Mentoring and the Holidays
November 1, 2022
Seedling

The holidays are just around the corner, and mentors often ask, “ Is it ok to give my mentee a holiday gift?” Please know that Seedling believes you are the gift, along with the time and undivided attention you bestow on your mentee each week.  Still, while giving a gift is not a mentoring expectation, we also know that this gesture is a coveted holiday tradition for many of us.  If you would like to give, we encourage you to consider something that is pertinent to your relationship and less than $20.00. 

There are a few important things to consider when deciding whether or not you feel comfortable giving a gift to your mentee. First, some families don’t participate in gift-giving, for reasons ranging from different religious beliefs to financial difficulties. If you feel unsure of your mentee’s practices, you can ask a more general question like “What do you usually do over the winter break?” or “Do you have any family traditions that you’re excited about over break?” Your mentee’s choice to share about holiday traditions or memories (happy OR sad) can be a springboard for rich conversation. As always, let the mentee take the lead and if you need any support your Mentor Director is here for you.

It’s also important to remember that your mentee is still learning social etiquette and the basic dynamics of friendship. They might, for example, not know how to demonstrate gratitude for your gift and lose it, break it, or even give it away. Your mentee is just like any other kid  learning responsibility and thoughtfulness, and will likely hit some bumps along the way. As the mentor, we must remember to extend patience and grace to our mentees while they hone these life skills. 

Still feeling strongly about giving a gift to your mentee?  We have put together a list of low or no cost ideas that can be tailored to reflect the special nuances of your individual mentoring relationship.

  • Puzzles
  • Board games
  • Mechanical pencils
  • Gel pens
  • Something knitted or crocheted together
  • A small plant in a pot you decorate together
  • An “I appreciate you because” jar – fill a nice jar with slips of different colored paper, each with a reason of appreciation
  • Peruse the on-line school store for reasonably priced items with school logo like t-shirts, pencils, caps or the like
  • Sports balls
  • Hula Hoop
  • Frisbees
  • Nail polish
  • Lip balm
  • Fun socks
  • Coloring books
  • Books (with or without a personalized inscription)
  • A journal
  • A craft you can work on together
  • Do-it-yourself frame with a picture of the two of you
  • Make a card or piece of art to give
  • Crayons, pencils, or markers and sketch pad
  • Drawing pencils or special paper
  • A blank recipe book with some of your favorite recipes
  • A letter, hand-written on nice paper from you, with heartfelt reasons you appreciate the other person
  • Good homemade bread or muffins
  • Once or twice a year Holiday/Special Occasion food treat or lunch
  • Photo album or scrapbook with memories already included
  • Personalized T-shirt

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