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!
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:
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!
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:
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!
Buying a gift for a male teacher? No problem! The general advice on choosing the right gift for teachers remains the same, but of course you should take into account that men often have different preferences than women.
For example, that trip to the spa may not make such a good gift anymore. “Old favorites” like ornaments, pins, decorations, candles, lotion, etc. are similarly less suited for a male teacher than a female teacher (in general).
Perhaps the biggest challenge is that male teachers are (again, speaking in generalities here) often less likely to be very sentimental about handmade gifts and purely symbolic gifts (“#1 Teacher”, etc.) — in general, men prefer something useful.
Fortunately, there are a number of great gifts for male teachers that you can get which are quite useful and will still allow you to express your creativity and personality.