A lot of posts are written on gifts to buy for teachers at holiday time, but I thought I’d chim in with my 2 cents. Because when do I not chime in on anything!?
I was a 3rd grade teacher for several years, and I can definitely tell you what gifts NOT to buy for teachers . . . scented candles, fragranced body lotions, anything apple or teacher themed, for starters. Teachers get SO much of that stuff, and often it is not according their particular tastes.
Of course most teachers are appreciative of all gifts and the sentiment behind them, but please, oh, please, there is simply not room for one more apple-shaped pencil holder on her desk! Give her something she can really use. I realize there are a lot of male teachers out there, but this list is admittedly slanted to the feminine side. Still, I think a lot of the ideas can be tailored to male or female.
15 Holiday Gift Ideas for Teachers
- Restaurant.com Gift Card
- Amazon.com Gift Card
- Sephora Gift Card
- Starbucks Gift Card (if he/she likes coffee)
- spa gift card
- Christmas ornament (IF you know her tastes or a specific hobby or affection she has for something that makes it personal; otherwise, skip this one. I do still have – and use – Christmas ornaments I received as a teacher.)
- homemade card or craft made by the student (it would be a hard hearted teacher that couldn’t appreciate a gift like this, although personally I would also include a small gift card)
- baked goods – THIS one is a tough one. You need to know her tastes, be aware of any food allergies, and then there is the issue of eating something that comes from someone’s home. A few years ago this would not have been a consideration but nowadays people are much more careful about eating food that was baked in someone’s home. I still give homemade food gifts, but I realize that they may or may not get eaten. I prefer to give fudge or peanut butter balls or something that can be easily frozen if they get overloaded with homemade goodies.
- basket of gourmet coffees or gourmet teas (IF you know the teacher has an affinity for one or the other)
- note pads or thank you cards (I personally think everyone can always use these)
- bouquet of flowers
- bottle of wine or eggnog (again, ONLY if you know for sure they will like it)
- Williams Sonoma dish towel wrapped around their Winter Forest dish soap (this was recommended by my friend Shelly in a former teacher gift guide post)
- gift basket with bag of coffee, travel mug and a magazine — again, if you know her tastes (right now you can get 5 monthly issues of InStyle & PEOPLE StyleWatch for $10; of course you would have to know this is her thing, but personally I think that’s a really great gift!)
- class gift* (my personal favorite)
Yes, there are a lot of gift cards on that list. I know, you are going to tell me it is impersonal, but I am going to tell you so what. You can always make it personal by including a small Christmas ornament or a tin of baked goods or something else small.
Teachers love gift certificates because they can get what they want with them (who DOESN’T love gift certificates? I have always said they are highly underrated) and in many areas teachers are underpaid and gift certificates are a great way to help them out.
Now, it can be a bit awkward with the amount. It really depends on your budget, your area, and how many you have to buy for. One year I got all our Sunday School teachers, school teachers, bus drivers, etc at $10 gift card to Starbucks and I stuck it in a little gift bag with homemade fudge. Since I had about 10 teachers on my list, I could only afford to do a small gift card, but I felt okay about it because $10 goes a long ways at Starbucks. For the male bus driver, I did a gift card to Wawa, a local convenience store. I thought it might be a better fit.
*At my kids’ school, the room mothers usually coordinate a class gift. They collect money from all parents who want to contribute and purchase one nice gift card to a place the teacher likes. This is usually optional, and often the amount is unspecified. I like this a lot because it takes out any awkwardness about how much to spend; the teacher won’t know who spent what, and she gets one generous gift rather than 20 small ones. I think that’s a win. Again, I usually supplement with a homemade treat, or at least a card made by the kids.
I’d love to hear your input — especially from the teachers out there! Any other suggestions?
For more gift ideas, see my complete collection of 2012 Holiday Gift Guide posts!
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