Tuesday, December 16, 2008
No GReaTer GiFT THaN THe PReSeNT
When I taught Kindergarten at a very Snooty Patooty Upper East Side Private school, the line was often crossed between "Thoughtful Holiday Gift" and "Bribe to Get My Child into a Competitive Ongoing School." The year before I arrived, a sampling of gifts other teachers received included: a trip to Paris on the President of a Major Network's private jet, a pair of two carat diamond earrings, and a fur coat. I would tell you more, but there is that Private Nursery School Teacher Code of Honor, and I might end up in the East River in a pair of cement Keds, after having been forced to eat paste.
The year I started as a teacher, our HoityToity school got a new Headmistress, and one of her first acts of business was to Ban All Christmas Gifts. Except Handmade ones.
That year, many a seasoned veteran was slipped a Tiffany's box, or found an Amex gift card tucked into a child's drawing. But I was The New Kid on The Block, and the parents in my class were also new (Except for the Saudian Arabian Prince who had a sibling in an upper grade), and as a result were very enthusiastic about Getting With The Program.
I received tin after tin of homemade cookies-obviously slaved over by my student with maybe just a little help from the Private Chef, jars of pickled and preserved gourmet fruits and jellies and several fabulous drawings in which the children had portrayed me as 20-25 lbs. thinner than I was in real life. I loved all of these things.
One of my very favorite students (who went on to recently date Paris Hilton, btw) appeared before me at our Christmas Party bearing a present, which obviously did not hold cookies or muffins or some culinary treat containing truffles.
It was a large orb, shining the way only something wrapped in Reynolds Wrap can, about the size of a basketball. I could not wait for the last child to leave and the miniature tables to be wiped down, miniature chairs pushed in, so I could unwrap it.
I peeled away the first layer of tin foil to reveal.....another layer of tin foil.
I peeled away the second layer of tin foil to reveal.....another layer of tin foil.
Aha- I thought- my very clever student has created a "surprise ball" for me; which is a very clever way of concealing a present at the center of a sphere.
And so I spent the next half hour, peeling layer after layer of tin foil away from the core--to finally reveal..........
The tin foil ball WAS the present.
It took me another three quarters of an hour to reassemble the creation, and when the students came back from vacation and asked me if I had enjoyed their pomegranate preserves and white truffle chocolate chip cookies, I said Yes! I had enjoyed them all, while I admired the silver ball on my tree.
The deadline for writing your own post about gifts has been extended through today-please post in the comments section of the post below if you want to play for the trophy.