Nannying 101

Help! What Do I Gift My Employers for Christmas?

Regardless of whether you or your employers celebrate Christmas, it never hurts to offer up a token of your appreciation for their family. It just so happens that the holiday season is the perfect time for that. The only question is: What do you get for the people who trust you with their children, treat you like family, and take such good care of you…but aren’t family? You know your nanny family — the things they appreciate, enjoy doing together, and wish they could do — better than you think. Use the following ideas as inspiration.

A Homemade or Personalized Gift

I know most of you nannies have some wonderful talents to share outside of your amazing nanny skills. The holidays are a great time for that! Create a personal gift using your unique talents. Are you a photographer, a painter, a potter? If you aren’t sure you have talents that would transfer well to a physical gift, Etsy has some amazing handmade items that are still very thoughtful and personal.

Free Babysitting

Free babysitting is a great gift for busy parents! Especially if you know they don’t often get a date night, it could be a really thoughtful gesture. I realize that it can seem like it will cost you more to spend unpaid time with the kids than just purchasing a nice gift, but it’s really costing you only your time, and I promise they will greatly appreciate it!

If you think your nanny parents might take advantage of the free babysitting, consider setting a time limit, like offering four free hours as opposed to an open-ended amount of time.

A Gift Basket

If you recently started working for your nanny family or they’re just difficult to shop for, a gift basket is a good option. It’s likely to have something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you create a basket with a few of your own favorite items or purchase one that’s already made, it shows you thought about them.

Keep It Simple

A simpler version of the gift basket is a combo gift, like a box of chocolates and your employer’s favorite wine, or a bottle of wine with a jar filled with the dry ingredients to your famous cookie recipe. If they don’t drink, consider a blanket and a holiday box of cookies. There are a variety of combinations to use that can be personalized to your employers’ preferences.

A Family Gift

I like to get individual gifts for my nanny kids since children love opening presents and because they’re much easier to shop for, but that can get expensive. A family gift is a great idea if you’re on a budget, the kids are older, or their family just loves spending time together. Themed gifts make for a simple, yet creative present for families. Some suggested themes are:

  • games or movies, complete with popcorn and candy
  • building and team-work, using a Lego or Metal Earth kit
  • cooking or baking, including a family cookbook and some cooking utensils
  • outdoor activities, like a croquet or badminton set

Photos, Photos, and More Photos

What parent doesn’t love photos of their kids? My favorite thing to give my employers for Christmas is a photo book or calendar of their kids during the year. I also include a flash drive of ALL of the photos and videos I took of the kids that year. It’s always a winner, but it does take a lot of time to create, whether you scrapbook or use a digital format. If you don’t have the time, a simple photo gift is a great alternative.

A Homemade Gift from Their Kids

Every parent loves homemade mementos from their children…as long as it’s more than just a piece of paper with scribbles on it. As a nanny, you’re in a great position to lead your nanny kids in the creation of a practical handmade gift for their parents. Although this present likely wouldn’t be from you, your employers will be so grateful for the thoughtful gesture. I mean, who else is going to do this for them?

Most years I rely on my nanny kids’ handprints to design original artwork for their parents. My favorite project for this is the Santa Handprint Ornament. The wonderful thing about handprints is you can do so many different things with them. If you or your nanny family aren’t into Santa, paint the handprints into a snowflake, or use their feet instead of hands to make snowmen. The possibilities are endless!

It’s difficult shopping for people who give you a paycheck and who aren’t quite friends or family, but are also so much more. Remember, the point is to be thoughtful. The gift itself isn’t what matters. No matter what you choose to purchase or create for your employers, a handwritten card can be a nice way to express your gratitude for their family. It’s a simple finishing touch that really means a lot.

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