Nanny and Au Pair Gift-Giving Guide

How Much Do You Spend Per Holiday Gift?

Results of Be the Best Nanny Newsletter Holiday Gift-Giving Survey

Buying gifts for the members of your employer’s family can be tricky. Nannies and au pairs typically want to give their employers something lovely and meaningful, but want to keep a reasonable budget.

Peggy Post, the great-grand-daughter-in-law of Emily Post, and today’s leading authority on etiquette says, “Spending more than you should takes the fun out of gift giving. There’s nothing more nerve-racking than overspending — and feeling uneasy about it.”

Plus, if you spend too much on your employers’ gifts it actually may make them (the parents) feel uncomfortable. They want to show how much they care and don’t want to get in a competition with gift-giving.

When choosing gifts for your employers, remember you can never out-do the parents. You don’t make as much money as the parents! A great gift from a nanny or au pair doesn’t have to cost a lot. Thoughtfulness and meaningfulness are what nannies and au pairs should strive for when choosing holiday gifts.

To help nannies and au pairs choose great gifts to the family they work for, we will post the results of the Be the Best Nanny Newsletter holiday gift-giving survey all this week.

If you work as a nanny or au pair do you purchase holiday gifts for the members of your employer’s family?

59% Yes, a gift for each member of the family including the parents.
36% Yes, just for the kids.
3% Yes, one gift for the entire family.
2% Other

If you purchase holiday gifts for the children how much do you spend per gift?

48% Under $30 per gift.
26% I have no budget, I just buy what I think they will love.
20% No more than $50 per gift.
4% No more than $75 per gift.
2% Other. Responses included: $10 or less, $20 or less, and much less than $30 per gift.

Nannies and au pairs, when buying gifts for your employers, how much you spend per gift?


  1. I'm giving both parents one gift certificate to dinner $30 and free babysitting to go to dinner. Kids each max $30 each. I try to buy educational toys.

  2. Marie,I think that is excellent and very generous! When I worked as an au pair I gave the children small gifts for the birthdays and Christmas, and for the parents, who had the means to buy whatever they wanted already, I usually baked something yummy for. This went over well most of the time, as long as the treats weren't way too sweet by European standards!

  3. To respond to Talya, I think nannies might spend more than au pairs because they are typically paid more and are doing this as a career choice and may work for the same family 5+ years. Sometimes au pairs make under $200 per week so any nice gesture should be appreciated. I just think those making more probably spend more. It's nice that you make kids treats. Shows you care. Even taking the time to do projects w/them or taking them roller skating or ice skating make great gifts.I've given my employer's tix to Broadway, Radio City Music Hall, took kids on day trip to snow tubing or skiing because I make a great salary and want to show them I care via my gifts. But, certainly spending a lot isn't nec to show how much you appreciate them.Glad to see from the survey that other nannies are spending something on gifts too.

  4. I've been burned so many times that I hate to give holiday gifts now. I make chocolate covered pretzels and maybe a christmas bread for them and write a nice card.I was spoiled with a great family at my first nanny job who gave me huge bonuses and gifts. So I continued giving great gifts to the families after and it was a mistake. My theory now is if you give a gift for someone give it without expecting a return. The amount of the gift should be based on what you wanted to spend on them not on how much they gave you.

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