It wasn’t too long ago that I decided I would no longer give my students gifts for Christmas. I had always gone with the flow and given my students gifts, which appeared to be the norm. It wasn’t that I minded buying gifts, but money was tight, and it was hard to find something inexpensive enough that I could purchase for each student. I definitely took advantage of Scholastic’s Dollar Deals, but I always tried to find something a little extra. I still remember walking around my classroom after our Christmas party and seeing the little gifts I bought left on the floor. I even saw some in the trash can! I’m not a person who needs a lot of recognition, and I didn’t expect an overwhelming response, but geeze they could have at least taken the gifts home before they threw them away. Initially, I was hurt, because it was a real effort for me to purchase the gifts and the ingratitude offended me. After I had time to reflect, I realized that I was wasting my time and money on little trinkets that no one honestly wanted or needed.
The following year, rather than purchasing traditional gifts, I bought each student two craft kits from Oriental Trading. I presented them nicely in gift bags and gave them to students before our last day of school. I explained that the craft kits were their Christmas present from me. We completed the crafts together that last week before Christmas, and everyone greatly appreciated the effort. I think the thing my students enjoyed most was the time spent creating our crafts. Even though it may be crazy, those are the special times I remember with my students.
I’ve also given school supplies for a Christmas gift. If your classroom is anything like mine, by this point in the year students’ school supplies have become almost nonexistent. We’ve run out of glue bottles and glue sticks. Our crayons have broken, we’re missing most of our markers, and our colored pencils are worn down to nubs.
I don’t constantly replenish school supplies during the year, so we work with what we have. I give my students new school supplies for Christmas gifts to replace what they had been using. Of course, this is MUCH more cost effective if you plan ahead and take advantage of back to school deals. If you wait until December to purchase the school supplies, it’s a lot more pricey. This is a win-win for me, because my students LOVE their new supplies, and the supplies are something I would have needed to purchase before the end of the year.
I place the supplies in Christmas boxes and tape it shut. That’s it! I have used gift bags in the past, and that worked just as well. I more or less scrounge around the house and use whatever I have.
Before students leave for their vacation, I have them place their old, broken crayons in our broken crayon container and their markers in our extra markers bin. We get all of our new supplies organized and neat, so when we get back to school in January everything is ready go go!
If possible, I also like to utilize my Scholastic bonus points to add a book to the mix! That is my absolute favorite way to get books in my students hands! Now that students can order their books online, it’s easier than ever! I try to find a book that’s a just right fit for each student.
Hopefully, everyone is happy, has plenty of new school supplies, and has a new book to read over Christmas break!