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!
A majority of teachers are female, so I feel like I would be remiss writing a blog of Christmas gifts for teachers without including a page of gift ideas for female teachers. But the truth is that most of the gifts on this site are appropriate for women — even the ones I included on our page of gifts for male teachers (although the converse is not true, hence the inclusion of a separate page for male teachers).
The most important thing to keep in mind when choosing a gift for a teacher is to consider their interests. Even if you’ve never met them personally and have only seen their classroom once on Parent-Teacher Night (you did go to Parent Teacher Night, right?), there’s still a lot you can infer to help you in choosing the right gift.
For example, does the teacher display many handmade decorations around her classroom? Does she have prominent bookshelves, and if so, what kinds of books are on display? Ask your child what kinds of personal information the teacher has shared– for example, if she mentions going to the movies, you might get a gift certificate to the local cinema. If she talks about travel to Europe, a picture book for her favorite destination would probably be appreciated.
Whatever you choose as a gift for a female teacher, make sure you don’t forget the most important part: a genuine and heartfelt note of appreciation thanking the teacher for their work. They will treasure this note for years to come, and that’s the greatest gift you could give a teacher!
Last but not least, make sure you’re aware of school guidelines on gift-giving, and the teacher’s perspective on gifts, as discussed on my Advice page.
If you’re looking for some more concrete suggestions, I recommend starting with my list of Recommended Gifts for Teachers. I also have another list specifically for teacher Christmas gifts, and one with suggested gifts for new teachers.
And here a few specific gifts for female teachers, if you’re really looking for something that is particularly good for women (in general, of course!):
Ladies, I apologize in advance if the gifts on this page seem a bit stereotypically feminine. As I mention above, elsewhere on this site you’ll find ideas which will work for all teachers, including woman. So I decided to make this page about gifts that are most likely appropriate only for women.
Are you a woman and a teacher! Well, you’re in luck! In the brief moment that it takes to make a comment on the bottom of this post, you have the opportunity to help your fellow teachers everywhere by informing well-intentioned but clueless parents what it is that you really would like to receive as a gift. I’ll make sure your comments are added to this post!