If you are lucky enough to have a special mentor or teacher in your life who goes the extra mile for you, then you know the gifts that person has already given to you. If you are inclined to give a tangible gift in return, it can be difficult to know what to choose; the relationship between student and teacher, mentee and mentor is a rather formal one. You should not give an extravagant or personal gift, such as jewellery or clothing. A present that is meaningful or practical is a much better choice.
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Your teacher or mentor has worked hard to help you; give him the gift of entertainment with a pair of tickets to a movie, concert or play you think he would enjoy. It's especially suitable if the subject of the performance relates somehow to the topic you've been studying together. Give the tickets with a “theatre-sized” box of candy for an extra treat.
Give a book that relates to the subject you've been discussing or one written by an author you know your mentor or teacher admires. The book doesn't need to be new. In fact, for a collector to receive a long out-of-print volume is far more exciting than getting the latest best seller. Personalise your gift with a short inscription on the flyleaf expressing your gratitude for all you have learnt.
Most teachers and mentors seem to be fuelled by coffee or tea, so take advantage of this fact. Select a china teacup and saucer, a ceramic coffee cup or an insulated travel mug in her favourite colour. You could even make the mug yourself at a do-it-yourself ceramics shop and inscribe it with the recipient's name. Add a box of her favourite tea, some freshly ground beans or a gift card from the corner coffee shop.
Whether it's a box of smoked salmon or a plate of homemade cookies, there is a gift to appeal to every palate. For a birthday gift, bake a small cake or stick a candle into a cupcake. Fudge and straight-from-the-kitchen candies are delicious, inexpensive and always appreciated.
For some mentors and teachers, the ultimate gift is that of seeing increased understanding and proficiency in their student. Write a sincere letter to yours, thanking him specifically for the time he has put into your education and the lessons he has taught you. If you like, include a photograph of the two of you in a simple frame so that he will have a lasting memento of the time you spent together.
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