Here is a list of Christmas gifts that would be very appreciated by your staff. This list is mostly comprised of things that cost you little more than effort to get it organized.
1. TimeEvery teacher needs more time to get their job done so give them an extra conference. Make a schedule where the kids can be covered by a movie reward during their PE or fine art time plus the block of time after or before. Pulling all kids to the same venue and reward gives you lots of flexibility to let teachers have 2 planning periods. You may have to deviate from your traditional schedule and use every personnel unit to cover kids, but this gift is worth it.
2. RelaxationLots of massage therapy or cosmetology schools require students to practice their craft FREE OF CHARGE. Why not let them practice on your staff for free? Set up your teacher workroom with these people and have a schedule to let your staff sign up to come through for a free massage, manicure, or pedicure.
3. VendorsLots of vendors push their products by having parties that are free. The vendors make their money by what they sell at the party. Again, allowing teachers to come by throughout the day is no charge to you and helps them with their Christmas shopping. You can also include your staff who sell products as a part time job.
4. Christmas WrappingSchools have volunteers that want to help out. Create a schedule for teachers to bring their Christmas presents to school. They will need to provide the following: wrapping paper, tape, and labels filled out on each present. The volunteers can do the rest. That is a huge time saver for teachers, and they will be very thankful for this gift.
5. Jeans for the Last WeekNeed I say more.
6. Chili Cook-OffThis is a great competition where grades or departments can compete to have the best chili, most creative theme, or whatever award you want to give. You can provide all the fixins, and the staff can celebrate the fellowship of getting together over a warm bowl of chili. This is a great culture-builder.
7. Personalized Card from YouWho doesn't appreciate a card from the principal? There are lots of way to make a card with MS Word. With a large staff, you can make a spreadsheet of personalized items and messages and do a mail merge to make your cards. Be sure to fold your cards using a spoon to make to folds sharp. People notice that.
8. AffirmationTeachers are often unsure what you think of their work. When the opportunity presents itself, affirm teachers individually, and let them know specifically what they are doing great. It will pay you back ten-fold.
9. Pinterest10,000 gift ideas to let your teachers know they are great!!!
10. Hot ChocolateOn a cold Monday morning, a warm cup of hot chocolate starts the week off on a positive note.
11. Let the Kids Cook for the TeachersFor high school campuses, have your culinary arts class cook for the staff. The kids love to get involved thanking the teachers. This is a great gift that fills the belly and warms the heart. Of course, follow your board policy to make sure you are in compliance financially.
12. Campus PartyNothing builds culture better than a campus Christmas party. Whether it is on campus or off, after school or at night, this is a great time to celebrate the successful end to 2012.
January will be here before we know it. The stress will be back, and uncertainty and fear of failure will settle in on every campus in America. How will you be prepared to address it? The best way to address a problem is to be preventive rather than reactive. Use your Christmas time to build your staff confidence, and let them know they are appreciated. They will leave 2012 knowing that their leader values them, and they will return in January ready for a positive and productive 2013.