Holiday Gifts for Teachers - Grand Rapids,MI

Updated on November 27, 2013
E.H. asks from Grand Rapids, MI
18 answers

I have several teachers to gift this year, and I'm not sure which way to go. Do teachers prefer gift cards for classroom materials, gift cards for personal use, homemade goodies, or something else? I have 4 school teachers(2 men, 2 women), 5 Sunday school teachers (all women), and 3 dance teachers (all women) to buy for, so I don't want it to be too expensive either. I was also thinking about getting the school secretary a gift, too. Any suggestions?

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for the suggestions! I felt that the school teachers should get something for teaching my kids, plus I really like all of them. They have a really tough job teaching all of those kids, and I wanted them to know we appreciate them around the holidays. I went with giving the 4 school teachers a $10 gift card to places I know they like and a hand written card from my kids. I also felt that the dance teachers should see my appreciation since my daughter competes in dance. Those teachers give up their weekends throughout the year for extra rehearsals and competitions. They are great teachers and have tons of patience! I gave the 3 dance teachers a candle and a hand written card from my daughter as a small token of my appreciation. I skipped the Sunday school teachers because my kids only see them once a week, and not even every week. Plus it was getting to be too much. I probably could have had the kids write a card, but I didn't think of it soon enough before the holiday break. I think I'll have them do that at the end of the year instead! I have a couple candles left, so I might just send one to the school secretary. Thanks again everyone!

Featured Answers


answers from Norfolk on

My Mom taught 6th grade in public school for 30 years.
Trust me - they don't need/want any ornaments (or ties if they are male).
Starbucks gift cards are great and you can't go wrong with a vanilla candle.
Little bright flashlights always come in handy no matter who you give them to.
Cookies/candies/baked goods - not so much

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I always make personalized glass mugs and put a Starbucks gift card inside with a few chocolates. I love the Barnes and Noble idea though where they could use toward supplies or coffee! I might switch to that this year!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Toledo on

I just returned from Barnes and Noble with $150 worth of gift cards. I did $10 for each school teacher (and a speech teacher) $10 for the daycare teachers, and $5 for each of the Sunday School teachers. That didn't quite add up to $150, but you get $10 for every $75 you buy in gift cards, so I bought a gift card for myself.

I like gift cards that allow the teachers to treat themselves. Barns and Noble is one of my favorites, because they also have the cafe if they wish.

I would definitely consider one of the places that gives you a free gift card for buying a certain amount if gift cards.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Macon on

Gift cards. Hands down. I prefer giving a gift card to a place where the teacher can treat himself/herself to something nice, but some may be just as happy to get one for Target or somewhere else they can buy supplies.

If it feels too impersonal, have your child draw a picture or make a card and write a nice note to the teacher. If the child is too young to write, you can always write a note yourself. I promise those notes and drawings will be treasured far more than anything you could ever buy.

As the daughter of two teachers, I can tell you firsthand that although they appreciate getting homemade goodies, they get so many that it can be a nightmare for those counting calories. In some cases, the treats look dubious, so they end up discreetly throwing them away.

At the beginning of the school year, all the teachers at my son's school fill out a list of favorite stores, restaurants, things to do, etc. and then those are given to the room parents. Makes choosing the right gift card super easy.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbia on

I'm going to be the lone dissenter.

I personally think that whatever the gift is....should be from the student, not you. So if a mug is going to be painted, your child should be doing it. Sure, put a Starbucks card in there or some hot chocolate mix and a candy cane. Whatever. But really, why would you be the one coming up with the ideas when the gift is supposed to be from your child? Ask your child what their teacher likes and what they think they'd like to give each of them.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I am a teacher and my kids have 5 teachers in their class. I love getting either cash or gift cards for personal use. The school covers classroom materials. I don't expect anything though. I always give out thank you cards as soon as possible for gifts I do get. I actually do not like barnes an noble because I'm just not into reading. I got a TON last year for them and I actually just gave them to my kids to use. Places like target are great because there is always something I need there. We might be moving soon and so it's a great place to help out with moving expenses (things you might need like packing tape or a new trash can, shower curtain, bedding... lol)
I think I'm going to get my kids teachers gift cards, but I'm not sure for where yet.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

If one of the students I tutor is thoughtful enough to give me a gift, I always appreciate the thoughtfulness and creativity of the gift rather than the worth or its function.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

giftcards for movies, coffee shops, bookstores, amazon, etc. but that does get pricy. i've been a Sunday school teacher for years and get all kinds of stuff. The things I like are the home-made goodies - the things I don't like are candy dishes. I've had more Christmas candy dishes than i know what to do with. Homemade goodies can be easy - large pretzels dipped in chocolate for example.

But giftcards are best - chip in with a few friends.



answers from Washington DC on

Well, it depends on the teacher, certainly. My mother simply appreciated a gift and we have many cute ornaments from her former students. DD loves to paint and we do those wooden ornaments from a craft store - something personalized. Her main teachers will get nice insulated cups and something inside - not sure yet if I want to do a gift card or candy or coffee. I got the cups at the end of last year, knowing I'd find homes for them this year.

All the "specials" and the dance teacher will get ornaments. I completely forgot about her Sunday School teacher, but we'll do a little handmade something for her, too, as she's been DD's teacher for a couple of years. I do not plan to buy for the principal, secretary, etc. though I might buy handwarmers for the lady who waits for the buses every morning.

Last year we gave her preschool teachers gift cards to Target. They appreciated those.



answers from Rochester on

As a teacher, I prefer gift cards to teacher supply stores, bookstores, coffee shops, local bakeries, ice cream shops. As little as $5 is appreciated. Anything more than $10 and I start to feel uncomfortable. A bag of sticky notes, stickers, fun markers, white board markers, and other school supplies are also fun to get. Cute Christmas ornaments are fun to get too. Books for my classroom are also a great gift! In general, if it isn't books for my classroom I prefer things that I can use up. I NEVER expect gifts though.

I don't like getting scented candles, scented lotions, scented soaps, etc. I am sensitive to some scented things and most of them I really don't like the smell. Candy is OK. I'm a little iffy on homemade foods. If I don't know the family really well I am sometimes hesitant to eat it. Even if I know the family I might not eat it. With cold and flu season I don't like to chance it. (I also saw the kitchen full of cat hair where my own grandma used to bake cakes for people. Yuck!) I don't like getting knick-knack type things or personalized things. If I got 20 things like that ever year I would end up on Hoarders!

Last year my daughter's teacher had a new baby so we gave her a cute picture frame box that we found at a craft fair. For Sunday School teachers in the past we have given small stained glass window hangings that I found at our Christian bookstore. We have also given them cross shaped ornaments. Although I don't necessarily like to get homemade food items, I like to give them. I have given homemade bread, cookies, and candy. One year I also did home mixed meat rubs. For daycare teachers the kids have made ornaments. We have also given them small gift cards to our local ice cream shop. In general though, I give the same things that I prefer--gift cards, ornaments, books, classroom supplies.



answers from Dallas on

I used to get $10 gift cards to Target for each of the teachers and a card selected by and signed by child (sometimes made by child). I would also include a handwritten personal note of thanks from me. Sometimes we would go with a theme - in bygone days, we got Blockbuster gift cards and paired them with a bag or box of microwave popcorn or big boxes of theater style candy. We also used to do some baking, but now i would be reluctant since so many people are dieting, have food allergies, or have concerns about tampered with food. I think it is very nice to remember people like the school secretary, the crossing guards. They do a lot of things to help your child and usually get missed.



answers from New York on

Home baked goodies are always nice and thoughtful. Even if the teacher doesn't eat the goodies (dietary restrictions, etc), she can always share them with her family and coworkers or bring to a holiday party.

Gift cards are always nice. Unless you happen to know a particular coffee shop or specialty store they enjoy, stick with a large mass merchandiser like Target.

I still think one of the best gifts you can give a teacher is a heart felt personal note from you and your child.



answers from Las Vegas on

Wow, I think you are very generous to gift everyone for the holidays.

I wouldn't make it too extravagant. Perhaps some fun markers or pens to grade papers with or a couple of "Good Job" stickers or stamps should do it.



answers from San Francisco on

I generally do gift cards to Barnes & Noble or Amazon. This way, the teachers can get things for themselves if they want (which is what I hope they do - they deserve to treat themselves!) or something for the class if they prefer. I give $25 to the main teachers (son's first grade teacher and daughter's two preschool teachers). If there are other teachers I feel deserve gifts, I usually do a $10 Starbucks card. Unless your kids dance with the same teachers multiple times a week, I really don't think you need to spend money on gifts. Bake them something instead. It's just too much.


answers from New York on

something homemade from your child.
People go way too extravagant in my opinion!
The people we should thank:
- mailmen, garbagemen, classroom teachers, school bus drivers, extra curricular teachers and on and on.
I guess other people have more money than I do, it seems too carried away for what I can afford.
Also no offense to anyone but everyone working has a job that they are paid for. You have no need to expect gifts from people. Ronda X you're pretty rude! I'm sorry one of your student's mothers' were so rude to you.


answers from Houston on

I like pumpkin bread, banana bread, cookies. But a $5 gift card goes a long way. Really expensive gifts kind of make me feel 'bought', but the low cost gifts show me that you appreciate my attention to your child.

Nope, the heartfelt note alone is not good. That note should be sent when I, as a Dance Teacher, had to drive your child home because you did not meet the bus after the trip when you were supposed to--and when I got to your home, there were two cars on the driveway...

Add the note to the batch of cookies and I will definitely taste the appreciation!



answers from Phoenix on

Last year I bought our teachers bracelets I found in this really cute store in Georgia while visiting my parents. I have no idea what we will do this year. Money is super tight and I haven't even started shopping for our 6 kids or close family.



answers from Detroit on

I think homemade stuff is always nice. There are a ton of ideas on pinterest for teacher gifts. I wouldn't do gift cards. It's too impersonal.
I coached soccer for the fall season. What made it rewarding was the kids themselves and the small things the parents would say. An email here, an overheard compliment there-that is what goes a long way. Perhaps a homemade gifts with a note about what makes them an excellent (dance, Sunday school) teacher?

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