I raise this point as many parents are discussing what to give to their child's school teacher who is clearly another important person in their daily life. Knowing your child is safe, happy and learning is what most parents hope for and many parents want to find a way to thank the teacher. Yet this appears to be more about one-upmanship between parents than about real gratitude.
While many jobs require employees to declare all gifts received teachers do not have to tell anyone. As the gifts become larger it seems more like bribery and coercion than wanting to let them know how much you appreciate their teaching skills.
Gone are the days of an apple for teacher. Oh no, they want alcohol now. There is no subtlety in their desire for a bottle of red instead of another 20 mugs for the staff room. I have seen teachers opening declaring this is their preferred gift and friends of teachers saying how much they love visiting their teacher friends after the end of year gifts for the excess of wine and chocolates. Something feels very wrong to me about giving an infant school teacher alcohol. I'm not naive enough to think they don't drink but I don't think it's something 5 year old Johnny should be supplying.
I expect many teachers will be comparing the bottle given by each child and judging them for future years on their parents' poor choice of wine.
I'm of the school of thought that we shouldn't give gifts but should write a thank you note. Yes, what an old-fashioned idea but as a former teacher it's the hand-written thank you cards from students that I've kept and buying gifts was simply wasting their money.
When my child left nursery she made a thank you card and then we made Elderflower Cordial together and she wrote a special label for the bottle. I think that's how you say thank you. You give something of yourself and not just a gift with monetary value.
And now how about thanking all those other service providers in your life. Will you be thanking the bin men this year? A gift for teacher is becoming like a tip for a waiter - something you give because you have to and not because you received good service.