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Monday, December 19, 2016

A Gift For That Special Teacher In Your Life...

All right, it's T-minus six days until Christmas morning.  This means, I have six more days of the POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR to go.

Which makes this Day #19.

It's also the final day in which I have to talk about Christmas memories at school.  And to be honest, I was trying to come up with a topic for the day. 

I mean, I know that we had a ton of Christmas parties in school...but I already wrote about that a few years ago.

There were also times where the whole school gathered in the gymnasium to sing holiday favourites - and where we learned our janitor had a secret talent of playing the piano.  But, I've already talked about that as well.

So, I thought outside of the box, and wondered...were there times in which I remember doing something nice for someone else in school?  And, the answer is yes.

In fact, throughout my elementary school days, I can remember doing something nice for most of my teachers - well, at least until I reached high school, that is.  In fact, quite a lot of students in the class took part in this tradition of sorts. 

How many of you remember buying Christmas gifts for your teachers back in the day? 

I know it was an optional thing at my elementary school, but I think a lot of kids made the decision to buy their teachers a special gift as a token of thanks for helping them learn how to write in cursive, multiply by nine, and figure out why baking soda and vinegar makes model volcanoes go kaboom. 

And yes, I was one of those kids who took part.

It was actually kind of a fun experience.  We'd present our gifts to the teacher on the last day of classes before Christmas break ended, and the teacher would often open them up in class.  Now, granted, I suppose this made the kids who did not bring a gift feel sort of awkward, but none of the teachers stressed that we HAD to buy them anything.  Besides, like the Simply Red song states, for some families money was too tight to mention.  Or, some may have thought their teachers were complete jerks and didn't deserve a gift.

I mean, certainly they had the right to feel that way.  Believe me, if my parents weren't insistent that I give my first grade teacher a gift, I never would have given her a present at all.  I can see where they were coming from.  Maybe they thought that if I gave her a box of chocolates, it would soften her towards me and she'd be a little bit nicer.

It didn't work, but at least we took the high road.

Now, I should mention that when it came to buying gifts for our teachers, more often than not, it was our parents that bought and chose the gifts, wrapped the gifts, and signed the tag.  Basically our only job was to bring the gift to school.  But at least I had some ideas that differed from everyone else's. 

I remember one time, I gave a gift of a wooden calendar to a teacher - I think it was third grade.  Mind you, the calendar was useless after 1990 (though I suppose he could have reused it in 2001), but it was a pretty decent gift.  Another time, I gave my sixth grade teacher a wooden clock which was absolutely beautiful.  And you know, to be honest, she deserved it as she was my favourite teacher in elementary school.

However, sometimes the students would give gifts that were quite similar.  I don't know if my fourth grade teacher managed to finish the eighteen boxes of Pot of Gold chocolates that she had been gifted by most of the class.  And, I'm wondering if my second grade teacher found a spot for all of the coffee mugs that she was given by her students.  At least all of the twelve mugs she received had different designs on them!

Still, I think that was part of the fun of giving gifts to teachers.  Sometimes you never knew how creative - or how monotonous the gifts could be.  And what made it really nice was the fact that every single gift given to our teachers was appreciated.  Or at least they faked it long enough to wait until they could sell it at their garage sales six months later. 

Again, the tradition of giving gifts to your teacher sort of petered out by the seventh grade.  By the time I entered high school, we never bothered - mainly because of the fact that by then I had four or five different teachers, and that could get quite costly!  But it was a cool tradition to take part in while it lasted!

Though part of me wonders just how many of those gifts our teachers received ended up getting re-gifted?  I'm predicting 40%.  I'm optimistic.

So, now here's a question for you.  What gifts did you give your teachers in school if you did?  And if you're a teacher yourself, what are some of the strangest or most creative gifts you've ever gotten from your students?

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