What to give your nanny for Christmas?

It’s that time of year again, when we all start to think about sending cards and wrapping presents. For many families there is the uncertainty about what to give their nanny, what might be expected, and what is usual?  Nannies also sometimes wonder if they are obliged to buy their employer a present.

We all hear about the employers who give big bonus payments at Christmas and if this is something your friends are giving to their nanny, you may wonder if this is normal or the unwritten rule. The tradition of giving a week’s salary at Christmas seems to be originally an American custom that is slowly catching on in the UK.  As an agency we do get quite a few calls from clients about this at around this time of the year.

Every family is different in much the same way that every nanny is different – just because one family does it, does not mean you have to do the same.

It is not essential to pay a big bonus or buy a super expensive present and this should not be felt as an obligation, no matter what other previous families may have done in the past. If you do want to do this, then I am sure it will be appreciated, but Christmas is an expensive time for everyone, especially those with children, and nannies should not be under the impression that a fabulous gift will always be the case with every employer.

Generous presents are of course happily received, but what is more important is a maintaining a good working relationship the whole year round. A relationship built on mutual respect is more valuable than a big present and makes it much more likely that the nanny will stay in the role long term. A small thoughtful gift is always to be encouraged  – perhaps your nanny mentioned something in passing, and by kindly remembering what it was that they had shown interest in, tends to have the effect of making people feel appreciated.

As for Nannies who may be feeling a bit pressurised, wondering what on earth they can buy on their nanny salary that their employer will enjoy, – well, you already have the perfect opportunity to provide something unique that may well be treasured for many years to come!

In my house I have a big box crammed with all sorts of ratty old calendars, book marks that are shedding sea shells, and undecipherable scribbles, placed next to a masterpiece of a dog with too many legs, and yet these are amongst my most precious possessions. If the house was on fire, I would definitely grab my “lovely things box” of gifts that my children have made over the years – right after my cat…and husband of course!

So remember it really is about the thought that counts! There are more ways for families to show gratitude and appreciation than giving a huge bonus or an expensive gift and nannies, let’s remember the unique handcrafted and thoughtful gifts and creations which can hold so many memories for years to follow – priceless!

Moira Walsh – Fulham Nannies

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