I am one of those weirdo teachers that doesn't believe in giving gifts to teachers! I know it sounds weird, but imagine giving a gift to policeman who patrols your neighborhood, or the firemen at the station?
Gift giving is very thoughtful, but it highlights the difference between the families, those that can afford to give and those that can't. Many districts and private schools have taken to actually banning gift giving, or putting a monetary limit on how much is given.
I have a very good friend who receives so many expensive gifts each year I can count on her to GIVE me a $300 Hermes scarf at christmas. I now have two of those AND the $800 Hermes Shawl. I know that sounds rediculous to those of you who are giving a $10 or $20 gift, but its all relative.
I especially don't like how at our school the parents (I am both a teacher AND a parent) are made to feel it is mandatory to give gifts. Room mothers run around in groups "collecting" for class gifts and what not. It's like being cornered by Carmella Soprano.