(photo by dreamstime)
So, the holidays are upon us – Thanksgiving was only a couple of weeks ago, and Christmas is only a little over two weeks away. Can you believe it? Am I the only one who thinks that December somehow shrinks every year?
Host families are usually very busy in December, which makes au pairs busy little bees as well. With Christmas parties, shopping, longer hours at work cramming in end-of-the-year projects, and the like, December gets hectic fast for families and their au pairs.
If you haven’t gotten around to Christmas shopping yet, you will be soon no doubt. You will probably not have a very hard time shopping for your friends and family in your new city and back home, but choosing appropriate (and affordable!) gifts for your host family may be more difficult.
Depending on what kind of family you are living with and working for, you may have children who either have all the the toys there are to have, so you are stuck wondering what to get them. Or you may be with a very minimalistic family who does not like their children to have playrooms that look like Toys-R-Us, meaning you don’t know if you can get them anything. Then there are the host parents – if you give them something, then what on earth should it be?
Add to all of this the financial dilemma of living off of roughly $500-$700 a month depending on where you work, and things can get a bit stressful. But they need not be. It is important to remember that you do not have to spend a lot of money on your host family. They know how much you earn and that you probably not afford to purchase expensive gifts for the whole family.
My recommendation is to get creative and keep things as simple as possible. Is there something you can give that the whole family would enjoy, such as a movie they all like or a game they would enjoy? If you aren’t sure what to give individual family members, then a group gift would simplify matters and make for a fun time.
Other ideas include giving services as gifts – such as an extra night of babysitting, cooking a special meal, or something similar. These things will cost you very little but would truly be appreciated by your host parents. For more ideas, Best Nanny Newsletter has some other great ideas from other au pairs and nannies as well.
What about you? Are you giving your host family gifts this year? If so, what?