I have to be honest (and maybe this makes me sound greedy and selfish) but I love teacher presents. The tackier the better. I love opening bags in front of the little ones, watching their excited eyes fill with pride as they show me what they picked out themselves from the dollar store. Perhaps if I taught at a school where the families were better off I wouldn't like it as much, but from these families every present is a geniune surprise, and you can't help being touched by the effort and thought they put into it.
My Christmas tree is full of presents I converted into ornaments. What else to do with the large shiny blue flower necklace? Or the plastic 'crystal ball' given to me to "hang from my mirror in my car like my daddy"? The tree is a place where they'll come out every year, remind me of the great kid who gave them to me, and warm my heart for a few weeks.
My favorite gift of all time was an animal from build-a-bear with the little boy's voice recorded to say, "To Miss L, From M. God Bless Us Everyone." I also have a shelf in my office with my treasured ceramic dollar store gifts... an African American bride doll, a swam vase, a small flower pot, a bright blue cat. There are others I admit baffle me... (the used curling iron) but regardless when I think of the child and the family I get chills at the generosity expressed in the gift.
I feared this year that since I am no longer in the classroom I wouldn't receive presents. It's not that I have a desire to get lots of gifts or am greedy, it's just that I so enjoy watching a little one fill with pride when he sees you open his present. I still received a few, the highlight being the Day of the Week earrings from a kindergartner. (As requested, I am currently wearing Friday's yellow plastic triangles). I got a beautiful purse from China, an alarm clock, and a napkin holder. The child who gave me the napkin holder informed me I can use it to hold my mail to help me organize myself. hmmmm... I also received a gift certificate to Victoria Secret. It was overly generous and so sweet. The little girl however, is still waiting to hear what I buy and asked me every day this week when I was going to go pick something out for myself... good thing they sell lotion! (I have heard of teachers receiving Victoria Secret gifts the children picked out themselves... NOT lotion. I'm not sure how I would handle that one).
I guess I feel like a kid the day after Christmas tabulating his loot, but I have to admit, the teacher presents do make my day.