Last year one of our most active and committed community members “Taking a Computer Lunch“, casually mentioned something that she does for all of her au pairs shortly before they depart. She gives them the gift of “The Box“.
What is “The Box”?
We give our APs the biggest box their home countries permit, either for their birthdays or as a good-bye present, intending for them to fill it with the belongings that they want, but won’t shed tears if it doesn’t actually get to its destination.
Why is The Box such a great gift?
- Airlines have luggage weight regulations.
- Airlines charge horrific amounts for overweight extra luggage.
- Au Pairs like to buy souvenirs for their families at home.
- Au Pairs accumulate lots of their own souvenir treasures (like our au pair who made 6 full size scrapbooks while here… and then wondered how to get them home).
- Au Pairs buy a lot of stuff (shoes, books, clothing, shoes, clothing)
- Au Pairs often have full suitcases when they first arrive, so they have nowhere to put the new stuff.
- Host Parents can and will hand down, donate and recycle leftover stuff… but would rather not.
What will The Box cost you?
It generally costs me $150 or so to send it airmail and insured for the amount of the postage fees, so it’s a generous gift. Most of my APs don’t realize the full value of the gift until a) they pack and b) they see how much the postage cost when they get home.
Depending on whether or not you help your au pair pack the box, and if you take it to the UPS/PostOffice place yourself, you might tuck a little extra ‘something’ inside The Box... maybe some photos, some candy (something light weight) as one more token of your affection.
You can also decorate The Box-– or have your kids do it– so that it is especially cute when it shows up back home.
Now, of course, we love the concept of “The Box” — but it’s the 2nd best Goodbye Gift.
What is the 1st Best Goodbye gift?
Memories of a wonderful year.
Many thanks to “Taking a Computer Lunch” for this great idea and all the many other tips she’s shared with us on AuPairMom!!!