Gift Giving Protocol for Families and Nannies

When I first started nannying, holidays were a huge question mark. Do I get the kids something? Do I get the parents something? If I have multiple families, how should that work? It was an incredibly stressful time and also incredibly draining on my finances. I've also had some families where it was clear that the parents had no idea if they should get me a gift or not. Here are some tips and tools to help save you a lot of grief!

For the Parents// You are absolutely expected to gift your nanny something during the holidays! Not only are you their employer, this is a beloved member of your family. You trust them with the lives of your children, the least you can do it give them a little something during the holidays. ESPECIALLY if you won't be needing them as much during the holiday time. Forced time off is unfortunately common for nannies and with forced time off, usually comes NO PAY. WAHHHH!!!!! I've had some pretty stressful holidays because my families didn't need me and I didn't receive paid time off. That's why a BONUS is always great around this time. It doesn't have to be huge but if your nanny is hourly and doesn't receive paid time off, gift her or him some extra cash for the holidays.

If you're traveling with your nanny, the "vacation" is NOT a present. They'll be working while you're relaxing and should be getting paid. Their dedication to be with YOUR family during the holiday is even more of a reason as to why they deserve a little something extra. It's also incredibly awkward for a nanny to be sitting around during a holiday celebration, watching everyone open and exchange presents, and to have received nothing! They should be included in the celebration AND the gifts. 

This view was great when I went to Aspen with one of my families but it sure didn't pay the bills! 

This view was great when I went to Aspen with one of my families but it sure didn't pay the bills! 

If you're wanting to go an actual gift route, a massage is always appreciated! Those backs get sore lifting your little ones so why not help your nanny relax?! Make sure that it's someplace near their side of town and make sure they have the option to choose what style of massage. 

If you're looking for something a little out of the box, one of the best presents I've ever received was a vegan cooking class certificate for me plus one. It was such a thoughtful gift since I love to cook, they were mindful of the fact that I'm vegan, and I got to bring a friend! 

Speaking of food, restaurant gift certificates are always awesome. Make sure that the gift certificate will cover at least one meal. There's nothing worse than getting a GC to a restaurant where you can only go and eat an appetizer before the bill starts racking up. Try not to make it a fast food restaurant - you want this to be a treat, not a 5 minute stop for fries.

If your nanny only comes regularly once or twice a week, you should still get something small. Movie tickets, a manicure, or a bottle of wine is always nice! You want to make sure that you spend at LEAST one hour of their pay on whatever gift you get them. 

For the Nannies// First off - you are NEVER expected to get the parents anything. You should consider yourself an employee and therefore, it's not common practice to give any gift to the parents. If you're feeling iffy about this, the next best thing is to help the kids make a gift for their parents. Salt dough handprint ornaments are a great gift - you can make these with hand or foot prints from babies or get older kids involved in the mixing and the painting. I've also made "scrapbooks" with the kids. I'll print out some of the hundreds of photos that I have (I try to use ones that I haven't sent the parents), paste them into a construction paper booklet, and let the kids go crazy with decorating using stickers and markers or crayons. Homemade gifts like these satisfy your need to gift the parents something but they mean more since you helped their kids create them! I will admit that since I've been with my main family for over 5 years, I do buy the parents a bottle of wine but it's never more than 15$ and I only started doing that after I'd been with them for about 3 years. I find that wine or food items are best in those scenarios and absolutely don't spend more than you make in an hour.

If your kids are older or you're a crafty baker, homemade cookies or easy chocolate dipped pretzel sticks are also great gifts for the parents!

It is common place to get your kids a gift during the holidays but it's also understandable that it can be expensive if you have multiple families. Last year, I rotated several families regularly which came to a total of 6 kids to buy presents for! Insert horrified emoji face here. My rule of thumb is this - price points are dictated by how often I see them. No more than 15$ if I see them regularly, 10$ if it's twice or so a week, and under 10$ if it's once a week. I will also only get gifts for the kids that I'm going to be seeing during that holiday week and I never get gifts for families that I just do random days for. I like to purchase several small gifts for the kids using the trifecta of Clothing/Education + Small Toy + Useful Item. For example, this year I got my 3 year old a puzzle, a star wars t-shirt, and a water bottle. I try and purchase items at a discount store like Marshals or TJ Maxx, which I was able to do with the puzzle and the t-shirt. I knew he needed a water bottle and when those stores didn't deliver, I found a great one at Target. I really try to avoid big toys and stuff they won't need. If my families are traveling, I try to purchase stuff for the plane - books, travel games, etc. The kids will love it and the parents will be grateful your gifts serve a purpose!

Nannies - what is the best present you've ever received from a family? Parents - what are some items you'll be getting your nanny this year?