Gifts for the helpers

8 November 2019

In light of my November goal to decide on all the gifts for all the people, I’ve been making many lists. One is of our helpers, and how we might make them feel seen and loved this Christmas. Here’s what I’ve got planned, and I’d love to hear your thoughts, too!

Holiday Gift Ideas Helpers

First, I’d encourage you to think outside the box here. There are of course the classic “helpers” – people like mail men, garbage men, and teachers – and they are great to remember at Christmas. But if your nail gal, local post office clerk, oil change person, or favorite checkout gal at Publix really makes your life better or brightens your day whenever you cross paths? I’m sure she’d get a kick out of being noticed and thanked in some way! Use the next few weeks to pay attention to who those people are and then brainstorm how you might delight them.

Our list this year – so far:

— June and Shep’s teachers will each get one of these SnapBaskets. I’m not entirely sure how I’ll present them, since they’re a little unwieldy, but I’m SO proud of this coup – I bought them months ago when they were on sale for $10 each!! I’ll pair the baskets with individualized, handwritten notes sharing the things we appreciate about them and why what they do matters so much to us!

For teachers, I also love giving a pretty notepad or notebook tied with a big ribbon and paired with a pen. If I was doing that this year, I would buy this set of 3 and this set of pens and then break them up into individual gifts, for a total of $10 per gift.

I also like the idea of a pretty tumbler! You could pair it with a coffee shop gift card to add a little oomph.

— Our babysitter will get a Write the Word journal. I have the good fortune of getting these fo’ free, but if you buy the bundle, they come out to $20 each, which I think is reasonable for a smaller gift.

— Our garbage and recycling men will get a $15ish Jersey Mike’s gift card and something edible (ideally toffee or peanut butter balls but if time gets crunched boxed brownies will do!). I tape a big note on a bright piece of paper to the top of our garbage and recycling cans that says, “enjoy lunch on us!” so it attracts their attention from the truck.

— This is actually the first time we’ve given a Christmas gift to our pastor (I don’t know, for some reason it never occurred to me to do so?!). He just got married and this is only his second Christmas season as a pastor, and I’m sure the schedule and commitments are overwhelming at times. So, I think I’m going to make and freeze a batch of our favorite beef stew – for them to pull out on a busy evening – and also give them a gift certificate to a local restaurant, to go toward a date night. And a note! Always a note :)

I’d love to hear: which helpers do you prioritize in the holiday season? What do you like to do for them? Let’s compare notes.

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November 8, 2019 10:58 am

This is interesting to think about! My husband and I are in a very different stage of life (living in a NYC apartment, no kids) so all of our “helper” gifts at this point are just cash. It’s traditional in apartments buildings here to tip your superintendent during the holidays, and we also tip our favorite neighborhood helpers, the guys at our corner laundermat who do such a great job with our wash and fold laundry every week (no laundry in our building means this is our favorite time-saving splurge – and well worth it considering what a great job they do). You have also made me ponder if we should do something to thank the priests at our church.

November 8, 2019 3:15 pm

I love this so much! My little guy’s Sunday School Teacher (we attend what most people would call a “mega church” so “Sunday School Teacher” isn’t a term that’s necessarily used, but… for all intents and purposes… that’s what it is) is a young man (I guess in his 30s), engaged to be married in March. This guy is very dear to our hearts, not just because he pours into our 3yo every week, but also because my hubby used to volunteer in the littlest kids’ area at church when we met and were engaged. It’s rare to see the young, single guys doing that, and we just love it! Anyway, we’re planning a cash gift closer to his wedding, but I hadn’t thought about a Christmas gift for him! Any other ideas, maybe non-food ideas, for male helpers?

November 11, 2019 4:03 pm

This is such a good reminder to think of those who deserved to be seen this season.

While it’s not quite related but in the same camp of giving, we recently cleaned out Andrew’s closet and in lieu of donating his unwanted clothing, we keep the sweaters and shirts in folded piles in the back of our SUV. Whenever we come to an intersection here where there are homeless people sitting, we roll down the window and hand out bundles of warmer clothing. I’m hoping to add some socks and maybe a gift card to a local eatery too, onto the piles.

I bet your pastor will love his stew :)

November 13, 2019 12:07 pm
Reply to  Rhiannon

WOW! that is such a good idea to hand out clothes like that. Then you know someone who needs it is getting it.

November 13, 2019 12:06 pm

When I was pregnant I somehow struck up a friendship with the man who runs the fish counter at Harris Teeter. Three-and-a-half years later the whole family is best friends with him :). We have done a gift for him at Christmas every year. I would love to do something super special and unique, but the truth is that I don’t know him outside of his workplace so it’s hard to figure out what he would really like. For this reason, we gift those Christmas goodies assortments. I think I’ll take it up a notch this year and find a Harry & David basket or craft something along that line myself. Ultimately, I know that with him it’s the thought that counts.

Laura B
November 15, 2019 9:10 pm

I ordered monogrammed lunch bags for Jason’s teachers. We have a great new monogram shop in my town, which is incredible (and addicting!) Only $32 each with their names embroidered. Very reasonable and good quality. They do have a website and take some online orders. Not sure what I’m doing for lots of other people so love your ideas Em! Especially the trash collectors, since that’s on my list and we love the local Jersey Mikes idea.