10 Great Gifts for Teachers
While there is no requirement for your child to give a holiday gift to his or her teacher, it is a pretty nice way to tell an educator “thank you.” My parents, both teachers, have received a wide variety of gifts from their students, and over careers of 30+ years, they have amassed some interesting items. I have compiled some favorites of theirs, as well those of a friend who recently retired from teaching.
How about a mug imprinted with “#1 Teacher"? No. That teacher’s coffee mug cupboard was probably full long ago.
What about perfume? Nope. There are only so many gallons of Jean Nate that a teacher can wear in a lifetime.
Wouldn’t the teacher love a framed photo of your child? No. (One of those really showed up one Christmas, in a popsicle-stick frame.) Do you have framed photos of customers or clients around your home?
Here are ten better ideas.
1. Frozen Ravioli
Winning the “most memorable” category, my father received a box of frozen ravioli. They were homemade by a family that had owned a renowned Italian restaurant on the Northern California coast, and they were absolutely delicious. He was thrilled with such a marvelous gift. While I think ravioli are challenging to make, a basket with pasta sauce, pasta, cheese, and bread would be really nice, too. (See also: 7 Savory Food Gifts)
2. Cookie Mix in a Jar
For the teacher who suggested this, who was also a mom, this present represented the gift of time. She just needed to add a couple of things to this mix and could then bake holiday cookies with her own daughter. (See also: 15 Delicious Gifts You Can Bake)
3. A Homemade Game
My dad taught a math class for math under-achievers. Part of his strategy was to play math-related games. A student made him a beautiful wooden cribbage board, which he uses it to this day.
Just about everyone loves coffee, and teachers are no exception. My friend Nancy loved the coupon book she received for the local coffee shop. A coffee gift card is also a hit, and a bag of a gourmet blend is nice for the teacher’s lounge.
5. All-Purpose Cards
Nancy also loved student-made thank-you cards that she could use right away. This was a gift that was both charming and practical.
6. Add to a Collection
What does the teacher collect? This idea requires a little sleuthing. My mother, for instance, collected snow-globes. She was delighted when a new one showed up as a Christmas gift.
7. Christmas Ornaments
I still have some of the ones that my mother received, made by little hands. I can even tell you which students made them because she was so thrilled with them. The ornaments from Kaboose are so cute that I need to borrow somebody’s kid and make some.
Some school book programs allow you to purchase books for the classroom according to the teacher’s “wish list.”
9. Classroom Help
Field trips are pretty tough when you are trying to wrangle 20+ kids. A coupon for your time would be wonderful. Elementary teachers often also need help with prepping for big projects. However, if you give the coupon, be ready to commit the time when asked.
10. Swedish Tea Ring
This is a wreath-shaped sweet bread. I think I made four of them for my daughter’s favorite teachers at Christmas during her senior year in high school. They were very well-received. Besides the great homemade appeal, the wreath shape is very festive-looking.
None of these 10 items is very expensive, but they are all fairly memorable. My father chimed in that he felt “homemade things were always the best.” I thought this was good advice, as many of us look toward simplifying holiday gift-giving. One caveat, though: If your children are not yet mature, you might want to limit their participation to making non-food gifts for the best chance of a truly appreciated and useful gift.