Christmas gifts for an instructor
December 14, 2012 1:43 PM   Subscribe

I'm an adult who has been taking private lessons on a musical instrument for most of this year, and I get along very well with the instructor. But what's most appropriate to do for Christmas?

I initially couldn't think of anything much better to do, so I ordered a box of assorted cookies from a good bakery. However, I have been having second thoughts and wondering if something else would be better, or if money might not be more appropriate, and how much if it is. (The cookies are not in any danger of being neglected and homeless if this is the case). Assume a kind of Midwestern cultural background, since Christmas gift standards can vary with region.
posted by dilettante to Human Relations (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I teach music lessons. Cookies are always appropriate, barring health issues like diabetes or allergies.

As a general thing, I don't think people who do something with you or for you for money should expect a budget-breaking lollapalooza of a Christmas gift. Again, the cookies are fine, but any sort of small gift is appreciated - a coffee mug, a gift cert of $5, 10, or $25 to someplace like Target or Starbucks - anything you'd get an aquaintance or co-worker.
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:48 PM on December 14, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm all about the Target gift card. Any denomination. Love them!

The cookies sound nice too and I'm sure any little thing will be appreciated. In this economy, your continued business is pretty important.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:02 PM on December 14, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am a Midwestern music teacher. Any of the gifts mentioned above would be lovely and appreciated (although I tend to see far more gift cards -- coffee shops are the most common -- than cash). Baked goods are also common, as is no gift whatsoever.

Just please, for the love of all that is holy, no music-themed Christmas tree ornaments. They are a scourge. I even know a married couple of band/orchestra directors who keep a second, fake Christmas tree in the basement just to house the dozens of Santas playing violins and shit they've accumulated over the years.
posted by dr. boludo at 2:06 PM on December 14, 2012 [5 favorites]

In NYC the standard would be one week's pay in cash, plus a heartfelt card. So if you had one lesson per week at $50, you'd put that in a card with a nice message. However, as you noted, gift standards vary and NYC is very cash-tip heavy during the holidays.
posted by the young rope-rider at 2:11 PM on December 14, 2012

Cookies are great... a small cash gift is great, and nthing continued business. Why not also book your lessons for the coming year? That way they have confirmed your business is secure.

Finally, they may be playing some gigs over the holidays in a cafe or pub, if that seems possible ask if it is true, and if the timing, works, get some friends out to go see them play.
posted by chapps at 11:01 PM on December 14, 2012

I'm a dance teacher! Any gift is fine, but truthfully, a heartfelt card would be best! (Maybe a stocking stuffer level cute quirky gift).
posted by shazzam! at 2:02 AM on December 15, 2012

Thanks everyone for the input! The cookies were apparently appreciated. (It's kind of a pity there's no regional-level guide to holiday gift giving, there really is significant variation in it).
posted by dilettante at 9:52 AM on December 16, 2012

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