So there's really no way for me to let my families know what I'm about to write without looking like I'm asking for gifts, and I'm absolutely not. Also, it's probably far too late to be considering this now, since Chanukah is over, and Christmas is a week away, but I'm writing this now for future reference.
Should you or your child have a music/art/reading/whatever tutor, and should you wish to give him or her a holiday gift 'round about now, here's one teacher's opinion.
1) You really honestly don't have to get me anything. The best gift of all is a student who practices and is attentive and respectful in lessons. Although, should you be the parent a non-attentive, only-occasionally-respectful, rarely-practicing student, I am still fond of your child, else he or she wouldn't be in my studio anymore.
2) The things teachers will keep forever are handwritten notes/letters/cards/drawings from your child. I have a box dedicated to such things. Photos of the student are also a plus.
3) Gift cards/certificates are also highly appreciated. I have one family who generally gives me a gift certificate to a local music store and a couple others who give me gift certificates to a local bookstore, and really, you can't go wrong giving any teacher a bookstore certificate.
Although if this trend keeps up, I'm going to need a gift certificate to IKEA for more bookshelves.
4) Food is also welcome, although I'm picky about certain candies and such, but if I happen to get something I don't care for, it will go in the break room and many other starving musician teachers will be equally grateful.
5) Knickknacks/jewelry/clothing accessories: I'm grateful for any token of esteem, but these are risky. Examples will not be forthcoming, because I would hate to hurt anyone's feelings.
Now, all this said, should you happen to be aware that the teacher in question...enjoys the occasional glass of wine/brandy/rum/grain alcohol (I was going to say just "drinks", but that has connotations I think I'd prefer to avoid), a bottle of cheer is very highly appreciated, if that's within your comfort zone.
Merry Giftmas to all, and to all a good night!