Suitable gift for Irish teacher
June 21, 2008 7:43 AM   Subscribe

My children are finishing the year at a primary school in Ireland. Their teachers have been wonderful and I want to give them an end of the year thank you gift. In the U.S. gift certificates are popular but I'm unsure of the etiquette surrounding gift giving in this situation. Please advise. Thank you!
posted by KTrujillo to Society & Culture (10 answers total)
I think gifts would be fine. Last year I gave one of my kid's teacher a cozy cashmere blend throw. She loved it. I live in the US. This year I did give gift certificates, but I think a gift would be fine just about anywhere. I would write a nice note and wrap up a little something, even if it's just a plant or a nice box of chocolates.
posted by LoriFLA at 8:38 AM on June 21, 2008

I'm not a parent but am in Ireland, and from what I know from people who's kids are in primary school, I think an actual gift where the monetary value wasn't apparent would be a better choice (unless a few parents were to club together, and that's probably needlessly complicated). A lovely but modest-looking, non-personal gift doesn't seem like it would be weird or make the teacher uncomfortable, but I don't think it's expected from parents either.

I think homewares stuff like Nicholas Mosse or Louis Mulcahy pottery, or Avoca or Foxford weaving - I guess, Kilkenny Design/Avoca shop style gifts - suits pretty well for those kinds of gifts. Not sure which part of Ireland you're in, or what amount you're looking to spend, but you might be able to figure out something along those lines.

(On the other hand, I'm half-expecting an Irish primary school teacher to weigh in and plead that nobody adds to their 800 Nicholas Mosse mugs and twelve Avoca blankets.)
posted by carbide at 8:45 AM on June 21, 2008

My child and I made cookies. Yes, I know some people will throw them out. But I think it's better to teach my child the process of creating something and proudly giving the gift. It's more meaningful and it's still a thank you, but without all the monetary trappings. If the teachers don't want them, they can give them away. I don't care if they give them away, really. It's important to me that my child not think you have to buy things for people who are doing their jobs -- or that you have to spend a lot of money to sincerely thank those who go beyond the call of duty.
posted by acoutu at 9:07 AM on June 21, 2008

I'm not in Ireland, and I'm not a parent, but I know primary school teachers in the UK, and here there get lots of chocolate and wine and smellies (toiletries). So much chocolate in fact, that they often give it away to me! (But this is mostly because my best teacher friend doesn't like chocolate that much.)

I think a gift voucher would go down fine, and would solve the excess chocolate problem (if they have a similar problem in Ireland), but it is a little impersonal.
posted by Helga-woo at 9:09 AM on June 21, 2008

I like the idea of the home-made cookies. A teacher friend of mine received 19 glass paperweights at the end of one school year, thanks to a local gift shop that had a sign on them saying "ideal gift for teacher".
posted by essexjan at 10:48 AM on June 21, 2008

I wouldn't go for the gift certificate option, I suspect there would be embarrassment over it having an obvious monetary value. Cookies or something the kids were involved in sounds like a great idea. As an alternative, when I was younger my parents occasionally gave my teachers flowers or some sort of plant.

I'm Irish by the way, although I suspect that advice on this would be just as good from the Scots, Welsh or English.
posted by knapah at 11:46 AM on June 21, 2008

My mum is a primary school teacher in Dublin and so are all of her friends. The gifts they like the most are the "personal" ones - where the parent has had a chat to them at a parent-teacher meeting or something, and remembers that they really like that coffee shop and go every wednesday (and gets them a gift cert for it), or remembers that her dad was from a certain town in Kerry and gets a picture of it. They talk about those gifts forever.

Smallish craft items similar to those carbide mentions above go down well too .... yeah, they get a fair number of them, but as long as they're high quality they look nice in most rooms. Small hampers or boxes from a nice deli are quite common too.

Cheap bottles of vino and bad art made by the parent are the ones she raises her brows over, although she appreciates any gift a parent gives her, of course. And whatever about the present, a handwritten card or note from the kid always makes her all gooey and we have to endure "awwww, my little Declan, he was a rogue but look at this!" for the whole evening.
posted by jamesonandwater at 3:24 PM on June 21, 2008

I am not Irish, but I've known a few UK based teachers, and I'd say a handmade card from your kids, plus a big bunch of flowers would go down well on the last day. If she has allergies, a nice (red?) pen or a sturdy mug for future cups of tea would also be good.
posted by saturnine at 5:09 AM on June 22, 2008

I have been on the receiving end of end of year gifts, and I really appreciated everything that I got. I didn't expect to be given anything so the fact that parents/children went out of their way to get something was very touching. The one thing that stood out from the other items was a painting done by one of my students, with obvious help from her parents. So in my experience anything that has a personal touch would be appreciated. Otherwise chocolates, drinks, and gift tokens where all very gratefully received.
posted by djstig at 3:28 PM on June 22, 2008

Thank you all so much for your suggestions!
posted by KTrujillo at 12:31 AM on June 23, 2008

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