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Teacher Gifts: What to Give and What to Avoid

'Tis the Season for holiday gift giving and those of us with kids often wonder what to give teachers.  I am blessed to have many teachers among my friends and family so I went straight to the source and asked them what they love to receive.  Keep in mind, teachers NEVER expect gifts and if you do choose to give, you don't have to break the bank to show your appreciation. 


Gift Cards: Gift cards are great for many reasons.  They are easy to pick up (heck, you can now grab a gift card to almost any store while you are grocery shopping), and it allows the gift receiver to pick out just what they want.  This is especially good when you don't know their taste.  Visa, American Express and Amazon are all fabulous choices because they can pick out anything and Target is also a strong front runner.  If you'd like to do something a little different, a movie gift card is great for a night out or a restaurant they might enjoy.  

Items that are personal to them: Teachers love when you get to know them and are able to choose something just for them, especially if the kids were the ones to make the connection.  Does your teacher wear a Pandora bracelet? Maybe ask a few friends in the class to chip in towards a charm.  Does your teacher love to spend her weekends knitting or crocheting? Bury her in yarn or get a gift card to the local craft store.  One year our class chipped in and purchased the teacher's beach badge for the end of year gift.  That was one gift we know was used all summer long. 

Something handmade from their student: Trust me on this, your teacher does not need that cute crayon wreath you spotted on Pinterest.  However, they do love to receive handmade cards from their students.  It is thoughtful and appreciated.  

Books: Every teacher I know maintains a classroom library and many of them have been stocked by the teachers themselves.  Books get worn after many readings and some don't get returned.  This is a wonderful gift for any teacher and their classroom that is sure to be put to good use.  If you aren't sure what books to get, start by asking your child what she and her friends enjoy reading. 

Classroom Supplies: As one teacher I know well said, they spend a lot of time in their classrooms so this is like a second home to them.  Sending in a supply of needed items is very much appreciated.  I know hand sanitizer and tissues have always been at the top of my kids' teachers needs, and when they were younger, glue sticks were a big one.  If you aren't sure what they might need, I'm sure your teacher would be happy to provide a classroom wish list if you ask. 

Stationary: Teachers tend to jot a lot of notes.  Pretty notecards or pads and some fun pens are useful and appreciated. 

Charitable Donations: A charitable donation made in your teacher's name is a beautiful gesture that helps others.  If you know what charity they are passionate about consider making a small donation to their cause.  If you aren't sure, choose one you or your child feel strongly about.  When in doubt, you can never go wrong with donating a food basket to the local food pantry. 


Mugs and candles.  Just don't.  They have boxes full in their garage. 

Homemade food items.  Before you get offended and say "but I'm a great baker!", just remember this.  Your child's teacher watches him pick his nose all day long. 

Bath and body products: This is another gift they get a lot of.  You can only use so much shower gel and lotion.  Scents are also hard to pick out for other people, so unless you know what they like, its is just best to skip this one. 

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Comment by Hackensack Meridian Health on December 7, 2015 at 9:00am

Great post Beth! 


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