Head of School Blog

Sharing the Holiday Spirit with Teachers & Staff

Jill Singleton Volume: 4 Issue: 12 December 3, 2014
Sharing the Holiday Spirit with Teachers & Staff

Thanksgiving kicks off my favorite time of year. I love everything about the holiday – getting the house ready, shopping for food, chopping vegetables in the kitchen with my mom while the parade plays in the background on TV, and setting the table with my best china. My Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without our cherished centerpiece – a turkey made by my son, Elijah, when he was in nursery school. The poor feathered friend is barely holding up at this point. Once a plump handsome guy made out of stuffed latex glove covered with brown feathers, the passing of time has begun to take its toll on the little guy, but he makes the holiday just the same.

With the Thanksgiving feast behind us and my boys back to college, the Christmas holiday season warms my heart and makes me smile each and every day. I love the carols, and the lights, and the special events that take place in the church, and I do my best to resist the onslaught of consumerism. I hit delete on far too many Black Friday and Cyber Monday emails, but have managed to keep them from dampening my holiday spirit. We banned the giving of gifts to adults in our family many years ago, so we are lucky enough to have Christmas be less of a burden with all of the focus on the children.

At the holiday time it is natural for parents to want to express their affection and appreciation for our teachers and staff. I did want to take a minute to provide some guidance to parents about our gift giving policy at All Saints, which was adopted a number of years ago after an extensive study by our Parents Association and Board. Parent Ambassadors, the Administration, and Board reviewed the policy again this year, and after entertaining a number of ideas and surveying our peer schools to learn more about their policies, we decided to stick with our policy as written in the Parent Handbook: “Individual gifts to teachers are discouraged at All Saints. Instead, an expression of gratitude through the written word, a gift to the classroom, and volunteering to help in the classroom are wonderful ways to give. We ask people who insist on individual gift giving to refrain from monetary gifts and instead consider something homemade, such as food or student artwork, to be given outside of the school day hours.”

To provide a way for parents to express their appreciation, a monetary collection is coordinated and pooled to be distributed equally among the teachers and staff at All Saints. We feel this policy suits our culture and ask each family to please commit to following it. This contribution is completely optional, and no parent should feel pressured about participating. Parent Ambassadors will be taking the lead on this effort and will be in touch via email.

I respectfully ask families that seek to give an individual gift to their teacher to consider something for the classroom, or something that is handmade or home baked, and to give these gifts discreetly at the beginning or end of the day. Here are some websites with ideas:

You never know, your child might just make an item that will become as precious as Elijah’s Thanksgiving turkey!

Thoughts? Comments? Ideas? I’d love to hear them! Email me: jsingleton@allsaintshoboken.com