Thursday, December 16, 2004

Gifting: A Comparison

COPs and CRIMNALS was a little compare/contrast item I wrote about teaching in the sketchy inner-ghetto versus teaching in the preppy suburbs. COPs are Children of Privilege and CRIMNALS are Children Raised In Minimal Need and Luxury Settings. For a Christmas treat, we will review the gifting comparision.


The holidays are a special time when teachers are gifted by their students. It is always fun to test your acting skills when oohing and ahhing at dollar store finds, usually painted statuettes or dishes. Sometimes teachers get lucky with gift certificates, the guaranteed-to-please present of choice. Other times...there is the Special Gift. The gift that leaves you so unsure of what to say, that all you can muster is, "WOW. Thank you sweetie!"


The day before Christmas break...high energy kids, low energy teachers. Children burst through the door with an array of bows and gift bags and smiles. Claude and Claudia (twins) struggle through the door bearing a massive, ungainly gift. Unwrapped and awkward, the gift was about half the size of a fourth grader. Claude and Claudia hefted it up to my desk and grinned around it. No...through it. From under the arms of a figure, in fact.
I gazed from top to bottom over a yard art statue of the Virgin Mary. Not Joseph, not Jesus, no wise men. Just Mary. Mary with...grass blades and dirt clinging to her feet. Grass and dirt! This was lifted from someone's nativity scene in their yard! I frantically tried to figure out where their bus stop was and my eyes darted out the window to see if anyone was watching me accept this hot gift.
Two gap-toothed grins peeked out from under her arms. The twins were slightly winded from their haul. How far had they carried this?
"WOW!" I said winningly. "Wow!" I chuckled a heh-heh-heh, not sure what to say. "Wow." I concluded and smiled brightly at my little kleptos. "You two sure are something!" I squeezed them tight, eyeing the window for cops.


Christmastime is much the same in the yuppie world, just shinier and more of a scene. Gifts must be opened in a ceremony-like fashion with much ooohing and ahhing over the jewelry (teacher bracelets), candles and lotions. A gift list is kept by a responsible student with good handwriting, just as a bridesmaid does at a bridal shower.
My final gift this year was a Beaut. Simple gift bag, beaming child, proud mother. She had asked me yesterday the colors of my bedroom and how to spell my first name. I should have been more prepared.
"Now remember Mrs. R., that I run an embroidery business!" she smiled eagerly, urging me to open my gift. I put my hand into the bag and felt...fur? I slowly pulled out... a garment? A bag? A pillowcase. A lime green satin number with a leopard print faux fur cuff. Emblazoned across the satin in script? Ginny in brown letters. In case I lost it, I suppose.
"Wow! Heh-heh-heh," I've got to work on this awkward giggle, I thought to myself. "How about that?" I rubbed the fur on my face. What was I doing? "Soft!" I stammered. "Very soft."
"It's one-of-a-kind!" she crowed.
"It is that!" I agreed, gently easing it back into the bag before someone could see.


trn219 said...

While at the mall recently, my friend and I were speculating that elementary school teachers must get a boatload of those teacher ornaments each Christmas. You know....."World's Best Teacher," "Special Teacher," etc. We were wondering what teachers did with all of them, if there was a big drawer somewhere designated for this purpose. Do you have a drawer for the hot Virgin Mary statue?? ;)

Pigs said...

Step 1: Ooh and ahh.
Step 2: Write thank you note.
Step 3: Make heaping pile of teacher/apple sundries.
Step 4: Carry to car, drive home, and dispose.
Alternate Step 4: Sell junk at Steph's yard sale to eager buyers with questionable taste.

Katie said...

Don't forget Step 2 1/2: Out of the glorious array of gifts, you pick out the best and most beautiful to re-gift to your Aunt Janice.
For those of you who read Ginny's blog and continually post, "That can't be true!"- let me assure you that I have seen the pillowcase and it is as beautiful as you would imagine it to be. The faux fur trim really added that something special to it.