Separating a Raise and a Holiday Gift: Why it’s Important

In the spirit of our previous dialogue, “Expressing Gratitude to Your Nanny: Thoughtful Gifts and Bonuses,” we now approach a particularly relevant topic as the holiday season approaches. Many families wonder whether a raise for their nanny is a fitting holiday gesture. Our advice tends to lean towards ‘no,’ advocating for a clear distinction between a thoughtful holiday gift and a professional raise.

A holiday gift is an expression of warmth, a personal acknowledgment of the laughter, care, and love your nanny brings to your home. It’s a gesture that says, “We see you, we appreciate you,” reflecting your family’s personal bond with your nanny.

Conversely, a raise is a professional recognition, signifying trust, respect, and appreciation for your nanny’s professional growth and invaluable contributions to your family. It’s more than just a pay increase; it’s a commitment to their ongoing role in your family’s life.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the delicate balance between professional appreciation and personal gratitude. We aim to provide guidance on navigating this conversation, ensuring that your nanny feels valued in every aspect of their role – as both a professional and a cherished member of your household.

Understanding the Difference 

Raises: A Professional Acknowledgment

A raise should not be mistaken for a gift. It is a recognition of your nanny’s professional growth, skills, and valuable contribution to your family. Reflecting on their performance and dedication over time, a raise:

  • Symbolizes trust, respect, and professional growth nurtured over time.
  • Aligns with the nanny’s experience, performance, and tenure.
  • Represents a formal, contractual enhancement in compensation, reflecting their integral role in your household.

In essence, a raise is a long-term commitment and an investment in the nanny’s ongoing role within your family, far beyond a mere increase in salary.

Example: Consider ‘Sarah’, who decided to give her nanny, Maria, a raise after a year of exceptional service, recognizing her increased responsibilities and dedication.

Holiday Gifts: Personal Tokens of Appreciation

In contrast to a raise, holiday gifts are personal expressions of gratitude. They serve a different yet equally important role:

  • Holiday gifts acknowledge the special, personal relationship between your family and the nanny.
  • They are flexible and varied, reflecting personal recognition for the nanny’s presence and impact on your family’s life beyond their professional duties.
  • Gifts can range from monetary bonuses to personalized items, showcasing your family’s unique appreciation for the nanny.  You may refer back to our blog post, Expressing Gratitude.

These gifts are a warm embrace in the form of a gesture, expressing sentiments like, “We see you, we appreciate you.”

The Importance of Maintaining Clarity and Boundaries

It’s important for families to clearly distinguish between a reward for job performance (a raise) and a gesture of personal appreciation (a holiday gift). This distinction:

  • Helps maintain professional boundaries and sets appropriate expectations in the employment relationship.
  • Ensures that nannies feel valued both as professionals and as individuals.
  • Prevents confusion over compensation and appreciation.

Our Advice to Families

Regularly review and adjust your nanny’s compensation in line with their professional development. During holidays, focus on thoughtful gifts that celebrate your unique relationship.


This conversation is essential for maintaining a respectful, clear, and mutually satisfying relationship with your nanny. By understanding and respecting the difference between a professional raise and a personal holiday gift, families can ensure that their appreciation is appropriately conveyed in both realms. Join us as we continue to explore this important aspect of nanny care, aiming to foster relationships that are as rewarding as they are respectful.

Happy Holidays!

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