My parents were and are both teachers. There are teachers through my entire extended family. In fact, of all my aunts and uncles, there is only one who is not a teacher.
One of my strongest memories of school finishing for the Christmas/summer break was the amount of chocolate and sweet treats that my parents brought home, having received gift after gift from students and colleagues. To the young me, it was really like all my Christmases had come at once. But to my Mum and Dad, the sheer volume of the food was always a bit of a horror and some effort was required to redistribute the joy.
A couple of years ago, when my older kids had started school, I had a discussion with my Mum about gifts for the teachers. I was totally against giving them boxes of chocolates, having recalled my parents’ experiences. I thought I’d buy lovely Christmas decorations as gifts. Mum told me that if someone had done that for her, she would have delighted in the gift. Sold. Thanks for that, Mum. The Christmas decorations (usually in the user-friendly colours of silver and gold) are now part of my gift-giving regime for our teachers.
But I also love the idea of a food gift. It’s Christmas, after all, and I do spend much of my time making preserves, so these days I team up the decorations with a jar or two of whatever I’ve had on the boil at the time.
This year, I gave away jars of Katie Quinn Davies’ lovely preserves: apple, cranberry and orange chutney and the fruit mince from her mini mince pie recipe. I also gave away onion marmalade, made from Sally Wise’s wonderful preserves cookbook, A year in a bottle. All gluten-free, all delicious recipes. For some, I also threw in a jar of tomato relish, a cracking gluten-filled recipe from my friend Katrina at booksaremyfavouriteandbest who today has also posted her take on the all-important school teacher gift. Click here to read that post.
If you have noted in the picture above that I package my preserves with brown paper, you may be interested in Chef Janet Rorschach’s new blog, An artist creates, the first post of which shows you how to beautifully wrap Christmas presents using brown paper.
Making preserves as gifts does require some advance planning, but they are always well-received. If you’ve missed the boat on teacher gifts for this year, you still have time to whip up a few things for Christmas day, or you can even file away the recipes above for next year. Now that’s being organised!