Top gifts for your students!

Jane Wood-Chambers

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Christmas for all children in a primary school is a big deal; regardless of what is celebrated at home, the culture of the school setting dictates this importance.
The Christmas tree in the dining hall, the tinsel in the classroom, paper chain making from early December and the Christmas post box in the reception area next to ‘lost property’. It all adds up and when this goes hand in hand with an annual pantomime trip for all of Key Stage 2 and a visit from Father Christmas for the Early Years Foundation Stage the scene is set.

So, there were always 3 things that I tried to get on top of every year when I was a class teacher in a primary school. I have worked in 3 across London, spanning over 20 years in the classroom and it took a number of years to get the seasons' challenges right!

1. Gifts for your class

Usually, schools allocate a small budget for each class for the teacher to buy their children in their class a small Christmas gift. I remember the budget being about £1 a child, which, whilst generous, was a challenge to think of what to buy that was quality and would not break or look like a remnant from a party bag!

christmas calendar-1

My top 5 gifts for approximately £1 each!

  • Books, books and more books!
When buying in bulk you can find some real bargains. Most bookshops and online stores list their books according to age, so it is really easy to get a list of books quickly. Of course, as a teacher, you know the type of book that is age appropriate. The Book People are my go-to online shop. Have a look here.

I very quickly was able to select a collection of 10 books for £10.00! Interesting historical texts that can be allocated individually to your pupils. Log on and see what else may be suitable.

  • Playing cards

These need to be culturally sensitive as some communities do not use them or marbles/jacks’ pavement games.

Amazon, of course, is a go-to site, but the larger supermarkets also have a toy and game section and I have found my gifts available there; buying directly also avoids having to be in for the parcel to arrive!

  • Key rings

Most pupils love key rings; they can be attached to their pencil case and their school bags.

The trend goes in phase, but I still see pupils with a whirl of key rings hanging from their bags! Emoji key rings are all the rage now!

santa sky

2. Christmas cards

  • Children love sending Christmas cards to one another and also to their teacher. To ensure everyone was included in having the possibility of receiving a card I would give each class member a list of the class – First names and surnames, printed on a slip of paper so that each child could copy them correctly onto the card. It was not mandatory to give cards or want to receive them, but the slips were prepared and left the door for those children and families that wanted them. I never did the same with the teacher’s names; partly to take the pressure from the families, cards are expensive, but also because I loved the children’s spellings of the teachers’ names! I was known as Ms. Wood as a teacher and invariable would be Ms. Woob and an old colleague Mr. Parr was Mr. Park. Not particularly funny now, but at the time we were always quite amused!

  • When you receive your cards from the children and families why not use blu-tac and stick them on the classroom door. The children love seeing their card displayed and it shows your gratitude for receiving them.

3. Saying thank you!

  • As a parent, I have sent many a gift into school at Christmas and the end of the term and I admit I am always interested to know if the teacher or other adults in the school liked my gift. Some teachers would open their gift there and then and some would say they would save it for Christmas day. I always saved mine for Christmas day, but I made sure I remembered who it was from and made a note. Then on the return to school in January, I was able to say thank you to the individual pupil and their family for the often very thoughtful gist. I would also make sure that I wrote a thank you message in my first newsletter of the new year and spring term.

You may be tired at this point during the term, but at least you are working in a setting where awe and wonder and excitement are daily commodities and readily available to you! Happy Christmas!


About our Community Expert


Jane Wood-Chambers
Editorial Advisory Board Lead

Over 27 years of educational experiences in a number of settings. Developed a clear vision and ethos for inclusion which puts the child at the centre and a clear understanding of how to support, engage and nurture the individual.

Ability to train all staff through effective and reflective continual professional development in behavioural management techniques that begin, establish and maintain change in all.

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