Your kid’s teacher is one of the most important adults in their lives. So, naturally, they frequently make the list of people who deserve a spot-on gift. But it’s also a bit complicated, since they’re not likely to be an adult you know well personally. Still, you don’t have to buy a generic “Best Teacher Ever” mug and call it a day; instead, take a look at some of the great gift suggestions we got from real teachers. The good news? It doesn’t take much to make these superheroes feel valued.
Many emphasized that the biggest thing they want is thanks. And Ms. Macy, a kindergarten teacher, tells SheKnows she never wants parents to spend a lot of money: “A simple card, even handmade, with a thank you — that is always the most meaningful gift,” she explains.
Other teachers sang the praises of relatively simple but useful things, like gift cards to popular stores, classroom supplies, and snacks. If these ideas seem a little less than glamorous, there are ways to make them feel more festive: pretty DIY wrapping, finding a slightly nicer version of a practical gift is a good place to start. The more practical or sentimental things are going to be the ones that get appreciated anyway: Any teacher with more than a year’s classroom experience has likely already gotten a paperweight with apples, books, and rulers on it. A nice pair of socks that can be worn year-round is also going to be a lot more appreciated than the novelty red-and-green set with bells sold at the drugstore.
And one final way to make the gift really feel special? “I love when the students help pick out the gift,” says Mrs. R, a second-grade teacher. “It makes them even more excited to give it to me.” To keep your kid from picking out a Paw Patrol ornament, consider giving them some guidelines: What is your teacher’s favorite color? Can you help me pick out a planter for a succulent?
For more suggestions, check out our list in the slides ahead.
A candle is a great way to make a simple holiday gesture feel special. Target, TJ Maxx, and World Market are great places to find inexpensive candles that still feel fancy. Anthropologie also stocks lots of mini Capri Blue candles this time of year that are under $15, or you can amp it up with this $24 option.
Another school-to-home option is elevated desk supplies that are just for the teacher (not the whole class). She’ll get a lot of use out of a set of cute pencils from Ban.do, for example, while it brightens up her own desk. Paper Source is another great place to look for desk supplies that are useful and delightful at the same time.
A Desk-Friendly Plant
Succulents are a great cute pick that brighten any desk — and are shockingly easy to keep alive.
Yes, socks don’t sound like the most exciting gift in the world, but they’re inexpensive (even for a fairly nice pair) and seasonal. Stores like J.Crew, Gap, and H&M usually stock up on giftable pairs this time of year
This takes a bit more work, but is an excellent way to get your kid involved. Does the teacher talk about a favorite hobby or pet a lot? Are they known for a particular interest? Mrs R, a second-grade teacher, says one treasured gift was a cookbook for Peruvian cooking because the family knew she’d been to Peru.
Consider stickers the secret heroes of classroom supplies. No one thinks they’re nessecary to teaching, but they’re an inexpensive reward that delights kids well into high school. A pad of cute stickers will get a lot of use — and maybe not be something a teacher finds in their supply closet.
A Photo Of Your Kids
A framed photo, or just your family’s holiday card, is also a sweet way to say thanks and gives the teacher something to remember your kids by. Your kids can sign the back and add a special note. If you have a picture of your child and the teacher together, frame it in an inexpensive frame.
Teachers are some of the biggest fans of books out there. And they are often very passionate about curating a classroom library — often from their own wallet. Picking out a book or two (with the help of your child) is a meaningful way to say thanks and give back to the classroom as whole. Your child may also be able to help you pick out a favorite book of their own that is currently missing from the classroom shelves.
Like books, school supplies are something teachers often spend their own money on. Because of this, classroom supplies are always welcome, says Ms. J, a special education teacher. You can ask the teacher directly if there are supplies they need, or look for some highly-rated classroom supplies on Amazon, like these Paper Mate gel pens.
A Thank-You Note
If you’re really out of time to buy something, don’t dismiss the idea of having your kid write a short thank-you note, either from a holiday card or one they make and decorate themselves. Two teachers surveyed said directly a thank-you note is their favorite gift to recieve.
Gift Cards They’ll Use
Gift cards are also a classic teacher gift that’s always appreciated. Denominations can be as low as $5, too. Starbucks is a classic, but teachers also suggested Target, Amazon, and even gas cards.
“Honestly, my favorite gifts from kids are something handmade!” says Ms. Fitz, an elementary school art teacher. It’s also a great way to give something sentimental that feels more personal than a mass-produced mug or frame with a quote on it. A simple drawing or painting is fine, but if you want to go a step further, ornament kits are usually fairly inexpensive and a great way to get your kids into the holiday spirit.
Mr. Sketch Markers
Finally, when all else fails: Mr. Sketch. It’s a cult favorite among teachers because they are great for making classroom charts. They write smoothly and don’t dry out too quickly and come in bright colors. Since the school year is halfway over, give them a fresh pack to start off the second half of the year right.
A framed photo, or just your family’s holiday card, is also a sweet way to say thanks and gives the teacher something to remember your kids by. Your kids can sign the back and add a special note. If you have a picture of your child and the teacher together, frame it! At the very least they can take out the photo and have a nice frame to reuse.
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