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Dublin: 11 °C Tuesday 14 July, 2020

Poll: How do you feel about buying Christmas presents for teachers?

Some people are sick of the whole thing.

Christmas in the Nursery Source: DPA/PA Images

THE TOY SHOW is out of the way now and Christmas trees are going up across the country. It won’t be long until the kids are finishing up in school for the holidays, which means that plenty of parents have a stressful few weeks ahead of them. 

To add more stress to everybody’s lives, it’s that time of year again, when people have to decide whether it’s socially acceptable to get a teacher a Christmas present (or refuse to do so). Naturally, it’s become the talk of daytime TV, with Loose Women and This Morning debating the topic thoroughly over the last week or two.

Christmas shopping Source: Niall Carson

Some parents have been insisting that it’s a tradition to get teachers a present, while others think that the practice has only recently been introduced and is another symptom of our obsession with consumerism. 

As someone who was in primary school during the late 90s and early 2000s, I can confirm that this practice has been common for at least 20 years now. What wasn’t common practice when I was a kid, however, was buying ridiculously expensive gifts for teachers. Loose Women referred to a hamper that was on sale for over £200, called the ‘World’s Best Teacher Hamper’. When the topic was discussed on This Morning last week, some of the parents involved in the conversation believed that some of the gifts amounted to “bribery”. 

It’s not just the parents who can be made to feel uncomfortable about this, either. When I was in primary school, depending on which teacher you had, some of them would spend the morning opening their gifts in front of the class and thanking each kid individually. Others would thank the class as a whole, and wait until they got home to go through their haul.

Christmas shopping Source: Niall Carson

Perhaps to avoid this kind of carry-on, some parents have arranged collections, where they ask every parent in the class to chip in for one large gift (maybe like the World’s Best Teacher Hamper). However, this adds a whole new element of awkwardness because it can be pretty difficult to refuse to contribute if they can’t afford it or don’t want to, for whatever reason. It can also be annoying for parents who have a couple of kids in different classes at the same school, who are asked to contribute to several collections. 

How do you feel about buying Christmas presents for teachers?

Poll Results:

I think it's stupid. They're just doing their job, why do they need a present?  (805)
If I feel they deserve it, I'll get them something. Otherwise, I won't. (628)
I don't like it - it puts too much pressure on parents who can't afford it. (598)
Absolutely love doing it! It's a tradition.  (395)
I'll put money into a collection, but I won't buy them a gift myself. (240)
I don't know.  (195)

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About the author:

Kelly Earley

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