Christmas Gift Ideas: From Au Pair to Host Family

by cv harquail on December 1, 2011

It’s time for little elves to get busy, making things to capture memories.

Writes an LCC —

I’m a counselor for a small group of au pairs and at our last meeting the question about Christmas gifts for host parents came up. They all want to give something meaningful, they understand that in most cases the host parents could easily buy themselves whatever they want. They know that most families would appreciate home-made thoughtful gifts, ideally something that involves their kids. I suggested a photo collage and some of the girls said that they were planning to make such a collage at the end of their year. I was wondering if you readers might be willing to share some gifts that they have received and appreciated from their au pairs.

Just thinking about the gifts I’ve received over the years makes me want to cry. (In a good way.)

I can never forget the Santa Lucia day breakfast, the daily devotional reader, the jewelry box, or the Hello Kitty toiletries travel set, not to mention the wreath made of cutouts of my girls’ handprints.hello kitty parking quarters.jpg

The gifts that I cherish the most have either one or both of these qualities:

  • They help me remember joyous or otherwise special times with the kids and with our au pair, or
  • They show that our au pair was actually thinking of me as a person (a mom, a reader, a person with never too many sparkly pins, a person who loves Sweden)

Other gifts that I’ve loved have been little things that told me my au pair noticed what I needed and found little ways to add to the smoothness of daily life. For example, I got a Hello Kitty change purse to keep in the console of our station wagon, filled with quarters to use at the parking meters in town. Now, every time I refill it or take out a quarter for the meter, I thank the au pair who thought of this!

Host Moms, what kinds of gifts from an au pair would make you super-happy?

Share your comments, below. And, if you have any photos of such gifts, email them to me at and I’ll post them for everyone to enjoy.


HM NJ December 10, 2011 at 12:34 pm

One of my aupair gave us travel mugs with a collage kids pictures. These picture were taken while she was in charge of them so gave us a different view into our kids life.

Willian December 14, 2011 at 1:02 pm

More ideas, PLEASE! :)

ray December 22, 2011 at 5:37 pm

I submitted a question, but I’m answering it myself.
I am about to start as an au pair. I have been invited to spend Christmas with my new host family, before my arrival. (Backstory: I’m American, I’ve been living in France for 3 months and found a family here in need of an au pair. I’ll be moving in with them at the end of the month, but before that, I’ve been invited to celebrate Christmas with the extended family!) I am bringing a Christmas gift for the grandmother (whose home I’m staying in for Christmas), as a sort of thank-you-for-inviting-me-I-appreciate-your-welcome gift. I thought long and hard about it: I thought maybe to bring something from the Christmas market here in town but wanted something more unique; I thought about making a pumpkin pie (traditional American, the French think it’s weird!), but it’s difficult to transport. I finally decided on a gift: I made crème de marron (essentially, sweet chestnut jam). Very simple, traditionally seasonally French, travels well, and still something homemade- that’s what I wanted most. My advice: make something, don’t buy something.

JJ Host Mom January 1, 2012 at 11:01 pm

This year I got two of the best presents ever: one from our previous au pair and one from our current au pair.

Our previous au pair took a video of herself reading books to the kids, and then sent a box with the videos and the books. It was such a great gift. They can read along with her, and the videos help them remember her. Plus the books and video are in French (her native language and our kids’ second language) so it helps with their language skills.

Our current au pair put together a montage of photos of the kids, us, and her into a video. She then video’d some of our friends wishing us Merry Christmas and put those at the end. It was so nice – it made me cry (in a good way!)

Those were my favorite gifts this year. The kids really loved them too and we’ll treasure them always.

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