52 answers

What to Get a Teacher for Christmas?

Hi Ladies!
My son is in kindergarten and I am not sure what the protocol for Christmas gifts are. We would like to get something for his teacher and the assistant teacher, any ideas? is there a rule of thumb to go by?

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What wonderfully creative and thoughtful gift giving ideas! I think I am leaning more towards the home made and I love the movie night idea. Thank you so much!

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I am a teacher in menopause (chocolate and cookies go straight to my hips, have allergies to scents (no candles or perfumes) and don't work for Starbucks and think they are overpriced... HMMMM... I was amazed at how fabulous my gifts were last year because the parents asked the children what I liked. I love to read, exercise and get messages. Every gift I got was either a novel game for the classroom or something to do with one of the above. I also love getting g/c to local lunch places. Even if it is $5, I am motivated to treat myself.

Ask a few questions... When a parent or student takes the time to personalize even the smallest gift it is really touching!!!

2 moms found this helpful

For Valentines one year my mom made giant heart shaped sugar cookies and frosted/decorated them. Wrapped them in plastic wrap and they were a big hit. The same could be done with a christmas tree or snowman. Just thought I'd give you another idea.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, I am a teacher and a mom to a 2nd grader, kindergartner and a 1 1/2 year old. Each year, we like to combine a gift card with a homemade gift. I cut out cardstock in the shape of a bookmark, have the kids decorate it, and then have it laminated (only costs few dollars for an entire sheet at Office Depot). Then I attach a pretty ribbon to the top with a jingle bell and include it with a gift card to the local bookstore. Have fun with it!

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Hi and I too am a teacher and I love to get personalized cards. I actually starting making some and have website if you like to take a peek www.frecklesandspeckles.etsy.com. I have listed a coupon on mamasource. Thanks and let me know if I can help in anyway:)

3 moms found this helpful

Hi R.!
Having teachers in my family, I know they have dozens of coffee cups. However, everyone loves candles! I make soy candles as gifts for my grandson's teachers for Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving. Why not paraffin - allergies, black soot, toxic because they're made from petroleum. Soy is clean, go green, biodegradable, nontoxic. Besides, they're easy enough to make that your child can help - it makes it more personal.

2 moms found this helpful

As a teacher, I always appreciated a heartfelt card. It is not too often that teachers really hear thank you from the parents/children (just like parents don't often hear it from their kids!). But as far as gifts go, I think gift cards are wonderful and they don't need to be high in value to be appreciated. I like the idea of a gift card to a bookstore. That way the teacher can by books for the class...a win win situation! When I was growing up, my mom always gave our teachers a potted plant, something I would also enjoy. Whatever you decide, make sure it matches the teacher. One of my favorite gifts I received was a scarf from Lands End that was personalized with my name on it. I got to wear it during yard duty and it kept me warm. I can't tell you how sad it makes me when parents spend their money on "spa" gift baskets, perfume, CHOCOLATE (I get too much to even eat in a year!) and snow globes. All these things end up going to Goodwill.

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Hello R.:

Choosing a gift of that appeals to everyone is a tough task!
A protocal we friends follow is to give a gift album rather than buying a gift.This has many advantages such that the person can order any gift of his/her choice from the album, this avoids duplication of gifts.
Also the person doesn't even come to know about the cost of the gift as he only gets the "album" that is already paid for.
That way you need not worry if the person likes the gift and all this at your "convenient cost".Isn't tht cool?

check this website and the album would be delivered to your doorstep:

rpalnitkar.ordermygift.com

Give the best gift this christmas..as we all always do..

proud to be with mamasource-Friend

2 moms found this helpful

For our preschool years we combined funds from many of the families to make gift baskets that included gift cards to local coffee stores and shops along with a specialty bath product.

For Kindergarten, I made a handknit scarf and plan to do the same for 1st grade. I track the colors that the teacher wears and her personal style and try to match that. My feeling is that the handmade scarf is a way to acknowledge the special effort the teacher makes to ensure our son is successful...he has some challenges in the classroom.

A neighbor gave a teacher a fleece throw and the teacher commented it was the most useful gift she had every received.

Looks like you've got some great ideas to choose from and the hand made card from the student seals the deal!

2 moms found this helpful

I am a teacher in menopause (chocolate and cookies go straight to my hips, have allergies to scents (no candles or perfumes) and don't work for Starbucks and think they are overpriced... HMMMM... I was amazed at how fabulous my gifts were last year because the parents asked the children what I liked. I love to read, exercise and get messages. Every gift I got was either a novel game for the classroom or something to do with one of the above. I also love getting g/c to local lunch places. Even if it is $5, I am motivated to treat myself.

Ask a few questions... When a parent or student takes the time to personalize even the smallest gift it is really touching!!!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi R.,

Teachers love gifts they can share with their students. These kinds of gifts come in all price ranges, shapes, and sizes. Suggestions: a book appropriate to grade level or a gift certificate to a bookstore, a special toy like Bead Box for motor skills, a game or puzzle for the classroom. In my store we're getting pre-planted seeds in a pot--boxed with cute graphics. Everyone could watch the plant grow---you could make this yourself with your son. One year we were in a tight spot financially, so we gave each of our kids' teachers baskets of pinecones with a box of long matches. I had the baskets and the kids and I collected the pinecones. Then we wrapped them in cellophane with a bow. Use your imagination. Stay away from perfumes, lotions, coffee cups, food, and writing paper/notes, and ornaments...we get alot of those. Have fun...it's Christmas!

N. (a retired teacher, now a gift store owner!)

1 mom found this helpful

I am a teacher and this is what I like to get:

stuff for the classroom-games, books, supplies
Starbucks cards or Jamba juice
home made goodies

Hope that works for you!

1 mom found this helpful

I was a teacher until I had my son, now I am a SAHM. When I was teaching I got tons of knick knacks, candy, lotion, mugs, things that said #1 teacher. Honestly, I never knew what to do with some of that stuff and some of the lotions I just never ended up using them. I highly reccommend GIFT CARDS to anywhere. Even a gift card for only $5 would make me happy. $5 is better than me feeling like I am wasting something by eventually throwing it away.

1 mom found this helpful

Personally being a teacher and mother who gives gifts to teachers, I think a GC to Barnes and Noble or Borders is best. Then the teacher can buy something for the class or themself. It can be notecards, calendar, music, book or a cup of coffee at the snack counter. Starbucks cards are very popular but you can only drink so much coffee and believe it or not not everyone likes Starbucks. :)

1 mom found this helpful

As a high school teacher, my favorite gifts have been the personal notes. I still get emotional when I am sorting through papers and I run across a card or letter with a personal message from a former student. Of course, in these economic times, I've been giving gift cards to my son's and daughter's teachers.

1 mom found this helpful

I will say "gift cards" are the best especially shopping mall gift cards, Target, Walmart, etc... Don't forget eatery places gift cards are great too. Your kids' teachers can share with their loved ones too.

1 mom found this helpful

I am akindergarten teacher for three years now and some of the best gifts I get for Christmas I get are things I can use in the classroom. Holiday books, supplies, etc. are great grifts.

1 mom found this helpful

I am a teacher, and the one thing i wouldnt get, is candy. There will be soooooo much candy around that we dont need more!! Good ideas are starbucks gift cards, bath and body works gift cards, a gc for a manicure or pedicure....stuff like that. You dont have to spend much, teachers dont expect gifts, and anything you give will be greatly appreciated.

1 mom found this helpful

WOW, you've gotten some great advice, and from the source... teachers. My daughter is in 2nd grade and the last two years, we were "newbies" to teacher gifts, but chose a GC to a popular restaurant (which usually allows the choice of a few different ones on the card), and then a GC to one of the two most popular "discount" stores. (Walmart or Target) These can be used for food, gifts, clothes, or whatever they need. I also had my daughter write a card personally. We have such a mix in our school, we just did it on our own and slipped it to the teacher in the daily planner. Have a wonderful gift giving season.

G.
www.Earthmomz.com

1 mom found this helpful

Coffee gift card. Starbucks, Pete's, whatever is the prefference. And give what you can afford.
I liked the idea of a heartfelt card. Maybe you could help your child think of 3 things that make the teacher special to him, and put that in a card decorated by him. (Especially if he comes up with some really cute whacky one...). A compliment from the heart is always a gift.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi R.,

Depending upon your budget, I would say a book to share in the class or a gift card from Target or Starbucks. I have also bought teachers fragant hand soap from Body Works. Sometimes they have promotions of 5 for $15 which is nice.

1 mom found this helpful

We've always had our room mom organize a group gift-so that the whole class could give a nice big gift (and individual gifts, if any, were more centimental than valuable, or a nice homemade card). So you might want to make sure something like that is not in the works before you spend too much money, or let them know ahead of time that you will opt out and do your own thing (otherwise it can feel awkward...pressure to contribute...already did your thing...don't want to sound cheap...but don't really want to put in another $20...ya know)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi R.,
I am a teacher and let me tell you I have more bath and body works items than I know what to do with. I finally just threw away some of the stuff that was over 5 years old. I just can't use it all fast enough! I would also suggest don't buy those things that say world's best teacher. Some teachers love that stuff, but personally I never knew what to do with it. My favorite gifts were ones that I know the students and parents tried to figure out what I liked. It showed thoughtfulness! For example I am not a huge coffee drinker (I much prefer tea) so one year a student gave me two beautiful mugs and some different types of tea. I think that was one of my top 5 favorite presents. It was very simple, but it was so sweet to see how my student and her family took the time to know about who I was. That being said though you can never go wrong with gift cards. One year it is because of the generosity of the parents that I was able to buy presents for my family. Maybe see if other parents want to go in with you and you can make a gift card basket! If your school has a scrip program buy a scrip gift card and then they can choose which gift cards they would like. Anyway, I know that you received many ideas so hopefully they have been helpful.

1 mom found this helpful

Generally all the parents get together and buy a gift card or something similar. See if you can send notes home with the kids & organize it if you're up to it. Otherwise, I'd say gift cards are best because they can purchase whatever they need. Take care, C.

1 mom found this helpful

Well, I'm a teacher, and my favorite gifts are ones the children help to make. I love homemade Christmas ornaments, cookies the child helped to bake, or any gift which incorporates a photo of the child. It's not that gift cards, soap, or candy aren't nice--but they just get used up. The ornaments I get out each year, and think of the children who made them, and I enjoy that.

1 mom found this helpful

$15 Starbuck's or Jamba card

1 mom found this helpful

Hi R.,

My sister-in-law is a teacher and she has about all the mugs, paper weights, bags, and t-shirts she could ever use. Also, every year she gets enough chocolate to share with the entire school.

The best gifts are coffee gift certs, teacher supply store certs, books for the classroom, or a gift cert to a department store where she can pick out something she would not normally buy herself.

We have given gift certs to all of our kids teachers and also books. They have been so grateful that they did not get another "best teacher" thing to fill the cabinet with all the others from past years.

D.

1 mom found this helpful

hi R.!
i have a 4 year old, and i have a little online etsy shop
www.rachel323.etsy.com

and i make vintage jewelry and lip balm. i end up sending some lip balm with her to school in a little tiny bag form them and they love it. i have noticed that even though it's small, they love to be thought of. it makes them feel so special. another time we had given them a little $5.oo starbucks gift card. also a big hit.

happy holidays!

1 mom found this helpful

Definitely something consumable. We give Tastefully Simple Gourmet products. Candles may also be a good idea. The new Soy candles are fabulous!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, I am a teacher and a mom to a 2nd grader, kindergartner and a 1 1/2 year old. Each year, we like to combine a gift card with a homemade gift. I cut out cardstock in the shape of a bookmark, have the kids decorate it, and then have it laminated (only costs few dollars for an entire sheet at Office Depot). Then I attach a pretty ribbon to the top with a jingle bell and include it with a gift card to the local bookstore. Have fun with it!

1 mom found this helpful

After teaching for 20years and having enough nic nacs I finally asked my room mom to send a note asking that each child that wants to contribute send $3 in an envelope with her name on it and then she gets me a gift card to an office supply place so that I can buy a new heavy duty electric pencil sharpener and stapler. The pencil sharpener costs over $50 so it is too much for one person. I go through these items each year teaching first grade and usually have to spend my own money.
Teachers desperately need help with these sorts of things.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi there
We have bought restaurant gift ctfs for teachers in the past and they loved it.. (doesn't have to be anywhere fancy) and remember, they can add on to it too at the restaurant. Do this only if you have a sense of where the teacher might like to go as we did our son's teacher.
Additionally, our son's kinder teacher used to go to yoga, you could purchase a few classes ... OR put together a nice gift basket.. I've done that plenty of times. sometimes I make it an Italian theme and buy "good" pasta and some wine.. and other goodies such as italian cookies or a chocolate theme.
Best of luck to you!!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi R.,
Happy Holidays by the way! A note celebrating their special teaching and caring traits and how it has impacted your child is first and foremost! If that is all you can afford, words are priceless and long lasting, especially to a teacher. Your son can draw a picture for teacher and assistant too. Homemade anything is always appreciated, just mention nuts, eggs and wheat these days with the heavy amounts of allegies on the gift tag just in case.My son is in K this year and daughter in preschool. I have alway given Starbuck's gift certificates (enough for 2-3 drinks this year) and definately to the assistant. We also have given to speech, OT etc so it gets to be a lot. This year, a mom in our class is organizing a gift card tree..and it allows people to reuse ones they may not if they are in a pinch and do not have extra cash like so many people do this year. I bought movie tickets at Costco this year for teacher as I know that is a treat.

1 mom found this helpful

Classroom books are a great idea, Do NOT get any apple-themed tchotckes or knick knacks or coffee mugs. A Starbucks gift card or small gift card from a bookstore would be appreciated as well.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi R.!

I have given my boys' Teachers gifts each year, and it really depends on the Teacher. If my boys do not have a "great idea" and something they have their "mind-set" on for a gift, then I go for a Chritmas Item, Cookies, or something Holiday-ish. Last year, my son wanted to get his Kindergarten Teacher a couple of games for her classroom, so I did. This year he wants to give his teacher a Pink, ruffly shirt??!!! And if we can find one....we will :o)

I don't think it matters what gift you give your child's teacher. I truly think it's the thought that counts. I've seen others give coffee cards, and even someone gave a microwave before.

I think it all can be appropriate, it depends on the budget of the family and the needs of the teacher. Anything you give your son's teacher will be perfect!

Happy Holidays!

~N. :o)

1 mom found this helpful

When my children were in grade school both in Canada and at the international schools in Vienna, I got the teachers special supplies for Christmas. Every teacher has to provide and stickers and stamps that they use. All kids love stickers and it can cost quite a bit out of the teacher's own pocket for these fun things.
You can also provide scrapbooking supplies that the teachers can use with the kids - scizzors and punches and even special papers.

1 mom found this helpful

I'm a teacher and I love personal notes/cards the best too. Over the years, the gifts fade in the mind, but most teachers keep sweet notes from students forever to look through. It doesn't cost much, but it matters the most!

1 mom found this helpful

I was just reading all the responses. I am not a teacher, well I do teach Sunday School, but was just thinking...what would I want, I think what I hear from my teacher friends is supplies---we just had this happen to us with Sunday School teachers, and we were like cool new colors :)new scissors... also a cool gift we got once was someone donated in our name to a charity and they gave us an ornament stating we have donated to XXX in your name. I still remember this.
Merry Christmas!

1 mom found this helpful

Coming from a teacher... Gift cards! Either to a restaurant, or teacher supply store, or a movie theater. It is very thoughtful of you to think about your son's teacher! We appreciate that!

1 mom found this helpful

Our teachers took a vote this year and requested no gifts. Instead of gifts they did not need they asked all the students and parents to consider donating either money or food to the local food pantries in their name. This was a way that they felt we could all truly help the people that needed it most this holiday season. the kids/parents were told to send it in to the school or drop it off themselves and then they could write a note to the teacher telling them why they did it etc. What a great way to help in this economy and such a good thing to teach our children.
Hope this helps.
Allison (mom of 9,7,2 and one due any day)

1 mom found this helpful

I have been a teacher for 17 years and have always appreciated student made cards. Books or games for the classroom are a great idea. I still have Christmas ornaments from kids who are adults now. I have ditched all of the mugs and regifted bath and body soaps/lotions, chocolates, and candles, although I have appreciated the thought and effort put into everything. There are no rules to gift giving. It's never expected, but it does make a teacher feel good.

1 mom found this helpful

As a teacher, I appreciate anything my students give me, especially when they make the card (very personal touch), which I model for them by painting or drawing a personal card for each of them before school starts, Christmas, birthday, and end of year.

Many of my students find out what I enjoy in my personal life and have provided gift cards for those places. I've really appreciated that because I have choice in what I buy or when I use it.

Have your son or you notice if she walks in with a Starbucks or Pete's coffee cup, does she have a Noah's bagel's bag. Where does she get her hair cut? (That's an easy one...just offer a compliment and ask her where she gets it done.) I really loved that gift card! One year the kids found out where I worked out and paid for a personal trainer for 6 sessions. Find out what hobby she has and gift card to support that.

When my daughter was in 1st grade, she wasn't sure what to get her teacher, so we bought her a gift card to get gift ____@____.com loved it.

At first we thought about a Visa gift card, but they are more challenging, unless you use them all at once. You have to keep track of how much is left on the card. If your purchase if $5.01 and the card has $3.99, it will not be accepted. It has to be the exact amount.

Hope that helps.
Stephanie

1 mom found this helpful

Gift certificate! A starbucks gift certificate for $5 is perfect. When I worked in a classroom this was always our (teachers) favorite gift from parents.

1 mom found this helpful

If the parents don't all get together to chip in for a gift card, I always make the teacher a coffee or tea basket. I put a pound of coffee in a basket with a mug and a $10.00 Starbucks gift certificate. They always love it. At least they say they do-smile!

1 mom found this helpful

You might want to check with some other families. At our school usually one parent collects money and contributes to a Visa gift cards... even though you do have to keep count it gives the teacher lots of flexibility. We also give something extra to the teachers. I am also a teacher and I love the homemade cards and treats (My family loves them) and for a family on a budget it is a great project to do with your kids. The rule of thumb is what ever you are comfortable with. Teachers always loved to know they are appreciated by the families and any token shows that.

1 mom found this helpful

Hand made soap at the soap making place in Palo Alto. Kids can make their own soaps and it's a great teacher gift, one for the principal, a special aide ... whatever. It's handmade from your child, but it's still "consumable" so it gets used!

1 mom found this helpful

For Valentines one year my mom made giant heart shaped sugar cookies and frosted/decorated them. Wrapped them in plastic wrap and they were a big hit. The same could be done with a christmas tree or snowman. Just thought I'd give you another idea.

1 mom found this helpful

As a 17 year veteran teacher, the best gift I ever got was a gift certificate to the movies in a basket with some stickers, post it notes, and cool colored pens. I really appreciated it! Most teachers have PLENTY of coffee cups and teacher pins:)

I am a teacher...and I will tell you that anything is fabulous! The fact that you thought of them is great, and I personally don't expect to get anything so I am grateful for anything. However, Starbucks cards are always a great idea.

Go to Restaurant.com and sign up...you'll get emails with savings up to 80%!! You can print certificates for yourself to go to your favourite restaurant, or try a new one, but also you can use them as gift certificates - for use at any restaurant. I just printed one for each teacher and the two office ladies! I got four $25 certificates for a total cost to me of $8!! The 80% code for today is SANTA.

Ditto on the finding out if a collection is being taken (or start one), then purchase a gift card or certificate for massage or manicure. Also, Starbucks cards are appreciated.

I'm a teacher too--

Other ways parents have said thanks to me.

Lunch brought in at lunch time. A cup of Starbucks waiting for me when I arrive. Fresh cut flowers when available in a nice vase. A letter of appreciation.

baked goods are always a hit!

Definitely check with the room mom first to see if there will be a collection taken. We've moved a few times and I've found that different schools have different policies (some don't allow individual gifts, only group gifts so that kids don't feel bad that their gifts aren't as expensive as the next one; our current school doesn't allow room parents to collect $ so that no one feels pressured to give more than they can afford). My personal favorite to give is a "movie night bag" that includes a blockbuster gift card, a giant bag of M&M's (or xmas cookies) and a bag of microwave popcorn.

I guess call the principal first to see if there are any gift giving policies like others suggested but in my elementary school days, I would always just take a small ornament to the teacher - usually something having to do with teaching. I think any small token of appreciation is nice especially if it's a special teacher your child really likes. You could do a jar gift with ingredients for cookies in the jar and a recipe on the outside - something homemade is nice.

Last year I made scrapbooked paint cans with the teacher's names on them and filled them with candy. They were a big hit, as they were decorative and could be used to hold little items all year long. This year I got my K daughter's teacher a candle and bronze key of honor that say Patience and my 1st grade son's teacher one that say Respect.

By a bag of chocolate kisses and a mug at the dollar store, and some cellophane or tissue paper....problem solved. A frame from Walmart...plenty of stuff, mug and cocoa mix.

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