12.06.2015

Christmas gift ideas for teachers

It's that time of year when the Last-Minute Lesters among us are gravitating to the Dollar Spot at Target along with every display table at TJ Maxx. That's right, it's Secret Santa, awkward work gift exchange, White Elephant season! There always seems to be a few people on your list who are difficult to shop for, simply because you don't know them very well. You want your gift to be meaningful, but don't know where to start. One of those people may very well be your child's teacher.

As a teacher of 5 years who is also married to a teacher, our family has been on the receiving end of countless thoughtful, generous, and lovely gifts and gestures each Christmas season. For the very first time, I find myself in the position of buying for my own child's teacher! 

How the turntables have turned...
Teachers are the people that spend almost as much time with your child as you do! They care for your baby (or grown baby) during the day, nurture them, guide them, influence them, and love them. You want your gift to reflect the appreciate you and your child have for all they do. You also probably don't want to break the bank. Especially if you have more than one child in school!

So without further delay, here is my list of gift ideas for teachers written by a teacher!

*Disclaimer* Teachers don't expect gifts. That's not why they do their job. This is simply to give you some ideas if you're already planning on doing something nice for your child's teacher to step away from the classic "2 Teach is 2 Touch a life 4 Ever" plaque. Though I'm sure that would be lovely.

1. Hand-Written Letter
My favorite and most memorable gifts from students or their parents have been hand-written letters or messages. They are personal and meaningful. If your child is old enough to write, have them write one, too! Teachers handle a lot of negative situations throughout the year - you have no idea how much a bit of appreciation can brighten their entire day, month, or year! This is nice to do regardless of if you buy something for the teacher or not. 

2. Small Gift Card
$5-$10 to Starbucks, Amazon, Target, etc would be so thoughtful! It's an opportunity to let the teacher treat themselves - something many educators simply don't do. My volleyball team once got me a gift card to Caribou Coffee and I made it last an entire school year. I absolutely loved being able to treat myself every so often, and I thought of my athletes every time I bought a coffee. 

3. Devotion Book
We have always taught at private Christian schools, so a devotion book would be right up our alley. If your child's teacher is not religious, or you're not sure, a book of positive quotes or meditations would work, too!

4. Books
Most teachers I know love to read. If you know what they like to read, surprise them with a novel, a biography, or a personal development book. If you're not sure, try a gift card to Barnes & Noble. 

5. School Supplies
I have yet to meet a teacher who doesn't like a fresh stack of Post-It Notes. Most of us got into the field of education simply so we could continue to buy school supplies every September (kidding...kind of). A monogrammed notepad, fancy pens, cute paperclips, drawer organizers, or a fancy notebook or planner are always welcome!

6. A Favorite Beverage
Yes, I know coffee or tea can be overdone. But with a little bit of detective work, you can find out what's keeping that educator fueled throughout the school day. Be it green juice, soda, lattes, or flavored water, stock them up! If you're feeling bold, find out what their adult beverage of choice is, and sneak them a bottle of their favorite wine or a six pack of beer when the kids aren't looking ;)

7. Something They Love or Collect
My husband loves the Green Bay Packers. I've known other teachers who have been very vocal about their favorite sports team, color, animal, or things they collect. I bet if you ask their child they would be able to identify this almost immediately. 

8. School Survival Kit
When I used to teach full time, I felt like I lived in my classroom. I honestly probably spent more time there than I did at home. I made sure to keep deodorant, concealer, lip balm, a scarf, gum or mints, protein bars, water bottles, an extra phone charger, hand lotion, dry shampoo, a hairbrush, and let's be honest - candy in my desk drawer. Restock your favorite teacher with some personal items for their classroom!

9. Essential Oil
One of the most thoughtful gifts I received one year was a small bottle of essential oil with a roller ball applicator. If essential oils are your thing, a small bottle with suggested uses attached would be a fun gift!

10. Framed Print, Picture, or Quote
Etsy has some adorable and affordable prints that could be perfect for male or female teachers. A picture of your child and the teacher in an inexpensive frame would be lovely. You really can't go wrong with a framed quote or inspirational saying.

There you have it! Don't put pressure on yourself to do an intricate art project or Pinterest DIY, unless that's your thing! Teachers will be so touched that you thought of them, and will appreciate any gesture, big or small. 

I know I have a lot of teacher friends. What would you add to the list? What are your favorite gifts from students?


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