Gift Giving Guidance

Here we have another holiday season. I want to offer a bit of advice as a professional nanny and pet-sitter regarding gifts for us at this time of year. I like to think that most people want to give a gift because they want to, not because they feel they have to. They say it's the thought that counts so please, put some thought into the gift you give us.

Please don't give us the free gift you got along with your cosmetics purchase. They have been advertising it for weeks and we can spot it a mile away. Often, it is not what we use or want. Please don't re-gift that cash card you found lying in the drawer a month ago. In my case, the one I got had been used and obviously, the woman had forgotten. Another one I got had expired and a third had an activation fee and use fee and was worth much less than the face value. Unless you are 100 percent sure we will use it, please don't give us store or restaurant gift cards. Likewise, unless you know we love sweets, liquor and certain foods, keep the chocolates and Hickory Farm cheese boards. Please don't give us mugs, knick-knacks, pins, scarves or candles -again- unless you know we really want them. Ask yourself, would you want this mug or candle or scarf? If you know how long we have been in this profession, you can bet that we have these items stock-piled and if there is ever a post-apocalyptic world where mugs, knick-knacks, candles, pins and scarves are currency, we will be rich!

If you know we have our own children, please remember them. I would rather receive a gift for my child from my employer then for myself. I know it's hard to buy for the nanny so don't sweat it! We can always use cash. I don't know any nannies who are so wealthy they couldn't use the extra help, especially around the holidays! A bonus is the best bet. No really, it is. Every year, my latest employer gives me a generous bonus and a card with a heartfelt note about what my involvement in her and her children's lives mean to me. It is the best gift in the world. Want to give something else instead of just the bonus? How about a paid afternoon or day off in addition to the bonus. Do it a few weeks before the holidays, so your sitter can do her shopping. That would be so much more appreciated then a bottle of perfume or a scented candle set. Thanks for reading and wishing everyone peace this holiday season! Happy Holidays - Chris


Liz said...

I love your sense of humor, lol - "post-apocalyptic world"! Merry Xmas to you! I hope you don't get any cheese boards!

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

Back when I was a kid, the big No-No gift was a fruitcake. LOL.

Anyway, I can't believe that modern etiquette states that it is perfectly acceptable to re-gift these days. If you can't enjoy a gift, why not give it to someone else who can??!! Well, let me tell you something about that. If a person spent a lot of thought into a gift and later on found out you gave it to someone else, you risk losing that person in your life. Would it really be worth it in the long run? Plus, as the OP here stated, no one wants to get a "cast-off" gift. Usually people are smarter than you think and can detect whether a gift was specifically chosen for them or not. Personally, I like candles + scarves, LOL....however I would prefer cash over anything else in the world. Yes..ANYTHING!! Show me the money!! $$

MissMannah said...

It wasn't rude, it was funny and entirely appropriate. It has been discussed several times about how we tend to get crappy gifts because the parents feel they have to do something. I would always prefer a Christmas card with a nice note over a "cast-off" gift.

Amy, about regifting: yes it is entirely tacky but I still do it. I take special care to ensure whomever gave me the gift doesn't know the person I'm giving it to.

Wednesday said...

Best. Post. Ever! It's funny, enlightening, and...oh yeah, TRUE!

My bosses are buying me my pet snake + a Christmas bonus! I'm giving their son toys cause they are best family ever- had to go through the crappy ones first tho haha

@@ said...

Rude to tell people what gifts you don't value. If you don't like it oh well. Donate it then. Sounds whiney and childish to dictate what's good enough for you. And OP doesn't speak for everyone. Id use a candle,mug or scarf and not complain. But whatever.

Wednesday said...

Well aren't to just a ray of sunshiney sugary sweetness

in all actuality, you can't pay bills with a mug, candle or scarf.. hey maybe you don't have to but I know some people who know what they deserve when it comes to the amount of work they do.

@@ said...

Why would you expect a gift to pay your bills? Not very smart are you?

Wednesday said...

Lol. your obnoxious attitude is how this site gets moderated so much but quite the contrary.

I use money gifts to pay my bills every chance I get considering they both come up at the same time. keeps my savings in check. I got shoes that didn't fit I returned them, got cash and paid my energy bill. Same visa gift cards, checks, cash.

jmho said...

@@ - I agree with you in that gifts aren't something we should expect but it can be done politely, it gets the message across better. I'd hate to see the blog go back into moderation again so let's do this respectfully, please?

I've often been the recipient of a re-gift, one time I actually got a used make-up case. Yep. The eyeshadow and the applicator, you could tell had been used. Did it hurt my feelings? Of course it did. But who am I to have expected a gift anyway. I honestly think this person meant well when they gave it because they didn't have much money. So I kept my mouth shut and said thank you.

What I'm trying to say is we don't always know the gift-giver's circumstances. It might not always be laziness as the reason.

Manhattan Nanny said...

The important thing is to put some thought into any gift you give. I am concerned about the waste in our first world consumer society, so I am all for recycling and repurposing. If I receive a gift I don't need or can't use, and I know someone who needs or loves that particular thing, you bet I will pass it on. The point is, I know they will be happy to receive it.
Right now there are thousands who lost everything in the floods and need to replace basic household items. Donate all those unneeded mugs to the organizations collecting for them!

@@ said...

Omg. I can't fathom being that poor. I'm sorry I said anything. Wow. Returning shoes to pay your electric bill. That sucks. Sorry.

BrooklynMomma said...

@@, you should consider yourself incredibly lucky to not be able to fathom being that poor.

MissDeeWantsSize9Uggs said...

I had an experience of a "re-gift". Well, I don't know if it technically qualifies as a regift, but anyway....

I had gone out on a date with this guy. One date, maybe two, I don't remember. Anyway, I mentioned something about Victoria's Secret, and he remembered it. Well, OK, certain stores are put off for certain points in the relationship, but who doesn't like a trip to Vickie's for themselves as a single gal?

He remembered, and I was surprised. Surprised when he went into his pocket and handed me something from Victoria's Secret. A thong. Yes, a thong. Dental floss for the butt. A piece of colored string. The worst kind of underwear for a woman to wear. But are thongs underwear? Anyway, he gives me a thong in the wrong size and wrong color. WTF?

He tossed it into the backseat of my car. It sat there for a few weeks and something about the "gift" didn't sit well with me. I cleaned out my car, and when I saw the thong, I had a weird feeling. Using a plastic bag around my hand, I placed the "gift" in a Ziplog bag. Car was cleaned out, and the "gift" sat there, like a pink elephant in the room.

I went to Victoria's Secret, explained that I recieved a "gift" without a receipt and wanted to even exchange it. The salesgirl typed in the product number, couldn't find it, and typed it again. Still couldn't find it. Finally, she grabbed some pretty pink paper and took it out of my hands. After looking at it carefully, she discussed the situation with her manager.

"I really don't want this gift, because it's not my style." I thought about it for a moment. Who in the hell was this guy to give me something so tacky, personal and downright ridiculous? I can see accepting the gift if it was a serious relationship, but really. What the hell is wrong with him? "The guy was ugly, not to mention a loser," I said, giggling. "How would you feel if you were in my position?" I was polite and funny, prepared for them not give me in-store credit.

"I would feel the same way too, and I would be pissed, because this underwear looks used," the girl responded. She looked the item over carefully before wrapping it in tissue paper and throwing it away.

"Used underwear?" I was in shock. "I got used underwear?"

"Yes. Someone wore it before you."

She gave me free underwear for that "gift".

Apparently someone left their underwear at his house and he thought they were mine.

Is that what you call regifting? Yes in the most digusting way possible.

He called me again and I thanked him for the gift and unused, clean underwear I got for free from Victoria' Secret and asked him if he figured out who my "gift" belonged to before I hung up the phone. I never heard from him again and I didn't care to, either.

Moral of the story: always make sure you are wearing underwear when you leave a guy's house, because dirty used underwear makes a horrible gift.

MissMannah said...

Miss Dee, you never fail to crack me up.

Manhattan Nanny, I completely agree with you. Many of us have way too much junk sitting unused in our homes. Why not give it to someone who will appreciate it? The point is you have to be thoughtful with it.

♥ Amy Darling ♥ said...

MissDee: Loved your story. Eeek...gross that this idiot guy would be so careless. You sure dodged a bullet w/him.

Miss Mannah: Thanks for admitting it is tacky to re-gift and I am glad that when you do re-gift you take extra precautions so that the giver never finds out.

Village said...

Don't regift free samples. Best advice ever! It seems so obvious, doesn't it?

Personally, I regift to charities. Just a personal choice.

My advice to parents is K.I.S.S. Keep it simple stupid, and always gift cash. CASH CASH CASH. Nannies have Christmas to fund, too you know.

MissMannah said...

Haha, I am regifting a bunch of samples to my sister-in-law this year for Christmas. I've been collecting lotion/shampoo/laundry detergent samples all year and I'm arranging them in a pretty Christmas-themed bucket. Cheap? Yes. But I know she's more likely to use them than I am!

nycnanny said...

LOL @ Miss Dee! Love it

OceanBlue said...

OMG Miss Dee! Some people!

I have no problems with regifting on either side of the deal. If I'm giving you a mug, candle, lotion sample or something similar it's safe to say I don't care about you or what you do with my "gift".
I assume the same is true on the other end.

Lyn said...

Hahahaha! I can't stop laughing at Miss Dee's story! That is some extreme regifting.

nycmom said...

I am also a fan of regifting with careful thought. I do not mind receiving regifts that are a good fit either. ITA with Manhattan Nanny on every count. I can't imagine wanting items to go to waste for the sake of politeness only.

MissDee, thanks for a good story and laugh!

nannykins said...

OMG I read this and had to laugh because I got a guft card that had been used. Yup, scratched off at the back and everything! The day after I handed it back to my employer and said "I think you made an error, this is used." It was hilarious to watch her squirm amd try to lie her way through it. Saying she had bought the same card for me but didn't have it in the house because she left it in her sister's car blah, blah, blah. For the next four months she had to struggle to look me in the eye. I finally quit when I found a better job.

Great post, OP. And the thong story had me rolling as well!

littleboatiris said...

This will be our 1st Chritmas with an AP. She is a live-in, but will spend Christmas with family 10 hours away.

Maybe a portion of the flight would be a good gift. I have been having a hard time thinking of what is appropriate.