Mentoring and the Holidays
November 1, 2022

The holidays are just around the corner, and it is the time of year mentors ask “May I 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.  Accordingly, if you would like to give, we encourage you to consider something that is relationship focused and costs no more than $20.00.  

We hope that you will keep in mind, as you decide, that your mentee may not know how to respond to your gift in a way that conveys their appreciation, and the mentee gets to choose what to do with it.  Maybe your mentee doesn’t use the gift as intended or it becomes lost or broken?  Mentors must not let negative feelings cloud the relationship and harm other parts of the mentoring experience. 

Finally, in considering a gift, it is important to know your mentee’s family practices. Some households may not celebrate the holidays we hold dear. This reality might be due to religious practice, financial distress or family strife. The safest and most effective open-ended questions on this topic are: “What do you think you’ll do during the break from school?” or “What are you looking forward to during the break from school?” Your mentee’s choice to share about holiday traditions or memories (happy OR sad) can be a springboard for rich conversation. As always, we let the mentee take the lead and if you need any support your Mentor Director is here for you.  

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
  • Legos
  • 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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