Christmas gifts in daycare

by Chava Sanderson

Should I give a gift to my child's pædagog? And if so, what type of gift should I give? These are two common questions many parents to ask during the Christmas season.

If you are wondering whether you should give your child’s pædagog or dagplejer a Christmas gift, you are definitely not alone. Lots of parents (even Danish parents) ask about daycare gift giving traditions every year at Christmas time. The topic is often discussed on social media and blogs, and even BUPL, the pædagog’s union, joins in the discussion from time to time. 

So should you buy a gift for your child’s pædagog? The short answer is – only if you feel like it. Not everyone gives a Christmas gift, and it is definitely not necessary or expected. Technically, public employees are not allowed to receive gifts, but small, symbolic gifts are usually acceptable, and are almost always appreciated. According to the BUPL, around 40% og pædagogs receive Christmas gifts, so no matter which option you choose, you will not be alone.

If this is your child’s first Christmas at the daycare and you would like to give a gift, it can be a good idea to ask another parent, a member of the parent board, or the daycare leader about the daycare’s gift-giving policy. 

Traditions can vary a little from daycare to daycare, but here are some other things to consider when giving gifts to daycare workers.

Giving a gift to your child’s pædagog
Some parents choose to give a gift to their child’s main pædagog og dagplejer. This can be a good option if your child has an especially strong connection to one adult in the daycare and spends most of the day with this person. It is common to give home-made gifts or small, inexpensive gifts that cost no more than 100kr (and never more than 300kr). Here are some popular examples – a card, a framed drawing, a home-made gift made by your child, a little box of chocolate or bag of candy, a small tin of cookies or snacks, a fun coffee cup, a Christmas decoration, or a bottle of wine.  

Giving a group gift
Most daycares love when parents give Christmas gifts that the staff can share and enjoy together. This could be a gift for the adults in your child’s room or something that the entire daycare staff can share. Group gifts are a great option if your child has contact with several adults in the daycare. They also ensure that all of the staff are included in the gift giving traditions. Staff members often collect the gifts and split them up evenly between themselves or keep them in the breakroom to enjoy during meetings, lunch and at break-time. Some examples of common group gifts that staff members love to share are coffee or tea, chocolate, candy, cookies, and seasonal snacks. 

Giving a gift with other parents
Although most parents love the idea of giving gifts to daycare staff, December can be tough on many people’s budget. Homemade gifts can be the perfect solution, but another option could be for parents to pool their money together and purchase one group gift from all the children in the group. Parents can agree on a set amount from each family (usually no more than 20-50kr), or allow families to contribute what they feel is appropriate. Then one parent collects the money and purchases a gift from all the children in the group. A typical gift could be a large gift basket full of yummy goodies.  

Where to find gifts
There are a lot of great places that offer popular gift options at Christmas time. Here are just a few ideas to help you on your way. 

Your local supermarket
Most larger supermarkets sell Christmas candy, cookies, and other treats. These are also completely acceptable places to find coffee, snacks, or a bottle of wine.

Your favorite specialty shop
If you have the time, you could also visit your local bakery, favorite café, tea shop, chocolate shop, or other type of specialty store in the area. Not only will you be supporting a local business, but they can also give you some extra advice if you are having a hard time finding the right gift.  

Chains to visit if you are making a gift
Søstrene Grene and Copenhagen Tiger are two chains that have tons of inexpensive gift options. You can also find lots of fun Christmas decorations, gift boxes and tins, and child-friendly craft supplies and DIY kits for making cute home-made gifts. 

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