If you are in doubt, maybe just write them a Christmas card. Are you studying in another country and therefore living in a different ‘gift culture’ than you are used to?

What do you think is the appropriate gift giving etiquette for the supervisor student relationship?

My student told me that, in his culture, it was a sign of respect for your teacher if you give them a ‘permanent’ kind of present.

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

Others thought that giving a gift to a person who is doing their job is not appropriate in any circumstances.

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

Some people had no idea what to buy and expressed interest in such a post because the etiquette for this situation is so opaque.

If you feel this way you might consider a homemade, edible present which demonstrates you have taken time and care to make something special.

Christmas is a great time to make edible gifts as there are so many ‘themed’ choices in the tasty treat department.

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Writing A few people told me they were giving their supervisor a conference paper or overdue chapter draft to read for Christmas. There is not a Christmas that goes by that I am not reading a thesis draft from a student or a friend (I’m looking at you Jason Downs).

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

Have a look at this post on Christmas baking for some ideas.