either a small gift for the baby (like a book as people suggested) or a yummy gift of special baked goods, if you do that for people. Chocolate dipped shortbread in a fancy tin, etc.

Janet English said...

Put it in the mailbox that way if they didn't think about you for a card, they will have time to buy and write one for you w/o feeling awkward.

silver bells said...

bippity- can you let me know why some Jewish families would not accept Hannukah gifts from the nanny? Now I'm nervous because I just bought gifts for the kids.

OP- also, if you are uncertain about their religious holidays, you could send them a New Year's card instead, which might be more appropriate, since you can refer to your upcoming year together. Also, I agree about buying a board book for the baby- something you can use with him.

OP said...

Thank you everyone for your suggestions. I think I'm going to give them a holiday baked good and a Hanukkah card.

I've completed 2 of my transition days and as expected things are going fabulously. It's also given me a chance to get to know them better in religious terms. They celebrate mainly Hanukkah, but a little Christmas also.

I plan on giving this to them on the last day of my transition, which is also the last day of Hanukkah.

Thanks again!

bippityboppityboo said...

Hi silver bells!
I didn't mean to make you nervous! I'm sure most people would graciously accept a "Chanukah gift". Some homes that keep more strictly to Jewish traditions try to more conciously seperate the holiday of Chanukah and the holiday of Christmas which they do not partake in. Even gift giving can be too Christmasy in some homes. This is a minority but it does exist as a practice in some homes. Really depends on the family/community. Just a heads up but I wouldn't worry I'm sure your in the clear. Either way your family will know you meant well. Good luck and happy hannukah and/or Christmas!

silver bells said...

bippityboppityboo-

thanks for the clarification. I am always learning new things about Judaism, so I just thought that was one I hadn't heard, but I know exactly what you mean now. Happy holiday(s) to you also, and everyone else on this board.

m said...

I am very generous with gifts for the kids, and I do spend quite a bit of money on both birthdays and around the holidays for Hanukkah. Then again, I am a generous gift giver all around- even the cleaning people get gifts from me.

That being said you don't always have to spend money as some of these posters suggested. I really believe most parents appreciate any effort you put into personally made gifts/

The first ear on this job that I handed over gifts after they gave me mine, they were literally shocked and embarrassed and then proceed to tell me, 'No, you don't have to.' Excuse me, since when do you get to tell me how to spend m money, what the heck!
they haven't complained since!

You didn't have to give me any either, yet here you are doing the very thing you are suggesting I not do.