Your nanny has become part of your family. She helps with the kids, with the home, and is generally indispensible. How do you show her your appreciation during the holiday season? Guest author and parenting expert Katie Bugbee shares a few great ideas for great holiday gifts.
When you have a great nanny, you feel like you'd do anything to keep her – forever. She makes your life work. She takes the household worrying out of your work day.
The kids are sick? You know they're in excellent hands (and you're getting temperature updates regularly).
Your son is throwing tantrums? You know she'll handle it firmly, yet lovingly.
Your daughter refuses to eat – and nap? She's got tricks up her sleeve for those problems, too.
On a daily basis, you feel grateful for having hired her, for having welcomed her to your family. But besides an annual raise, you are left wondering how to show this appreciation.
The first step is to treat her well at the holidays. In fact, a nanny bonus averaging between one to two weeks’ salary has become the norm. (Find out what's typical in your state.) Nannies have started depending on this as part of their annual income as well.
I'd also recommend a sentimental card that tells her how you feel about her and her help over the year. Tell her what she means to your family – and the kids. An additional gift might come from the kids. It's great to get them to go shopping with you, pick something out, and present it to her with pride.
Here are some ideas based on your nanny's personality.
If your nanny is a baker: Consider a cute apron, a special class at a local culinary school, or a beautiful platter (some have very modern designs and can be monogrammed).
If your nanny loves to travel: Look into a beautiful journal, monogrammed tote bag (think LL Bean), or a personalized passport case.
If your nanny is in a book club: While a Kindle would be a great gift, a smaller budget idea might be a snazzy book tote (the new trend in reusable shopping baggies), clever book ends, wine glasses or a cheese board – since let's face it, no good book club is without good wine and cheese. See also: Book Club Etiquette
If your nanny loves her pets: Buying pet supplies might seem easy, but oftentimes pet owners are pretty particular about which collars, leashes, and treats they use on their animal friends. Instead, think cute and fun like a personalized mat to place the food on, a decorative pillow with a picture of her beloved, or cat/dog/iguana/parrot salt and pepper shakers.
If your nanny loves handmade stuff: Take the kids to a DIY plaster or paint store and get crafty. Consider what she might need (two plates, a platter) and make something they can add their personal design or even handprints to. It's practical and sentimental.
If your nanny is also a student: Try fun costume jewelry that fits her style, a clutch or wallet for going out, or a Keurig-type coffee pot.
If your nanny doesn't seem to have any hobbies: Think picture frames, a mani-pedi gift certificate, high-end lotions and scrubs, or personalized ornaments for her Christmas tree. These are also great when you just don't want to take a risk on what she wants or needs.
Whatever you do, it's bound to be thoughtful. Especially if it's handed to her by a sweet child who is bursting with excitement to be giving the gift!
Katie Bugbee is the senior managing editor and resident parenting expert of Care.com. A busy working mother of two, she's an expert on many parenting dilemmas, from appeasing picky eaters to finding the perfect nanny.
Girl with nanny image courtesy of Shutterstock.