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Holiday Shopping for the Family's Au Pair

Best Christmas Shopping Tips For Your Au Pair

by Talya Shoup Burnett

As we approach Christmas, host parents, especially those who are busy and put off their shopping to the last minute, may be still trying to decide what to get their au pairs for Christmas this year. Host families will definitely want to treat their au pair as part of the family and give them something nice, but the question is what to give exactly?

Having been an au pair myself, I can say that if host parents put a little thought into what they give their au pairs, they will not likely go wrong. I may have just been lucky, but the family I worked for was extremely generous. When I first arrived at their home, there were two local area events magazines and a nice big collection of chocolate awaiting me! They also celebrated my birthday by throwing a party and giving me a train ticket to Paris, as they know that was where I wanted to travel. Then for Christmas, I received two tickets to a world famous Christmas circus that year, and an au pair friend and I treated us to a night of enjoyment watching world-class performers.

So when considering what to get your au pair for Christmas (or birthday, for that matter), start with what you know she is interested in. My host family knew that I was making plans to meet with friends in Paris, so their giving me a train ticket to get there and back was perfect. It saved me the travel expense and showed how considerate they were in that they got me something I would love and use.

Depending on your financial situation as a family, buying a plane or train ticket to your au pair’s next travel destination may not be possible, but don’t let this hold you back. If you know she has plans to travel somewhere specific, consider buying her a gift certificate for a restaurant in the area where she will be. Special event tickets (to a concert, the theater, etc.) are also an excellent choice. If you know that a band she loves will be coming to town, surprise her with a ticket for her and a friend. These are very personal, meaningful gifts that she will likely love.

If you are not sure what your au pair likes, or if she perhaps does not have many hobbies, then consider a gift from your local area. Whatever your region is known for, be it a food, a type of art, or something else; let your gift giving be local. Gift cards to local shops would be well accepted, and au pairs living off their monthly stipend would greatly appreciate the chance to shop without having to spend their own hard earned cash. Unless your au pair is extremely picky or somehow independently wealthy, she will likely enjoy any of the ideas mentioned here. And if not, well, you can always try them out again on your family’s next au pair!


Read about Ms. Burnett's adventures as an au pair in Germany!

Talya Shoup Burnett is a former au pair, American mom and author of  Best Au Pair Guide

Read Talya's Bio

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