Hi! Abbie and Maddie here. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or anything else, December is a time for holidays and gifts.

It’s hard enough to buy for in-laws and your kids’ teachers, you also want to get a really nice gift for your au pair. But what to get? We have some ideas for you here and on our Pinterest board.

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Are “things” a good gift for au pairs? Maybe

Remember your au pair is only here for a year (or hopefully two years). But then will have to shove everything back into a suitcase or find a way to send it back to their home country.

Holidays with Au pair D and Bro Pair TIf you are going to buy a major thing as the only present, make sure it’s special, useful or something she/he needs but wouldn’t buy themselves. For example, photo gifts or customized jewelry to remember the time with your family. He/she may need a new coat or a good sturdy pair of winter boots. Or another camera lens if interested into photography. (Those can be pretty expensive for an au pair!)

Don’t buy something that belongs with the house like an electric blanket. Although it’s thoughtful if he/she’s constantly cold, it makes a bad gift because it’s not theirs to keep. Similarly, think twice before buying something like a subscription to a meal service. It’s like a husband buying his wife a vacuum cleaner.

If you are considering a gift card, experience, or digital item then add it to a small package to open around the tree. Check out Amazon or Etsy, they have an interesting selection of gifts for au pairs and bro pairs. Some ideas include:

  • A warm scarf or fuzzy socks.
  • A nice framed picture with your family.
  • Local swag like a coffee cup or ornament.
  • Sweets or other consumables.

Should I give my au pair a gift card? Maybe

If your au pair loves going out to eat consider a gift card to a local restaurant to enjoy with her/his friends. Does your au pair love coffee? Consider a gift card to Starbucks or another local coffee shop.

If your au pair loves shopping, they might enjoy a gift certificate to a clothing store or the mall. Even though your au pair will likely have to sell or give away the clothes, he/she will enjoy them while here.

If your au pair prefers to shop on line consider a gift card to Amazon or their favorite online store.

If you are leaning towards a gift card remember that your au pair will only be in the US for a short time. It is best to pick a gift card that they will want to use right away so they remember to use it before they head home. If you’re not sure where your au pair will want to spend it, then consider a visa gift card (or cash) instead.

Will my au pair like an experience instead of a gift? Yes

A common reason people become an au pair is to travel (and improve their English). Gifting an experience is a great way to help them towards their travel dreams.

Abbie has contributed toAu Pair I in the snow

  • A portion of a New Year’s trip to New Orleans (from Seattle).
  • An REI photography trip photographing Mount Rainier in the snow.
  • Tickets to a medieval banquet near where we live.

Maddie has contributed to

  • Concert tickets.
  • A foodie tour and paddle boarding in Hawaii.
  • Sporting events like the Seahawks and Mariners.

Other ideas include theater tickets or admission to local attractions. For us, it would be a ride to the top of the Space Needle (not necessarily cheap).

She might also appreciate a day at a spa, or something else she otherwise wouldn’t do for herself.

Are consumables a good holiday gift for au pairs? Yes

Most consumables are somewhat small and make great stocking stuffers.

Are there “things” you can get for your au pair that don’t involve loading her down with stuff she/he can’t pack home at the end of the au pair year? Are there things they use and need to replace? Maybe your au pair has a passion for art and could use a new sketchpad and a nice set of charcoal pencils. Maybe they need a new backpack or a new suitcase.

And don’t forget about sweets. American chocolate may not be as good as European chocolate, but by golly, we have Oreos!


Would my au pair appreciate a digital gift? Yes

Another set of “things” that don’t take up space are digital or online services.

Perhaps your au pair is studying photography and would love a year’s subscription to Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom.

Or they are constantly buying music and would appreciate iTunes or Amazon gift money. Your au pair probably shares your family plan of Netflix or Spotify, but maybe you could give money on Audible or another e-book service.

Does she/he play online or mobile games? You can give credits to use on the platform they prefer: Google Pay, Apple Pay, V-bucks (for Fortnite), Xbox Live Credit, Amazon Coins, to name a few.

If you need more ideas…

We’ve rounded up some other blog posts to help inspire you this holiday season:

Have another great gift idea?

What have you given your au pair for the holidays? Did they love it? Share your great ideas below in the comments or in the in the My Au Pair and Me Host Family Community on Facebook. It’s nice to talk to other host families and share your experiences!

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