Giving Gifts to Your NannyFamily: Know the Rules

by farrah haidar Image courtesy of Microsoft Office Creative Commons

Ah, the holidays: a beautiful time filled with family and friends. But, for nannies and MomBosses, it can also mean negotiating the thin line between being an employee and being part of the family, especially during a time filled with potentially awkward situations like giving gifts. Whether or not you should get your charges gifts can be tricky. And, if you do, what to get them can be an even tougher decision.

Like most things in life, context matters. How long you have been with the family, how many hours you spend with your charges, and the family’s culture can all influence this decision. But, no matter what your situation is, here are some guidelines to follow, straight from a MomBoss to you.

Gift Giving Is Optional

Don’t feel obligated to give your charges or their parents a gift. After all, you are an employee and there should be no expectation of a gift from you, even if the family chooses to give you something. Also, remember that what you do this year can set the standard for years to come. So, think carefully about how you want to approach this matter.

Make It Thoughtful

Remember the old adage: “it’s the thought that counts.” You can opt for a symbolic family gift like a yearbook of pictures or a smaller gift that is well suited to your charge. As your employer, we know that you are making less money than we are. Giving our children a large-ticket item can feel like a big burden on you and can be embarrassing for us. Keep those big, expensive presents your charges are drooling over firmly categorized in the “for the parents to buy” camp and stick with something that is thoughtful and meaningful without being costly.

Go for Age-Appropriate and Educational Presents

Although there should no expectation of a gift from your NannyFamily, if you do choose to give one, then your role as a caregiver should influence your selection. Given how well you know your charges, choosing something fun with an educational bent should be a breeze. Something our kids can learn from surely beats out another doll or miniature fire truck.

Be Respectful of the Family

Every family has its own culture and norms, and it’s possible that your NannyFamily practices a different religion than you do. For example, if you don’t see alcohol in the house, a bottle of wine may or may not be a good idea as a gift for your MomBoss. Make sure that the gift you choose is well within the family’s culture. Additionally, consider that if you are a Christian who celebrates Christmas, but your NannyFamily follows another religion and does not celebrate Christmas, then giving your charges a Christmas gift may be viewed as inappropriate by your employers. Similarly, if they celebrate Christmas but you do not, you should not feel obligated to provide your charge with a Christmas gift. The same applies to any religious combinations.

May the holidays be filled with joy for you and your families, whatever you celebrate!