Unless of course the giftee is watching their weight, has a gluten intolerance, or is allergic to food preservatives … An expensive, permanent gift may be more of a burden than a pleasure.First there is the question of taste, as illustrated in this clip from the Big Bang Theory where Amy gives Penny a huge painting for teaching her how to be ‘cool’: The rest of the episode revolves around Penny hiding her horrified reaction to the ugly painting and her efforts to avoid hanging it in her house, but in such a way that she wont hurt Amy’s feelings.

Some explained that in their culture it was not the done thing to give a gift to a teacher (make note all you students in Sweden).

Some people were not sure they wanted to give their supervisor a gift because the relationship was strained.

So I thought I would just tell you about the four types of responses I got and leave it up to you to decide what to do!

Nothing I’ll admit I was surprised when some people questioned the idea of buying a present at all.

Last year at this time I did a post on what to buy a Ph D student for Christmas, so I thought I’d continue the tradition this year with one on gifts for supervisors.

When I asked on Twitter what people were buying their Ph D supervisor I was surprised by the range of different responses.

Finally: just because certain behaviour is considered ‘normal’ doesn’t mean you have to normal.

As I highlighted in my story, experiencing the gift giving norms of another culture can be delightful.

I find the holidays a surprisingly good time to do this kind of work.

I can whip through a whole draft in a couple of afternoons, sitting by the pool watching Thesis Whisperer Jnr swim, but find it stressful to do this kind of thing during the year, when I come home from work tired.

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