November 28th, 2012

Best Christmas Gifts for Teachers 2012

I still remember when I was a kid, how my teacher’s desk would fill up just before the Holiday break every year with presents from us students. Some gifts would be standard—a tin of holiday themed cookies or a gift certificate to Office Depot, while others stood out as unique, made the teacher smile even bigger—even if not on purpose! While in College, I worked in elementary school classrooms tutoring kids and being a teacher’s aid, and once again I saw those same stacks pilling up around the Holiday Season. It’s culturally appropriate and polite to get your teacher a Holiday gift, not that any good teacher will hold it against you if you don’t, but why skip out on recognizing such an important figure in your child’s life?  With any one of these 7 best Christmas gift ideas for teachers 2012, you are sure to give your teacher the proper thanks they deserve.

1. Teacher’s Charm Bracelet 

Get your teacher a gift that not only she will enjoy, but also her students will like looking at for years to come. This bangle will dangle from any wrist and look great, plus it couldn’t be more appropriate with so many teacher related charms!



2. Teacher Appreciation Frame 


If your kids attend a private school with a religious emphasis, this plaque couldn’t be more perfect. With a built in easel it allows teachers to decorate their classroom with this warm gift of appreciation all year long. I say it’s perfect for a teacher at a religious school because it does have a Bible verse located at the bottom. “And I will teach you the way that is good and right.” 






3. “You Can’t Scare Me I am a Teacher” T-Shirt 

No teacher will be able to resist their laughter when they see this shirt in their bundle of gifts! The saying, “You Can’t Scare Me I am a Teacher,” will ring so true, working closely with youth on a daily basis gives teachers a very different and rather hip perspective on the younger generations, preparing them for all that life throws their way. This shirt comes in a number of colors so regardless if your child’s teacher is a male or female, into bright colors or basic browns and blacks, there is a shirt that will perfectly fit their specific personality.


4. Starbucks Gift Card

Ask your child if their teacher ever comes to class with Starbucks, or some other coffee mug, in hand; they more than likely do! After working in multiple elementary school classrooms last year I am very familiar with how much teachers depend on their Starbucks to get through the day. Yet, let’s face it—teachers are largely underpaid and Starbucks treats quickly add up! Help your teacher be prepared for school everyday with a Starbucks Gift Card; the amount of money on the card is completely up to you and your budget! Although I guarantee amounts as low as $10 will be greatly appreciated.



5. Dry Erase Markers For Classroom

Another thing I quickly learned working in classrooms is how limited supplies are, the kids were constantly fighting over dry erase markers—half of which hardly worked! Any teacher with a passion for making learning more accessible to their students will greatly appreciate a gift that helps make that goal a reality. With a shortage in school funding, teachers are often stuck buying things like dry erase markers with their own limited incomes. Make sure that you know the number of students in the class so that you can get enough for everyone!


6.The Gift of an Organized Classroom




Teachers have so many supplies to keep sorted that added space to put all of this is always necessary! If you walk into your child’s classroom you might notice stacks of books on the floor or old shelves in need of replacement. Everyone likes to be organized, help your teacher do this with this affordable shelving option, made especially for classroom use. At just under $30 you can’t make a teacher’s life easier for less money! This red shelving set is so cute it can even be transported to a teacher’s home if they would rather use it there.


7. Fresh Flowers 


Even fresh flowers can be shipped online now and these Purple Dendrobium Orchids make a great gift. These orchids are long lasting and so soft, their petals like sheets of velvet! The flexibility this flower offers allows you to present them in any way you wish, including a simple arrangement in a lovely vase. Flowers show appreciation and make everyone feel special, if you don’t know that much about your child’s teacher the gift of flowers is sure to delight!


 8. Teacher Tote Bag 



Everyday teachers bring their materials to class in some sort of a bag; I can still recall my own teachers coming to school with their totes stuffed with papers graded at home, pencils, and mystery binders—for things like attendance. You can never have too many bags, they get dirty, worn, and even just boring to look at—every teacher will appreciate this bright and bold bag that perfectly depicts what they do for a living—teach!




November 24th, 2012

Inspirational Teaching Books

Most teachers do love to read. Ideas matter for us, as does thinking, and words. Sometimes nothing can be more inspiring than hearing the stories of others who have faced similar challenges and managed to break through to really make a difference in children’s lives. Here are a few of those stories:


  • Remember my TeacherBook: I Remember My Teacher
    Author David Shribman spoke with 365 people of all ages and backgrounds to find out about the role that teachers played in their lives. What emerged is a story as surprising as it is heartwarming, and one of the best books for truly understanding the enormous impact that teachers have in our society. A gift that will be appreciated by pretty much any teacher!









  • Chicken Soup Celebrates TeachersBook: Chicken Soup for the Soul Celebrates Teachers
    The delightful Chicken Soup series always makes for a great gift, but this special edition is unique, a commemorative dedicated especially to teachers and the gifts that they give our children every day.


To make the gift of a book more personal, consider including a handwritten note letting the teacher know why you thought they might like the book. Maybe you found them inspirational in the way the kids in the story do. Maybe you appreciated the books he or she introduced your child to. Personal notes are often the most cherished gifts of all, and are a great idea to include whenever possible!


November 22nd, 2012

School Supplies Gift Basket or Plant

Want to give a gift that is both practical and fun?  With a bit of creativity, it takes much less time and money than you might think to assemble some universally useful classroom essentials (like school supplies, crafts, plants, etc.) into an attractive decorative item that you’ll be proud to give.

Here’s one option:





Have a teacher who loves gardening?  Add a pot, some seeds, gardening gloves, and a clever pun (“Teachers plant the seeds that make us grow”) and you have a delightful gift. Instructions here:









Plants are often a welcome gift (ask your child if the teacher appreciates plants and has a green thumb: some may not welcome one more life form to look after around the classroom!). To make the gift even more welcome, add “blooms” of common school supplies, always in need around the classroom!  (Most teachers spend hundreds of dollars of their own money on school supplies each year — see our “Give Chalk, Not Tchotchkes” post for more…





Monogrammed jars and lovely ribbons make this gift easy-peasy but still attractive!








Flowers, some magnetic letters, tissue paper, ribbons, and glass jars are all it takes to assemble these adorable gifts!

November 25th, 2012

Is Jewelry a Good Gift for Teachers?

Like ornaments or other decorative items, jewelry is a very personal matter, subject to individual taste. Just because a bracelet has an apple on it, does not necessarily mean that your teacher will love it.  In fact, it may come as a surprise to many people to learn that most parents don’t in fact have their homes decked out with apple-themed decor, cupboards full of #1 teacher coffee mugs, and Saturdays sporting a “Teachers Care” sweatshirt.

Teachers are people like everyone else, with individual styles and preferences.  My advice is that if you know a teacher very well, have had occasion to get to know her tastes and personal style outside of the classroom, then jewellery or other decorative items can be a fine gift, as long as you’re keeping the recipients tastes in mind.

Some jewelery can be personalized for an added bit of classiness. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Teacher Gift BraceletThe Teacher’s Bracelet
    For the person who appreciates jewelery, this charming silver and crystal bracelet is a beautiful reminder of the tenets of the teaching profession.








My Favorite Teacher Picture Frame
best personalized gift idea for your favorite teacherAny teacher is guaranteed to love this picture frame which can be personalized with the teacher’s name, school, and grade. Include a photo of the whole class as a memorable teacher gift from the entire classroom, or frame a photo of your student with one of the projects they made during the year. You can also have your child make a special thank you drawing and frame that.

November 23rd, 2012

Spa Day for Teacher

Though our kids may steadfastly refuse to believe it, teachers are just people too, which means that they also could use a bit of relaxation from time to time.  Teaching can be a high-stress job!

A day at the spa is definitely not in the budget given the typical teacher’s salary. And as much as it would be appreciated, buying a gift certificate for a massage or other spa treatment is probably too generous a gift (yes, it’s possible to have too generous a gift, especially given regulations that cover teachers as federal employees. See our advice page for more…) unless a teacher has really gone above and beyond the call of duty in their support of your child and you’re looking for a special way to say thank you.

However, a day at the spa is within the reasonable gift range if your child’s class has decided to pool money to purchase a single class gift (which is often organized by the PTA).


Or, consider a few simple products that will help the teacher make a “spa day” right at home. For example:



November 26th, 2012

How to Make a Holiday Gift Educators Will Love

Sadly, not all of us are Martha Stewart. Nor are we blessed with infinite time and money to experiment with making gifts by hand. Somehow every holiday season the list of people to buy or make your own gifts for tends to grow longer and longer, yet our wallets don’t grow any fatter.

Never fear, is here to help!  Here are some fabulous ideas for very simple home made gifts that teachers will love. Some of them are even simple enough that you can get your kids to help out as well!

School Supply Cake

A clever variation on the classic Diaper Cake gift for new parents, the School Supply Cake is easy to make and eminently practical. Teachers spend about $500 of their own money on school supplies every year, so what might seem mundane to you is likely to be super appreciated by them! Check out our list of the school supplies most requested by teachers, or put together your own collection on Amazon or CreateForLess.






Pencil Bouquet

Teachers always need new classroom supplies– but as much as it’s practical, how fun is it to give a box of #2 pencils from Walmart? Fortunately the creative folks at The Happy Scraps have shown us a better way. This delightful Pencil Bouquet is as lovely as it is useful. Instructions here. Supplies here and here.







One Smart Cookie Jar
I’ve yet to meet a teacher who doesn’t love fresh baked cookies! Just be aware of any special dietary restrictions such as gluten free or vegan, and check with your district to make sure giving food is acceptable. Then, go to Camie’s site to get the printable “I’m one smart cookie thanks to you!” card and instructions, and of course the perfect cookie jar! Or try this cookie jar set if you have multiple gifts to make.



Teacher Appreciation Gift Basket
Of course, in an ideal world, we would all make our own gift basket using a cute basket, vase, or even a toy school bus, and stuffing it with a combination of school supplies, snacks, and other teacher essentials like hand sanitizer, craft supplies, or coffee. No time to make your own? Here’s a lovely teacher appreciation gift basket that even Martha Steward would be proud to give.



Soda-lighted You’re My Teacher!
Photographer Tammy Mitchell has already done the hard work for you with this cute gift idea. Just go to her site to download the free printable card, attach it to some vintage soda pop, and you’re done!