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No-Fail Gift Ideas
A present is a good alternative to a holiday bonus if you'd rather not give cash. If your sitter is part-time, a gift can be a fine alternative to a bonus if it's thoughtful and well-planned. Polls through Sittercity.com indicate that the top four sitter gifts after money bonuses are (in this order) mall and movie gift cards, bath and body treats, gourmet food treats and clothing. These are easy to buy and don't require a lot of hunting and gathering on your part. Unless your sitter has clearly indicated that a specific gift would be exciting, it's wise to stick to these tried-and-true categories.
When gift giving, be realistic. A finger-painted tree from your son or daughter might warm your heart more than anything in the world, but your sitter might not see the same value in a child-created present. While he or she might truly appreciate getting a gift from your child, make sure to pair it with something that the sitter can actually use for her own personal enjoyment, or your gift will seem cheap. A gift certificate and a handmade ornament is a great example of a gift combo that your sitter will like.
If your sitter is long-term or a nanny, pair a gift with a bonus if you find that a bonus alone is too hard to give. Long-term sitters are often not able to make as much money with other jobs on the side, and therefore will appreciate whatever additional cash you can give.