If you’re read our survey of teacher gift preferences, you know that gift cards are the gift teachers most often prefer. So why are parents so hesitate to give them? Many feel that gift cards aren’t personalized, unique, or thoughtful. Well, now you can have the best of both worlds with a personalized Custom Gift Card. Customize the card with a photo of your child with something they made or learned about it in class, and accompany it with a hand-written thank you note, and you have an easy an inexpensive gift that is sure to be a hit with any teacher!
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: http://www.skiptomylou.org/2011/05/01/gardening-gift-teacher-appreciation/
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!
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:
My Favorite Teacher Picture Frame
Any 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.
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, ChristmasGiftsforTeachers.com 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.
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!
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.
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!
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.”
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
Looking for a great Christmas gift for teachers? Choosing the right gift for a teacher can be difficult — first, there is the question of how much to spend. Second, you might not know the teacher very well, which generally makes personal items like clothing or knick-knacks a poor choice. Last but not least, you may have to contend with school regulations and guidelines on gift giving which further limit your options.
Despite the seeming difficulty of choosing a Christmas gift for a teacher, the rewards can be worth it: some of the teachers I surveyed said that receiving gifts and thank you notes from their students (and their parents) was one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching. Some retired teachers I know have kept all of the thank you notes and gifts they’ve ever received over the years, proudly displaying them as evidence of the many lives they’ve touched. Teachers do one of the most important jobs out there, yet they generally don’t receive a lot of prestige (or pay). Giving a thoughtful gift is an opportunity for you to show how much you appreciate the work that they do. A great gift for teachers doesn’t have to cost a lot of money — the most important thing is the thoughtfulness and care you put in to the gift, which shows the teacher that you truly respect them and appreciate what they do — and that is a gift that they will truly always cherish!
“I am a preschool teacher and [...] I deeply treasure every gift I have received from every student and even write their names and the date on each one so when I get them out to display them every year I am reminded of them! These children are so proud of the gifts that they have lovingly picked out, I wouldn’t trade them for anything!” ~Teacher from Indiana
The following list of teacher Christmas gifts is just a starting point. Please make sure to also read my advice on how to choose a Christmas gift for a teacher, and my list of recommended gift ideas for teachers. You can also browse according to gift occasion, recipient, or type, by using the navigation menu on the right hand side of the page.