Searching for the perfect holiday gift to surprise your au pair?
For many holidays, gift-giving is a way to show love and appreciation. Including your au pair in this and other family traditions, such as hanging personalized stockings or lighting Hanukkah candles, can help welcome them into your home.
We asked host parents to share their top gift ideas for au pairs this holiday season. Here are some of our favorites to help you get inspired:
1. Personalized gifts with kids’ photos
Wish your au pair memories could last forever? With pictures, they can. The Chicago family says, “Some stores have blank snow globes where you could slip in two pictures—one on each side—so for a Christmas gift, I slipped in a picture of our house decorated for the holidays (of the outside, complete with the fallen snow and bows and lights), and a picture of the kids on the other side. [Our au pair] loved this (snow globes seemed all the rage with her and the other au pairs—they don’t have many of these in Bolivia I guess).” Other ideas include a digital photo album or a framed photo.
2. Tickets to a local game or show
Many au pairs want to experience local culture, but they might not know the best attractions in your area. Buying them two tickets (one for them and one for a friend) will help them explore. As one host mom shared, “We live in the NYC area, so we always splurge and give our au pairs two tickets to a Broadway show. Everybody loves this. I got this idea from a very experienced host mother with whom I work.”
3. Gift cards
For a flexible and fool-proof present, gift cards offer au pairs the opportunity to do some shopping. “I either give a spa gift certificate or an Amazon gift card,” writes veteran host mom Annette. A coffee shop or their favorite clothing store are also good bets.
Does your au pair enjoy fashion? Jewelry can be a great way to enhance their style. While jewelry preferences vary, simple, timeless pieces are a good bet. You can also get them something unique at a local artisan market so they’ll carry a bit of culture with them always.
5. Popular book series
Introduce your au pair to a new book series this year! Traditionally, au pairs have appreciated young adult books to help them improve their English all while enjoying a great story. Check out the latest YA novels at your local book store or online.
6. Warm winter gear
Oftentimes, au pairs who live with host families in cold climates haven’t brought the proper gear to keep them warm. Jenny Berryman Horne, a host mom from MA, says, “We gave our au pair gloves and a scarf last year since she was from a warm country and needed them. We may do this again, too, as a stocking stuffer.” Ines Cortes, another host mom in MA, shares, “Our gift to her will be something she has wanted but found too expensive: a down winter coat. She suffered a bit last winter, and knowing our son Julian, she will be outside quite a bit and needs to be warm.”
7. Slippers or pajamas
Since sizing and taste are more forgiving when it comes to sleepwear, it’s often a safe clothing gift for au pairs. Host mom Susan Robinson agrees: “Anyone can use another pair of pjs!”
8. An extra suitcase
If you’re after a gift that your au pair will definitely use, a suitcase or duffle is a great bet. Besides, chances are they’ll need more luggage to travel back home at the end of the year! Target, TJ Maxx, and Marshalls have high-quality and inexpensive options.
9. Swag from the Cultural Care shop
With gifts from mugs to hats to teddy bears, the Cultural Care shop has so many fun options to choose from—all with our signature pink logo. Not only will you be giving your au pair something they can use or wear with pride, but 10% of every purchase is donated to the Kids First Foundation.
10. Travel guides
Is your au pair planning a trip somewhere fun? A travel guidebook can help them prepare. Samantha Janney, a host mom and Cultural Care staff member, says, ”We have typically given our au pairs a guide book for a trip they’re planning and they love it.”