Parents told not to buy gifts for their children’s teachers this Christmas

Do you remember giving your teacher a gift to thank them at Christmas time? It used to be a kind

Do you remember giving your teacher a gift to thank them at Christmas time?

It used to be a kind gesture between student and teacher or parent and teacher.

But now it’s on the list of things that have been “banned” in various parts of Australia this Christmas.

Yes, that’s right, a council in New South Wales has sent a letter to parents of childcare and kindergarten students advising them not to buy “traditional” gifts for teachers.

The Daily Telegraph reports Inner West Council described the giving of “significant” personal gifts to staff was a breach of employee codes of conduct.

“We do acknowledge that some families feel strongly about showing their appreciation to our educators and staff for their work with the children throughout the year,” the letter to parents reads.

“With this in mind, I would ask you to consider carefully any gifts you may offer. For example, a simple thank you card, or a child-made creation or drawing as alternatives to traditional gifts.”

What’s a “traditional gift”?

Well,  parents were advised gift cards and other “cash-like” gifts would be “politely declined” by the teachers.

“We would like to avoid these situations, particularly so as not to upset any of our children,” the letter reads.

A spokesman for the council did tell the Daily Telegraph that only “significant” or “cash-based” gifts were an issue.

“A small box of chocolates as a thank you to a carer who has looked after your child would be OK,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

Apparently, if you’re a teacher in New South Wales you have to declare any gifts you receive that are valued at more than $50.

If this makes you angry, you’re not alone.

A former mayor of the area slammed the ban, describing it as a “Christmas crackdown” and “the last thing the council should be focused on”.


“Parents know how undervalued and underpaid these educators are and want to show their appreciation for what they do for our kids,” former Leichhardt mayor Darcy Byrne told the Daily Telegraph.

“Government has no business tying down this Christmas spirit with red tape.”

And the Local Government Minister has weighed into the debate too, telling parents, teachers and the council to “exercise common sense”.

Minister Paul Toole said he didn’t think there was anything wrong with kids bringing gifts for their teachers.

“The council’s policy allows for token gifts, but advises against anything that’s elaborate or expensive,” he told the Daily Telegraph

“I encourage the council, and mums and dads, to exercise common sense.”

Christmas wasn’t always this complicated!

Surely they have more important things to think about? Are you sick of hearing about the red tape and PC issues surrounding this Christmas?



  1. Jayd  

    One has *always* needed to declare gifts over a certain value to be in line with professional ethics.

    Education, Commercial Business, Politics – all places of work with more than the smallest handful of employees will have this requirement as a condition of employment.

    I was reminded each year in one large multinational I worked for before 2000 to declare anything worth more than $20 and hand in anything worth more than $50. Same when I worked for the Victorian Education department from 2000 to 2006.

    It’s the primary way we ensure there is no corruption.

    It’s very wrong to think anyone should get a gift of more than $50 value and be able to keep it, secretly.

    • Kevin  

      Teacher corruption on the same scale as local government officials and bureaucrats ,union officials and politicians ? Don’t think so. Ridiculous bureaucrat intervention.

  2. Barbara Sands  

    Most presents would not excede $50.00. But still and all, To tell people how much they can spend on a gift for a teacher or anyone else is not on. Who makes up these silly stupid rules? Someone who doesn’t give or receive gifts and is just a tad jealous she or he is missing out.

  3. Robert Schleibs  

    Does the same rules apply to politicians and buracat?

  4. lurch  

    I could ask about the kickbacks some councillors receive and say nothing of our parliamentarians free flights or trips overseas from big business CEO’s. But this proves that the grinch is still alive and kicking.

  5. Mary  

    Nothing new. One council on the northern beaches of Sydney has told parents this same thing a few years ago. So petty when you think what they earn.

  6. Frederick  

    Never had that problem, as didn’t give ‘presents’ to Nuns!

    Children went to Private Schools, where it wasn’t permitted either, & that was back in the ’90’s!

    Personally, I don’t believe in giving Teachers’ presents at Xmas time, as they earn a goodly salary, better than the ‘average Aussie worker, AND they’ve more paid holidays’, too, when Schools’ are closed for the Term holidays’.

    Good perks’ for them also, if in Defence Reserves’, get to attend FOUR Camps’ or Courses’ per year, 16 days’ each, whilst still getting paid from their job, as is usually in ‘work-time’, PLUS Tax Free pay from Defence Dept.

    I suppose ‘when you’re on a good thing, stick to it’!

    • Cynthia Power  

      I think the kids get a bit of a “kick” from taking a gift to their teacher. It’s all about sharing and being part of their own little group.

    • Jude Power  

      I know this will sound petty, but I can’t resist commenting that those nuns didn’t deserve a present anyway as they obviously didn’t teach you anything about how to use apostrophes!

      I counted eight unncessary ones in your post and will now give you the information I have to keep giving my grand-daughter, whose teacher apparently can’t teach this basic thing either: an apostrophe is used when a word has been abbreviated by deleting one or more letters, for example, do not shortened to don’t. It’s also used when somebody owns something, for example, Frederick’s post. It’s not used every time a word ends in the letter s.

      Happy New Year!

  7. Jacqui  

    I don’t quite know what the defence reserves have to do with it. Some teachers don’t get any holiday pay as they are on a contract which ends when term ends and so they won’t get paid again until February! No one is suggesting that at the end of the year when marks and grades have already been given that a gift can be seen as corruption. It just shows parents’ appreciation for someone who has worked very hard throughout the year.

  8. Maxine jorgensen  

    Get a grip people If I want to give my child’s teacher or anyone else a gift I damn well will. Get your grubby noses out of my life. Garbage!

  9. purple  

    Obviously Frederick has never had a teacher in his family. The impression that they have short work days is so out of touch that it is laughable especially for primary school teachers. They work many hours above the face to face hours the public see preparing lesions, marking papers, writing reports for parents, coaching sport teams and the list goes on. And they also put special effort in to try and find ways to help those behind. The workload on these teachers is unbelievable and if we want to show thanks with a small thank you gift it just lets them know you appreciate all of that effort the new you should. I’m sure there are guidelines in place to deal with any large gift as there is in most government departments..

  10. Doreen  

    Of course there need to be guidelines about gifts. The same rules apply to other civil servants and to politicians. It’s just common sense. As someone whose parents were teachers & siblings who are teachers, I can tell you that no self-respecting teacher would want to accept large monetary or expensive gifts.
    Teachers are not the best paid professionals, but they don’t need ”tips”. Giving a heartfelt thanks & symbolic gift to the teacher after a year of the teacher’s contribution to a child’s education, is a lovely gesture, but that’s all it needs to be – a gesture. Crochet a hand towel, or make a drawing, or frame some photos of a class outing, or buy something simple if no time or inclination for making… these are gifts from the heart, and that’s all that’s needed. Imagine if some teachers had big spenders in the class and some didn’t… a school is like a family and fairness and equity is important.
    Let the stingy government pay its teachers what they’re really worth. Gifts are not the appropriate way to make up for poor working conditions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *