Ultimate List of Teacher Gifts

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Your child’s teacher deserves something special this year.  My sister taught 3rd grade before she became a professor and it was unreal how hard she worked day (and night) for her students.  I on the other hand, was able to leave the office at 5 and sleep like a baby.  I also wasn’t required to get a Master’s Degree or take on student loans that didn’t correlate to the anticipated salary ranges.  That is a separate rant but for this post I want to focus on treating these special people right over the holidays and at the end of the year.  I asked a bunch of teachers what they really like (and dislike) getting from their students.  Here is my ultimate list of teacher gifts.

Teacher Gift Idea #1: Something Personalized

Teachers spend a lot of time with our kids and they get to know them really well.  I can only imagine the stories they hear about us.  Overwhelmingly the teachers I spoke to value a handmade card or gift from your child.

Parents already know how sweet it is to get a gift or card our kids made themselves.  Their teachers like it too.  While this should be accompanied with another gift these mean a lot to them.

With websites like etsy its easy to find amazing gifts that you can get personalized for your teacher.  These special gifts take some time and planning ahead so don’t wait around if you see something you like.  Teachers write notes and cards all year long so personalized stationery can turn an average gift into a great one.

Teacher Gift Idea #2:  Something to Eat!

Another thing I know is that teachers get about 20 seconds to eat before they have to get back to work.  They don’t get to sit and enjoy a long lunch break during the week.  No one wants to get “hangry” though, especially when you are around 25 kids.

One teacher said she got a gift card to a place she could order lunch right near the school and she loved it.  This is a perfect gift and $30-$50 could go a long way!  Everyone likes sandwiches, right?

Some teachers told me they enjoyed getting anything they could eat or drink.  I do think that this requires a bit of detective work unless you are doing a gift certificate to a restaurant where they can choose what they eat.  There is a pretty decent chance caffeine and chocolate would be appreciated.  Usually there is a coffee in hand so you can do a little research to find out if they prefer Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts and hook them up!

One parent mentioned being the “teacher’s pet” because she always gave her son’s teachers a gift certificate for the liquor store for the holidays and year end.  She’d get my vote too.

Even if you don’t know their favorite restaurant or if they like red or white these are nice gifts that you know won’t get stuffed in a bathroom closet.  These are also much better gifts to “re-gift” if they needed to so that is a plus.

Teacher Gift #3: Treat Yo Self

Now some people think gift cards are “lazy” but I disagree.  After a year of not spending my own money on clothes, shoes or bags I can tell you right now they are AWESOME gifts.  Especially for someone like a teacher who might not be able to spend a lot on themselves.  If you know your teacher’s favorite store that is a great place to start.  If you don’t – a gift card to somewhere like Amazon or Target is a safe bet.

One mom told me she arranged a wreath made of cash.  I have no idea how to make something like this and would be concerned about something like this happening.  However, if you are the crafty type that wants to show you put in some effort this could work beautifully.

Cash or American Express gift card gives the teacher the option to buy whatever they hell they want.  I work with clients all the time and not a single person has complained of having too much cash on hand, especially around the holidays.  If you pool together money with other parents in the classroom you can give the teacher a fantastic gift.  Ask around if no one coordinates this already – there may be other parents who are interested in pooling money together too. Your teachers will thank you!

Honorable mention:

  • Flowers
  • Books
  • Cards

Pass on these…

Picture yourself at the register at Marshalls.  You know the random candles, lotions and mugs that you grab with little thought and then assign them to a recipient because they were a good deal? Teachers end up with a lot of them and while they are “nice” they don’t really want them.  I think these are pretty poor gifts in general like I mentioned in last week’s post.  Reason being, they are usually purchased because of the price not because you really think a particular person will appreciate them.  Your kid’s teacher deserves better than that.  If you are short on time please review #3 and relax.  

Do you have a great gift you have given or received that you would recommend?  Leave your thoughts in the comments and be sure to follow Not Another Thing on Facebook!  


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13 comments

    1. I know – I was always a little jealous of the adorable pictures and cards my sister would get from her students! I guess that is one of the perks

    1. Thanks! I think some of these work well for bosses and coworkers too if you don’t happen to have teachers on the list

    1. Thank you! It’s great to know what teachers really want – food might not be the first thing you think of for a gift but who doesn’t love a good meal!

    1. You’re welcome Michelle! Never too early to start planning so you can start (and finish) early and enjoy the holidays.

  1. My child just started preschool so this post is just what I needed. I like to give gifts that the person will enjoy so it’s amazing to have pointers. Thank you!

    1. I feel the same way Beau – I love the feeling of giving a great gift that you know someone will appreciate. Preschool is also the perfect age for a cute piece of “art” to go along with a gift!

  2. This is great! I spent a few years as a substitute teacher, and can say my coworkers would wholeheartedly love this list. The food one is my favorite! You really don’t get much time to grab a bite to eat during the day. That’s a fantastic idea for a gift!

    1. I was a substitute too for a bit! Definitely get more down time in other jobs so yes anything you can eat fast to keep you going is a win in my book!

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