10 Best (and 10 Worst) Gifts for Your Nanny

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The holidays are coming and, if you have small humans at home, chances are high that you have a million things to think about (especially since you are now responsible for a whole new list of people who are expecting a little something from little people who can barely walk, much less wield a credit card!…). Given the relationship we all have with our nannies and their relationship with our children, we can sometimes spend hours thinking of the perfect present every year. So, to help you quickly figure out a great gift, here are the 10 best and the 10 worst presents to get your nanny. Note: while we don’t get paid to promote some of these products, we do get a small contribution when you click on some of the links below.

10 BEST GIFTS FOR YOUR NANNY

  1. BONUS, BONUS, BONUS.

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It is standard practice to give your nanny a bonus every year and, if she has done a good job, this should be a strong consideration. See our post on this topic here. A bonus is a great gift and may be all that is needed. However, sometimes a bonus can seem a little too impersonal for someone as special as our nanny, and we may want to supplement it with a more personalized gift. Keep reading…

2. A few extra paid vacation days

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If you have a few extra vacation days left at work and can manage to stay home and give your nanny an extended break, that time and that generosity can go a long way. If handled properly, it is also free to everyone all around and a perfect way to spend an extended holiday for you both!

3. Something sweet from the kids

Have the kids make something sweet to remind your nanny how much they (and you!) love her. There are numerous ideas on Pinterest and Etsy has some fantastic kits that make a thoughtful gift a breeze. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:

Decorate her Walls. Beautiful framed handprints with a customizable message from Etsy Pine and Poem Baby

Decorate her Tree. Timesake ornaments to remember how small your little humans were as they grow and develop.

4. Spa Time

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Even for a professional, being a nanny can be stressful and can take its toll physically. Giving your nanny a chance to relax with a massage or facial can provide some needed rejuvenation and help her destress going in to the new year. If you don’t know of any great spas nearby or don’t know which spa your nanny prefers, you can use this Spafinder gift card, which services most major spas.

5. Dinner with Friends

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Nannies often put in long hours during the weekday to cover most parents’ working hours plus some. Because of this, most nannies don't get a lot of time to spend with friends. A gift certificate to a nice restaurant to spend some needed time catching up will go far and will make your nanny feel like a superstar to be treated to a fun night out with a group of her pals.

6. Coffee

Illy Caffe coffee and espresso machine in one!

Chasing around toddlers in the early morning hours can be exhausting, as new parents know. Every nanny needs a little pick me up every now and then…errr, more like NOW! There isn’t anything better than a hot steaming cup of high quality coffee in the morning. This Illy Caffe machine makes a piping hot cup of delicious espresso OR coffee in about 60 seconds for $150 and comes in three customizable colors. 

7. New Clothes

Taking care of kids can be messy business. Chances are high your nanny has gone through some clothes over the year with food, paint, dirt, and a wealth of other stain sources. Some new clothes may be very apropos. To allow maximum comfort during active hours, try Lululemon, Nike, or a personal favorite, Athleta, for some fashionable, yet comfortable frocks.

8. Personalized photo session

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Allowing your nanny to commemorate another year passed with a photo shoot at her favorite place with family, friends, pets, or even your kids (if she chooses!) keeps all the fun memories of the year alive for a long time to come. Google photographers in your area and see if you can purchase a package from them. It is a fun and unique idea that your nanny can use at any time!

9. Car detailing

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If your nanny transports your kids in her own car, then chances are its taken a beating over the past year with food, drinks, wrappers, and a host of other leave behinds she probably wants to get rid of. Similar to a photography session, a car detailing package is readily available at most car washes. If not, Google tends to have some highly rated detailers near her that she can take it to.

10. Personalized Jewelry

You likely know your nanny best and know what she would love! Hopefully you have been able to pick up on some subtle cues throughout the year, but if not, the above will brighten her season.

10 Worst GIFTS FOR YOUR NANNY

1. Life-sized fathead of your kids

Your nanny spends plenty of time with your kids as it is. And, while she likely loves the snot out of them, a life sized Fathead wall decal is just not a needed accessory for her personal space. Let’s try something else.

2. Kid gear

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Admit it. Kid gear is NOT for your nanny, it is for your kids or, maybe, could be considered a job expense…but definitely not a gift. Baby blankets, baby carriers, new cups or bottles…while you nanny may enjoy trying them, they would not be appreciated as a gift! Let’s try again.

3. random Charity donation

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Donating to a charity on behalf of a loved one is a wonderful way to engage in the art of giving; however, if the charity is not near and dear to your nanny’s heart, it can fall flat. If you choose to donate to a charity in lieu of a gift, be sure the charity is a passion for your nanny. This type of gift, however, is not usually highly personable, which is one of our goals for gifts beyond an annual bonus.

4. A vacation…with the family

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While you may think a vacation is a great gift, a vacation with your children is NOT a vacation for your nanny, and, therefore, not a great gift. Your nanny may travel with you for family vacations (many do), but she must work much harder than normal to keep the children happy and rested when they are off their routines and out of their customary environments. Great thought, but let’s try again.

5. Gym membership

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Not cool. Never cool. For anybody… Just don’t do it.

6. Therapist appointment

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Lots of subtext here, but either you’ve driven her crazy or your kids have driven her crazy. Regardless, seeing a therapist is highly personal and getting her a therapist appointment is akin to getting her a gym membership…just don’t do it.

7. Makeover

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Nothing says “You look a little tired” more than a makeover gift card. Similarly to the above two items, caution on subtext. It is safer to steer clear of this one. Just don’t.

8. Book on Childcare or Early Childhood Development

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While Grit by Angela Duckworth is a parenting classic, it is not a “gift,” more like detailed instructions. The same goes for any book in the Parenting genre of books. Sharing books between parents and their nannies is encouraged and helpful in initiating discussions around topics like discipline, routines, sleep and other topics, a “parenting book” is NOT a gift for your nanny. It would fall more in line with the explanation above for a family vacation or kid gear.

9. a regift

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Your nanny has likely seen every inch of your home in caring for your children. She has either chased them out of your closet when they were playing dressup with your underthings, searched all the bathroom cabinets looking for Frozen (or Cars) bandaids or fingernail clippers, or have been forced to search high and low for that missing lovey. Because of this, regifting something to your nanny is a non-starter. Don’t do it. Even if she acts like she LOVES it, she will know…and she will never tell you, but she WILL know… Just don’t.

10. tchotchke

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Because who doesn’t have enough of these? Seeing no hands, this is a pass. There are already way too many of these in the world. Don’t do it.