I love the look on my client’s faces when I give them their Christmas gifts! It is a small way to show appreciation for welcoming me into their homes week after week, supporting their child(ren)’s music education, & being all out awesome.
Every year, there are so many amazing gift ideas for students. This is not about those … though I will put links to some of my favourites at the bottom of this post. This is about getting those gifts ready as quick as possible so you can get back to your eggnog/cider/mulled wine!
Step 1: Choose your gift
Wherever you choose to get your ideas from, find an idea that:
- Fits your personality
- Is personal
- Will be easy to pull together AND fits the time you have available
- Doesn’t require a big budget per student
For myself, I enjoy making preserves. It is something that I can do in the summer months when I am taking a break from teaching. The cost per jar is comparable to what we would pay in the store & the selection is much better. Plus, at one point my kids out right refused to eat store-bought jam. (We had the same issue after the first time I made baby food for them. Sigh.) Once the jars are processed they move down to the basement, ready as quick gifts for anytime of year.
My students & their family’s love the jams, jellies, & other preserves they get. (The kids voted to get them as prizes at one point.) It’s personal, very much fits my food-loving personality, requires a very small budget per family, & I can pull together 10 gift bags in less than 10 minutes (with card writing time added on). Plus, at this point if I tried to give any other gift I would definitely hear about it from my students.
I always purchase the gift bags, tissue, & labels at the dollar store. Dollarama or Dollar Tree are my go-to stores because they are inexpensive & the selection is great. This year, I choose retro-themed holiday bags with Christmas confetti tissue. The cards were purchased at Staples when they were on sale. They fit well with the gift bags & do not mention Christmas. This is really important in my studio since I have a few families that do not celebrate Christmas. This ensures I am respecting their religious beliefs. For those families, I tell them that the gift is to show my appreciation to them & leave out any mention of Christmas.
Step 2: Set up an assembly line for gifts & personalized cards
This is the BIGGEST tip I can give. After writing numerous report card comments, I have learnt the value of having a comment bank for any situation (ie. writing personalized cards). And regardless of the gifts, I have learnt (the hard way) that creating an assembly line works the most efficiently. No wonder it is the go-to process for manufacturing! While I (almost) ALWAYS follow this step … I did not follow this protocol when labeling the jar this year. Oops.
I needed to take these 140 jars to a finished product & quickly.
Unfortunately, the labels came off in transit & resulted in my mom getting a picture saying “Help! Which is which?”
The take-away here … label everything right off the bat. After some taste testing (it’s a tough job, but someone had to do it) & holding up jars to the sunlight (it doesn’t just work on wine), boxes were sorted & labelled.
Once the labels were done, it was easy enough to label the jars & move the boxes back downstairs in an assembly line for gift bag transfer.
Creating personalized labels
- Set up a template to use for all items. This give consistency & more professional look to the set.
- Change the font for each set of items.
- If you want to get really fancy, change the colour of the font & add a picture (though pictures don’t always turn out great on labels, so do a test page first).
Creating personalized cards
- Keep it simple (KISS) by using a template with several options (3-4 is fine) in each general section
- Personal comment about each student’s progress & something about their family
- Thank you
- Season’s wishes & how much you are looking forward to seeing them again
- Write the name of all family members on the card
- Put a fun little seasonal sticker to hold the envelope closed
Step 3: Find a safe place to store those beautiful gifts
The last weeks before any holiday can be stressful & chaotic in any family. There tends to be more cancellations & having gifts ready to go can be a huge relief for teachers.
Where am I storing my gifts?
Needing to store the gift bags was a great excuse to get the boys to clean up the Man Cave since I was NOT about to step on any Lego or action figures with glass jars in my hands. The bags are on the bookshelf with a cleaned floor to keep everyone safe & sound. Plus, now we are ready for when family comes in from out-of-town. A win all around!
Ideas For Student Gifts
These are the ideas that top my list of possible student gifts!
- Color In My Piano: Joy has some beautiful ideas including a grab bag & sheet music ornaments.
- Melody Payne: I used her picture frame with musical image for our end of year recital 2 years ago & some of my students still have these sitting on their pianos! … This idea is from awhile ago, so be sure to check out her new blog site as well
- Teach Piano Today: These holiday photo props are great for showing off student achievements. Not only can they be shown on social media, but they will be great for parents to share with grandparents & other family members over the holidays.
- Leila Viss: The edible treble clef looks like it is right at my skill level or could be a great Christmas group lesson activity! But, I am thinking the QR code cards may be on the list for next year.
- Music Educator Resources: Jennifer has revised list of gift ideas that are cute & inexpensive. I could definitely see many of my boys going for a pirate themed gift (or making a pirate Santa themed bag, though that may be just my twins).
The Ideas That Make Your Studio Jolly & Bright
This is a season for giving & teachers love to give! (It’s a blessing & curse though at this time of year it falls firmly in the blessing category.)
What are you all time favourite gift ideas for students? Leave your comments below.
Have a great weekend!