I swear the end of the school year is becoming as busy as Christmas, particularly if you have children changing schools.
It is also starting to get costly with all the new uniform you have to buy NOW unless you want the shelves to be empty when you go shopping near the end of the summer holidays.
Added to that is the well deserved teachers' presents and it's enough to make a parent take to the hammock with a bottle of Pims and refuse to move until at least October.
Teachers' presents are a new invention, I think. I certainly never remember giving mine gifts when little, but I could have just been ungrateful.
In order to minimise stress and expense I've been thinking about presents that are thoughtful but don't cost the earth. There's not a soap or a candle among them.* Flowers: If you are even slightly green fingered you may be inundated with sweet peas, sunflowers or roses right now. If you're not file this one away for next year. It does take some forward planning but there is nothing sweeter, literally, than a child clutching a bunch of flowers picked from the garden.
* A Plant: Not to worry if you haven't any flowers at home to pick, a trip to the garden centre will turn up a herb like basil, mint or thyme cheaply which just leaves your little one to decorate the pot with pictures, ribbons or glitter. Any plant in a pot would do, but herbs are so useful and some can be put in the garden, where they will continue growing each year.
* Homemade food and drink: I asked a teacher friend of mine and she said she'd be delighted to receive wine. This doesn't have to be bought from the supermarket but can be homemade (again, needs some forward planning). Elderflower cordial and champagne is a wonderful gift or how about some homemade peppermint creams or coconut ice which children seem to delight in making.
* Pictures: I know children finish school clutching reams of paper and art, and therefore teachers might not want some of it back, but this one is a little different. I think a picture of a special memory your child has of their teacher who may have brought her pet cat in to show them, sung in the show or was pelted with wet sponges at the fair is a wonderful thing for them to receive. If your child is a prolific artist, they can even make a book of memories.
* A bag of treats: Not quite so homemade but thoughtful just the same, mine like making up a little bag of treats. Special biscuits, hot chocolate sachets and some chocolate shavings go into a cellophane bag (we get ours from Lakeland) and tied with a pretty ribbon. Or perhaps some seeds and a few plant labels, or a pretty notebook and pen. Think little and not expensive.
* Something for their desk: A large, smooth stone, painted with acrylic paints, is a simple but lovely gift for their teacher. The paperweight be decorated with a picture or the child could write "Thank you for....." adding whatever it is they're grateful for and. Or a glass jar, decorated with glass paints, cut out pictures or feathers and pom-poms with a pen or two would also be useful (and would save the teacher having to find space for it at home).
Remember, it really is the thought that counts so don't feel you have to spend a lot or, heaven forbid, those special "I love you teacher" mugs and candles in the shops now. Do you have any inexpensive or homemade ideas for presents? Or are you a teacher who's been delighted with something a pupil made?