Unless you are a 4 year old, most folks don't dream of driving a bus when they grow up. If they do, it's in the realm of being an astronaut, a garbage collector and a fish. It's not any one's idea of a great job. It may be a functional job, a paying job, a flexible job but for the most part, unless there is an alternate universe, bus driving is not a great job.
When Genea started school, we were lucky to get a lovely driver for her. A nice, pleasant woman who smiled and said things like "have a good night" when Genea would get down. I was excited when Teena got her bus this year. Teena has a different morning driver and she is lovely and pleasant as well. That has been great because if I had to drive a bus to support our family, well I'd probably get fired right quick. My attitude would be poor and I would definitely have a sore throat every night from all the yelling.
So I don't expect my kids bus drivers to be nice. They don't even have to be civil. I would not want to sit there and make nicey nice chat with parents dropping their screaming and fighting child off if it were me. I sort of expect them to be crabby and pissy really. But I always smile at the driver and say thank you anyhow. I figure if nothing else at least I am not being rude and making their day worse.
However, Genea's afternoon driver is just nasty. Let's call her Cruella. She is rude and horrible. She glares and deliberately avoids eye contact. She refuses to answer anything I say and pretends she can't hear me. And that's cool I guess. No one has to be my friend. I am not for everyone, this is true. But dammit, I don't want to have to give her a gift for the holidays. That's right, I don't want to! And I am seriously considering not doing it.
When Genea started school we had only had her for a year we were not prepared for all the school things we would have coming at us. Of the many things I hadn't really thought of, teacher and bus driver holiday gifts were on the list. Needless to say, going from a 2 income 1 child family to a 1 income 2 child family did not earn us extra columns in the bank account. Or anywhere. So $20 to $50 worth of stuff for 2 teachers and a bus driver was unplanned. I also knew though, that teachers just don't want reams of crap. They don't want or need any more junk with apples on it. Same for greatest teacher junk, and #1 educator junk. Since I didn't know any of them personally, I didn't know if someone had a pink bathroom they needed a little statue for, or a set of white towels. Does the teacher like Jean Nate perfume? Don't know. If you give a gift card then everyone knows either a. you are nice or b. you are cheap. I was going to be b.
So last year, for Genea's teachers and lovely bus driver, I had Genea make each of them a card in her best handwriting. I had to write everything out ahead of time and she copied the letters, mostly in the correct order. She decorated with glitter and crayons. Then I made soaps for them. I felt weird about sending crappy homemade stuff (and it was not actually any cheaper to do it that way in the end), but I thought if it were me, I would think that was nice. Everyone uses soap right? Even if you don't want it, it's an easy re-gift and you can take the credit yourself. Plus since I don't do greeting cards, everyone gets a kid-made card no matter what.
It is that time again, only now I have 3 teachers and 3 bus drivers! I am thinking I will make soaps again since I have all the stuff. If I add in $10 Starbucks cards, that will be $60, or $50 if I decide to cut Cruella out (oooh, I can drink the extra myself, mmm). What do you do? Do you make some beautiful thing that involves proficiency in 5 different craft areas? Do you take a chance and buy a real gift? Gift cards? Homemade stuff? And for teachers out there, tell the truth, what did you like and appreciate and what made you think, oh crap now I have to have this thing on my desk....