Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Parent Gifts for any Season

Parent Gifts for any season by MaryAnn X. Meddish
(2009 INA Nanny of the Year)

Once again it is that time of year where we all start scratching out heads trying to figure out what to get our employers. I have been asked for ideas so many times over the years that I started keeping a list of ideas, it keeps changing so here are some tried~n~true and some new ideas for you to refer to all through the year as anniversaries, birthdays, Mother’s and Father’s days, Grandparent’s day, and next years holidays start to gang up on you.Craft gifts you can make with your charges:These ideas can also be used to make gifts for extended family members and the household staff (i.e. an apron for the cook, flowerpots for the gardener, a scrapbook for the Au-pair). Remember that the expense of craft supplies is usually covered by the employers or you can ask for a Christmas allowance for the children to make gifts.

Handprint Art:

I have made T-shirts, sweatshirts, and wall hangings with my charges handprints and footprints and cute things written on them like “We can handle Daddy”. A wreath wall hanging is easy with a large piece of felt and a couple shades of green and red fabric paint (have the oldest child use their hands to make a widely spaced wreath of green hand prints then have the next child start filling in the wreath a bit with their prints and so on until each child gets a turn. Have the children place red fingerprints for holly berries in the wreath.) Always date these shirts and label the handprints as they will probably be saved even if they are not worn. I have done plaster-of-Paris handprints and then carved the child's name and the date. After drying you can paint the handprint to make it stand out. For a more modern twist of hand prints pick up canvas board, paints, and a frame at the craft store and have the children do a hand and foot prints with class – one of my favorites was a splatter painting background with footprints. One year for Christmas I painted acrylic paints on the children’s hands and had them pick up glass globe ornaments (paper Mache ornaments would work too) then I then held by the hangers while they let go so they would not smudge – I hung then to dry on the tree and then hid them away before the parents came home.

Children’s Art:

An easy gift for grandparents, parents who travel, or doctors on call is pillowcases. Buy a box of fabric markers and let the kids decorate ~ you can go to Kinko's and add iron on photos if you want. You can even trim the open end with ribbons. Other items you can paint and decorate include hats, aprons, tote bags, placemats, and throw pillows.Take the kids to the local ceramics painting place and let them pick out an item to decorate - remember these items have to dry and be fired which can take a week or more.Garden memory stones have always been a hit. The kits contain everything you need to make either gray or terracotta colored pavers. The kits have ideas along with supplies like small stones and shells for decorating. Have each child make one to ring the birdbath or line the path to the garden.Picture frames are fun, you can also pick up frames at the Dollar store or go to a framing and matting store and have then cut you some small matting frames for the fridge or ask for their scraps and cut & glue the strips together to make your own frames. Place self adhesive magnets on the back of the frames. Give the kids a variety of things to glue on the front (sequins, pompoms, coins, foreign stamps, puzzle pieces spray painted different colors, candy, woodsies pieces, etc.)

Decoupage flower pots and give the gift of flowers.

Make a scrapbook with pictures, drawings, stickers, and all that other fun scrapbook stuff. Title it “A Year in Review 2009” or “Our Family” and work on it with the kids during the year.

You can make your own holiday wrap for the kids to wrap presents by making fingerprint trees on white paper with green and brown paint and adding gold stick on stars.

You can also lay some paper in the yard and letting the kids splatter paint with watered down red and green paint.

Gift Certificates:Give a gift certificate for their favorite restaurant, favorite clothing store, local gourmet shop, favorite bath shop, a manicure or pedicure at a day spa, a bookstore, a video store, iTunes, or a catalog they order from frequently.

Gifts Baskets:Gift baskets are not to difficult if you work with a theme. Pick up a basket at goodwill or the craft store then add a little tissue paper, your theme items, and ribbons.

Bath - pick a few items like bath oil, bath crystals, body gel, body splash, lotion, a scrubby, a bath pillow, and a nice candle.Tea Lover / Chocolate lover - check out the grocery store and a specialty shop and fill the basket with divine little goodies. A special tea cup and saucer or a big cocoa mug will finish this off perfectly.

Sports Buff - get some great munchies and a six pack of their favorite beverage, then add a hat, T-shirt, or tickets to their favorite team.

Golfer - line a basket or small cooler then sprinkle with their favorite brand of golf balls, some tees, and something else that catches your eye at the golf shop.

Gardener - gardening gloves, trowel, decoupage pots, and seeds with a small plant thrown in for color.

Dinner – placemats, napkins, candles, wine, gourmet pasta & sauce, grated cheese, bread, and a dessert item (Marshall’s & TJMaxx are great for this stuff).

Baked Yummies - Make some of your favorite cookies, breads, and candies, then add in a couple packets of hot chocolate mix and a few candy canes. I can promise you that ridged potato chips dipped in chocolate and drizzled with red & green color candy coating (or blue & white for Chanukah) is always a hit despite how it sounds.

Gifts under $50 give or take:Buy a set of picture frames or collage frames and designate one for each parent and then fill them with pictures that you think mom and/or dad might like. Include a card in each saying I thought this would brighten up your desk.

Digital photo key chains for each parent uploaded with great kid photos. You can also buy a digital photo frame – they come in a variety of styles and sizes and you might be able to fit a whole year of photos on the memory card.

Order a photo calendar from Vistaprint, Snapfish, Kodak Gallery, or Kinko’s – you can even enter special dates to be printed in the calendar including holidays, birthdays, the school calendar, kids activities, and special events.

You can design a photo book on Snapfish, Kodak Gallery or Shutterfly– you get to pick the colors and prints for the backgrounds, you can choose soft cover or hardbound, you can type in anything you want printed and pick how many photos per page. With one family I was leaving we did photos of the kids cooking their favorite foods with the recipes.

Monogrammed or personalized stationery can be created at a number of places such as American Stationery, Vistaprint, and many other websites. There are also websites for other personalized items and stores such as Thing’s Remembered .

Go to a wine shop and ask for help choosing a wine that would go with a meal that your family enjoys.Pay attention to those little comments like ‘I wish I had a nice pair of gloves’ and ‘Someday all the glasses in my kitchen will match’ you could make your bosses day.

Portraits are always a nice gift at Christmas as long as your employers don't have the same idea. To add a little flair have the kids photographed in black and white and have the prints hand colored or have sculpture portraits (the finished products are mounted on Plexiglas and cut out and mounted so they stand).

Make a donation to a charity of your choice in their name and ask the charity to send a letter telling them the donation was made.

Start a charm bracelet for your boss or if the bracelet is to expensive ask dad to buy the bracelet and have each child and yourself provide a charm.

Gifts of time

Put overtime coupons in there stockings or cards ~ make an envelope of coupons such as "Get out of the 'I was late doghouse' free" or "Go out without kids" or "Mommy gets time for a haircut" or "Nanny does the dishes" I try to think of things they say they don't have time for and then make the coupons funny and decorate them (as they are redeemed collect them in a new envelope so you will be ready for next year).

Give your employers free 24-hour care overnight for their anniversary ~ I just make a coupon and stick it in their anniversary card (be sure to note when it can be used such as within 60 days of your anniversary if you don’t want then to pull it out on New Year’s).
Well, that is a starter list that I hope helps you not only during the holidays, but all year round!

1 comment:

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