Teacher Gifts for the Holidays

Updated on November 20, 2008
D.R. asks from Chicago, IL
59 answers

I am looking for unique, creative ideas for my kid's preschool and kindergarten teachers for the holidays -- and trying to get an early start!! ANY IDEAS -- thanks!!

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So What Happened?

Thanks to everyone for the great ideas! I love the idea of doing something personal for her -- and something for the classroom. I am going to do a notecard with my son's art on it, a gift card for something personal and purchase some requested books from Scholastic for the classroom! I also like doing something charitable -- I am going to use that idea at some point this season!! Thank you!!

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D.J.

answers from Chicago on

When my daughter was in first grade, I got the plastic popcorn boxes out of the Target Dollar Aisle, one for each person in her family, a gift card for Blockbuster, and some big boxes of candy and wrapped it up to enjoy a night at home with her family. She loved it.

Gift cards are great, for coffee, etc. the bookstore, teacher store, office store, etc.

My daughter had a teacher that was new to teaching so for her, as a class, we got several games to be used for indoor recess.

Note cards are nice too!

2 moms found this helpful
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M.B.

answers from Chicago on

I know this sounds terrible, but as a former teacher the gifts I liked the best were gift certificates. Sad, but true.

1 mom found this helpful
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S.S.

answers from Chicago on

I agree with the PP's...no ornaments or mugs. I know it is the thought that counts, but as a teacher, we get so many of these. The gift card is the way to go. I also received personalized thank you cards one year. That was great because I always write thank you notes to my students. Thanks for thinking of the teachers!

1 mom found this helpful

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N.G.

answers from Chicago on

Coming from a teacher - gift certificate to a car wash - especially with the salt in the winter.

2 moms found this helpful
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K.K.

answers from Chicago on

As a former teacher, I must say the best gifts are gift certificates that the teacher can use int he classroom. Teachers spend so much of their own money on things for the students that a staples gift cert or target or something is very welcome. Of course, I taught in the city and had no supplies. If your in the burbs and the school is overflowing with resources, then you can give basically anything....

1 mom found this helpful
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J.D.

answers from Decatur on

Hey D..............

good for you for thinking of the teachers. I know from past experience that giving "teacher" gifts isn't the best something. Alot of the teachers also stated that perfume wasn't exactly it either. Quite a few years ago, Hme interiors had a candle holder that you could kinda put together yourself,wrap with a candle ring,add a votive and good to go. I believe it was under $10 and all the teachers the kids had that year were ecstatic. Something different and useful for the home. It was a candle stick base,you pick the votive holder and candle ring. they were awesome. If you have a home interior decorater in your area ( neighborhood,school mom or work friend) they can surely help you with putting together. Or if not a hobby lobby or the like would probably have something similar. Good luck...........J.

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S.S.

answers from Chicago on

I agree with everyone else regarding gift cards, especially to Barnes & Noble or to Borders. I am a teacher & when I receive gift cards to a book store, I share them with my 8 year old son. Sure, the gift was for me, but making sure my son loves reading as much as I do, is important to me. Other gift cards that I have appreciated were: favorite restaurant, gas & car wash, throw blanket with a gift card for a video store, and gift cards to teachers stores like Chalkboard. My students get so excited when I bring in a new activity! It renews interest in my students. So, if you go that route, you're not only letting your child's teacher know they are appreciated, your child is benefitting from it as well!
Take Care!
S.

1 mom found this helpful
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N.P.

answers from Chicago on

Hi! I actually got this one yesterday from a friend. This is a homemade gift however I want my son to make part of his teacher's gift. Get cookie cutters, put a ribbon or rope on it to hang, have your child roll peanut butter and bird seed together and put it in the middle of the cookie cutter. It is a mini bird feeder. I guess bird's really like it. Anyway, if you hear any good one's would you mind sharing. Thanks!

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T.W.

answers from Chicago on

Hi! Maybe this is dumb, but in this economy, and with my cousins both being teachers, I tried donating to a cause in my kids' teacher's name. I did it for the first time last year, and my son's teacher seemed very thankful! Not that the teachers aren't thankful for the gifts they receive, but just imagine receiving 30 some ornaments or so. There are so many needy people and organazations out there, so I'm sticking with that again this year! I actually got the idea from my son's preschool. They usually pick a charity, and ask those of us who were wanting to send in gifts, to donate to the charity they have chosen!

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T.A.

answers from Chicago on

As a teacher myself, i can't tell you how much "stuff" is given that honestly is a nice gesture but does not get used, is given away or tossed (sad to say). I think the best gift any student can give is a nice note from the child and maybe a gift card to Panera or somewhere near your school for lunch. Just my thought but an honest one!

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M.R.

answers from Chicago on

I'm a teacher and I will make suggestions as to what NOT to get:

-candles of any type (unless you know they love candles and a wide variety of fragrances)

-knick-knacks or tchotkes (unless they have some special significance related to your child), after a 35 year career imagine how many curio cabinets one could fill with the stuff

-apples (my mom was an elementary school teacher for 35 years and we could literally fill a separate Christmas tree with the apple ornaments received over the years)

My take on gift cards - bring it on! The $5 card is just as good as any other amount; it's the thought that counts. Some people think that they are too impersonal and require no thought, but at least I *know* it is something I can use.

Please don't forget the kids' special teachers too - art, music, gym - as they, too are important people in your childrens' lives.

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A.S.

answers from Peoria on

As a teacher, I can say that parents and teachers have given me very thoughtful things over the years. It is always nice to be thought of and pampered. This year, however, I sent a note home asking parents who normally buy teacher gifts to please consider donating more than their usual portion to our canned food drive in lieu of buying me a gift. For your teacher, you may consider donating to a child charity in her/his honor.

If you really want to give something tangible, gift cards to somewhere relaxing/delicious are always wonderful. Last year I was able to get Starbucks several times, visit a premiere bakery, and go to a free movie all on my students. It was great.

Another nice idea is for your child to either make or pick out something on their own so he/she can tell the teacher just that. Your child will be ear to ear. Sometimes a plate of homemade Christmas cookies made by the family is the most personal gift.

No matter what you do, your child's teacher will be thankful that you thought of him/her. Thanks for supporting our profession!

A.

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D.V.

answers from Chicago on

Don't know what you want to spend. She is in Montgomery, yet she does ship. She makes gift baskets, but the ones I like are the ones that are made with a Holiday kitchen towel with some goodies that you would choose. They range in many price areas. You can custome design them. They are a totally useful gift, unique,& affordable

www.funinabasket.net

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P.R.

answers from Chicago on

I know this is lame but a gift certificate is always a good bet. I am a teacher so I am speaking from first-hand experience!!! Now that my son is in preschool and I am on the giving end this time, I always give a gift cert. to Lettuce Entertain You (spend $100 then you get one for you too) so that they can treat themselves to a special meal. They were always my favorite gift to receive - since salaries are low it was nice to be able to enjoy a dinner thanks to a special family.

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R.O.

answers from Chicago on

Hi D. ~

I gave my boys Teacher's Personalized Paint Cans ~ I filled it with Notepads and a Personalized Checkbook Cover I make Linen Sprays and added Ornies to it. They LOVED it!

Go to www.SeasonalTouch.us she got GREAT stuff!!

Good Luck!
R.

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A.H.

answers from Springfield on

I've always read that gift cards to educational stores are appreciated. Reason being that a lot of teachers must buy supplies for their classrooms out of pocket. That's what I'm doing for my son's pre-k teacher. Hope this helps!

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S.M.

answers from Chicago on

As a teacher, I can vouch for the gift card idea. I am fully appreciative of any gift that is given to me by a student no matter how big or how small. One year, I received so many Starbucks cards that I did not have to buy my own coffee for four months.

Tastefully Simple (or similar products) have been a favorite, as well. Although I have never received a homemade scarf, I like that idea!

Please know that whatever you do, the teacher will appreciate your time, energy and thoughts at this busy time of year!

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N.S.

answers from Chicago on

What I did for my daughter last year for pre-school is buy those foam magnet kits from Oriental Trading and have her make them for her teachers, they loved them!! It wasn't very expensive and she had fun doing them.

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M.C.

answers from Chicago on

As the mother of teachers and a once religious ed teacher, consumable gifts are best. If teacher has a family, it kind of says thank you to her children for her time spent away from them. Teachers get a lot of mugs, choc covered cherries, ornaments, plaques. Buy treats that are high quality, what she might not buy for herself. One of my favorites, the peppermint bark from that kitchen store, jelly-bellies, caramel corn, fudge. A few of something of high quality is better than a lot of something common.

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A.R.

answers from Chicago on

D., I will weigh in on this one. I was a teacher and every year I would get gifts and first I have to say I really appreciated the thoughtfulness. Having said that, they were usually things that were not my taste. Teachers do not make much money so I loved getting gift cards. I know that doesn't feel creative but I felt like it was a real treat because I could go out and spend money on me without feeling guilty. I also loved getting cards where the parent expressed some specific appreciation for what I had done for their child and family. When I had a hard day I would reread these and get a boost.

Thanks for thinking of your child's teachers. I am sure you are a great parent to work with. A.

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D.S.

answers from Chicago on

I have several friends who are teachers and they go crazy over gift cards. One has a mug cabinet and complains that she can't get rid of them but they waste too much space. Baked goods and candy do not go over well either. Without being harsh, cash (gift cards) is king, in any amount.

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N.C.

answers from Chicago on

Last year one of my kiddos gave me a car wash gift card and a coffee shop gift card (they are located right next to each other) I think it was origanial and thoughtful!

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C.G.

answers from Bloomington on

Hi! If you're looking for a new gift idea, go to my website www.scentsy.com/cgreenlee I sell flameless, wickless, candle alternatives that are 100% safe and free of liability. Some local schools by me have no problem with their teachers burning a Scentsy warmer in the classroom, as there is no chance of fire! Just an idea! If you have any questions, don't hesitate to e-mail me!

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J.P.

answers from Peoria on

Gift cards can get expensive when you have several teachers and coaches to buy for but they are a great gift. You could also talk to the other parents in the class about each pitching in so much to do a group gift card to the same place.

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M.G.

answers from Chicago on

My kids are now 12 and 10...so we have been around school long enough to know what teachers really want. We have found that some teachers really appreciate a gift certificate to their favoriate store, restaurant, etc. Some teachers love to get books for their classroom from the Book Fair at school. Ask the librarian for help. They will know who wants what. Other teachers appreciate items for their classrooms that are non renewable, i.e., pencils, glue, etc. Teachers end up spending a lot of their own money for class room projects. I have found that any amount spend or given in greatly appreciated. Hope this helps. Happy Holidays!

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A.B.

answers from Chicago on

I sell Tastefully Simple and I gave my kid's teachers some items last year and they all loved it. Who doesn't like food items or things that make their lives a little easier?

A.

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S.T.

answers from Chicago on

I am a preschool teacher and received one of these last year. It was a wine bottle with a small string of white christmas lights inside. It had the plug coming out of the top with a cork in it. Then it had a ribbon and bow tied around the top with a group of artificial grapes hanging from it. I loved it. Another great useful teacher gift is a gift card. To Panera or Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts and give it inside a small basket or something that can also be useful.
Just an idea.

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K.S.

answers from Chicago on

A great gift that any female teacher would like are little gift packages that come ready to give of an Arbonne product. They are skin products that are natural and great. Contact my friend, Janice for information. Her e-mail is [email protected]____.com I use lots of this stuff year round and it's great...the packages I'm talking about for gifts are $15.00 or less Gift cards are nice also, HOWEVER, be VERY CAREFUL where you buy them...with so many stores going out of business suddenly, get a "mall card" or someplace you are SURE will still be in business a few months from now

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A.M.

answers from Chicago on

Coming from a former elementary teacher, stay away from candles, chocolate, and Christmas decorations. I used to get an abundance of them! Gift certificates are great:) I also liked stationery or cute teacher thank you cards because they always came in handy.

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E.H.

answers from Chicago on

Having been a teacher I can tell you my fav. gifts! Gift cards to Barnes and Noble, gift card to restaurants, special ornaments from the child (with a name on the bottom to always remember them), something for the classroom (some teachers have wish lists and spend their own money on stuff for the room and your child), once I got a visa gift card for the mall. These were the best gifts!

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K.S.

answers from Chicago on

I am a past preschool teacher and I loved the personal gifts. One year I got a blanket all the kids made me (with the help of a grandparent.) On the one side it had all the kids handprints and names and on the other truck fabric. It was the best gift and now my children use it every day and it reminds me of that great class of students! Good Luck!

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S.B.

answers from Rockford on

I work in the schools and have friends that are teachers and they love gift cards. They also like a gift certificate ro the 3 R's that means that what they buy will go right back into the classroom. I am doing that for my kids teachers and one of my friends said to put her on that list.

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M.K.

answers from Chicago on

I used to make up a gift bag with some pasta and some sauce and a package of cookies, and then one little non-food thing to accompany the dinner, like a little snowman candle

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J.J.

answers from Chicago on

Hi and i am glad that you are asking this question because i am a preschool teacher for over twenty years and for the most part we are just happy that you trust us enough with your child that you show us your appreciation by giving us a gift. But i will say one thing we do like personalized gifts that represent us and how it can help in out classroom. We do like "smell goods" and we like things that come from the heart most of all. I will ask one thing please do not buy a mug. As i sit in my bedroom i am looking at 10 precious mugs that was given by my wonderful families and that is not counting the ones that are in my kitchen. Don't get me wrong I love every gift that was ever given to me and i adore everyone but we do like more than mugs. I hope this helped a little if so give me a holla.

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L.S.

answers from Chicago on

Teachers make so little money for what they do it is really sad. My sister-in-law just graduated from college in the spring and is working in MI as a teacher. She started at $22,000 and has to buy a ton of stuff on her own for her classroom.

If gift cards are out of the question, purchase your child's favorite book for the classroom. Teacher's are always looking for great books.

One other idea...ask the teacher if there is anything she/he needs for the classroom. Perhaps bring everyone together and purchase a large item for the classroom that the teacher can use for years to come.

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V.L.

answers from Chicago on

I suggest a gift card to Barnes & Noble or Borders and or another one to someplace like Bath & Body Works. That way she can get something for her classroom and something for herself. Even a $5 gift card helps as it's $5 she doesn't have to shell out of her own money. Another suggestion is a gift certificate to the Chalkboard.

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R.H.

answers from Chicago on

I make 100% Soy wax candles and my kids have been giving them for the past few years, and had been a big hit. Have another teacher what fragrance he/she likes, and that way it will be a surprise when the teacher opens your childs gift instead of knowing what is in it already.

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S.D.

answers from Chicago on

I read this with the intention of offering advice and picked up some good tips! I like the thank-you cards idea.

My daughter is in preschool and we get hand lotion for all her teachers. It's not as personal as say a body wash. Teachers are constantly washing their hands and lotion comes in handy during the winter months. The teachers can either bring them home for themselves (or to regift -- I'm not offended!) or put them near the sink at school. I've seen them do it, and the teachers always comment how much they go through hand lotion. I mentioned this to a cousin and she's going to do the same thing for her three kids' teachers.

You can pick up hand creams and lotions anywhere obviously, but I like to use coupons for Ulta or Bath & Body Works because then I get the benefits, too (both in loyalty cards and more coupons!).

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J.K.

answers from Chicago on

I thought this looked like a good idea. My son has a teacher and an aid and 2 therapists at school and 2 therapist out of school so we need to do something really low cost. I feel too cheap giving gift cards under $10 and don't want to spend $60 on all those people.

http://organizedchristmas.com/recipe-confetti-bean-soup

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K.B.

answers from Chicago on

Not so much a unique gift, but a gift card would be appreciated. I used to teach elementary school for two years before I had my son, and in those two years I got so many ornaments, mugs, etc. Teachers do appreciate the thought and gift, but they get SO many of the normal teacher gifts. Also, maybe a basket of little supplies from the teacher supply store. Teachers spend a lot of their own money on those types of things (stickers, stamps, pencils to give away for prizes, etc.)

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S.S.

answers from Chicago on

I have the best Holiday pins that make great Teacher gifts. They are only $9.95 and come in a nice box. There is a snowman, a reindeer and a Christmas tree. There is also a bracelet with snowflakes on it. I give them to the dance teacher, preschool teacher and my babysitter. They love them! They are beautiful on a black coat.

Check out my website and see all them. Everything is of wonderful quality and backed by a lifetime guarantee. If you buy two pins, you can choose any 4 items for half price. It's a great way to holiday shop. Good luck!
www.liasophia.com/staceys

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T.M.

answers from Chicago on

As a teacher in "temporary retirement," I highly recommend NOT getting those typical teacher gifts. Go for giftcards (Starbucks, local delivery lunch places, etc) personal products (Satin Hands lotion, etc) or even the basic picture frame or things you'd like for yourself. Forget she's a teacher and get her a gift as you would a friend. I PROMISE - this gift will be her favorite!!!!!! If all else fails - a giftcard to the local teacher supply store or WalMart/Target.

G.A.

answers from Chicago on

last year i gave my son teacher a gift card to target and the year before that i gave her a personlized coffee mug that read the best preschool teacher in the world but if you like other ideas ask your children they sometimes have the best ideas. GOOD LUCK FINDING YOUR GIFT :-)

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M.R.

answers from Chicago on

I give gift cards to a local coffe/gift shop.

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M.M.

answers from Chicago on

I have some great ideas for inexpensive gifts $6 and under - you can purchase through my home - based business. Call me about my great kitchen tools - ###-###-#### or email me at [email protected]____.com
M. in Elk Grove Village

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L.C.

answers from Chicago on

Gift cards are always appreciated (esp. to a coffee place if they drink coffee or the Teacher Store on Milwaukee), but I always liked personal gifts when I taught. A few good ones I got were: a large bowl filled with candy, popcorn and a gc to a movie theater, a cookie jar and matching mugs in a winter theme stuffed with things to make cookies, and a hat/glove/scarf combo for those chilly recesses! Even just a nice written card is so appreciated!

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M.W.

answers from Chicago on

I like to give Tastefully Simples Nana's apple cake wrapped in a nice see-thru bag along with a granny smith apple and a couple walnuts(in their shells). Another gift I like to give is a giant latte mug w/Starbucks gift card or candy, flavored hot chocolates inside along with a note "thanks alatte!" Inexpensive and something the teachers will use. Good Luck!!

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B.D.

answers from Chicago on

I sell Homemade Gourmet and I prepare gift baskets for the holidays. My childrens teachers LOVE receiving "goodies" from HG each year!

The baskets I make are all custom to fit your budget. Let me know if you are interested.

:)

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K.N.

answers from Chicago on

As a teacher I beg anyone who reads this please give a gift card. You don't know how many ornaments, candles, hot chocolate mugs, lotions, etc.... never get used!!!
We would rather have a $5 gift card than a $10-$20 gift we will never use :)

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K.B.

answers from Chicago on

I also have knit scarves and a purse (super easy from Knitty gritty on diy network). Last year I purchased a self inking stamp with their name so they could identify their books, games, etc. I packaged it with a homemade set of thank you notes, but purchased ones I think would be just as thoughtful .
I love getting an early start as well!

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E.D.

answers from Chicago on

In my "former life" before being a SAHM, I was a teacher and it's not unique, but totally appreciated were gift cards. It was always something I wanted and needed. I love being able to choose rather than being presented with another trinket or lotion I hated the scent of. Just a thought...

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B.S.

answers from Rockford on

In the past I have given tastefully simple or MK satin hands, but this year we are making homemade cocoa & marshmellows for the teachers & bus driver. It's gonna be a cold one this year & I think that the cocoa will be a big hit. My kids love it & it really comes from the heart.

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M.B.

answers from Chicago on

I teach Early Childhood Special Education. A few gift ideas that I love are: resuable cloth shopping bags, gift certificates, home-made goodies.

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K.T.

answers from Chicago on

Hi. I have been baking cookies and treats for my son's teachers since kindergarten. Every year I come up with 3 different recipes and then I package them up in cello bags or tins I buy from Walgreens, put them in a gift bag, add tissue and give a homemade gift. This way the gift is disposable, the teacher is not getting another mug or candle he/she does not need and can enjoy something good to eat and possibly share with their family. If you can find out from the teachers their favorite items, books, restaurants, etc you can buy $5 and $10 gift cards to give them to really enjoy. Thank-you cards are also a great gift since they have to send out thank-you's to all the kids who gave them gifts. Williams Sonoma and Trader Joe's sell Peppermint Bark which is everyone's favorite. Last year I gave gave my son's teacher a big bag of fresh pasta, a jar or gourmet sauce, an olive wood spoon, a dish towel and a christmas cd. She loved it and said that the whole family listened to the music while making dinner that they all enjoyed together. It was a disposable gift, the whole family enjoyed and they were all pasta lovers. Plus she got to keep the towel and spoon, which anyone can always use in the kitchen.

I hope some of these ideas help.

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L.H.

answers from Chicago on

Coming from a family of teachers, I agree that we don't need another ornament or mug; storage becomes an issue. I started buying the dip mix trio package from tastefully simple, putting it in a serving dish, buying some fancy holiday spreaders, and then adding homemade cookies or cakes (home baked items are yummy) and wrapping it with cellophane and topping it off with a wire ribbon tied in a huge bow. It doesn't cost much, and I give to all the special teachers like art,gym etc. For her homeroom teacher, I add a gift card to Starbucks, Bath & BOdy or Dunkin Doughnuts. Teachers don't have time or money, so the things that help with one of those issues are best! Thanks for caring.

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C.B.

answers from Chicago on

Hi D.,

I love the 'Willow Tree' statues, they have one called 'The Angel of Learning'.

C.

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L.B.

answers from Chicago on

I sell Pampered Chef and have some great ideas if you are interested. Email me at [email protected]____.com

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N.P.

answers from Chicago on

I buy all the teaching staff that has anything to do with my daughter a toffee chocolate dipped caramel apple from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. They all love it. The secretaries, crossing guard, custodians and lunch ladies all get a bag of chocolates from there. Then the primary teacher gets a gift card to somewhere. I have done the Chalkboard (teaching store), Oberweiss (Shake of the month club) and other places.

N.

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J.H.

answers from Chicago on

After doing teachers gifts for over 25 years and still having another 10 more years of them to go... I highly recommend the gift card route... There's only so many little cups, plates, decorations a teacher can house... Unless you are giving something homemade, like food.. I'd stick to something a teacher can consume, Starbucks, Best Buy, Panera Bread..... Put the card into a cute little Mitten with a bow to hang it from a tree.

If you like to knit... a fast scarf of poofy yarn is always a hit. They aren't hard and with size 10 or 11 needles, you can whip up one in a couple hours. If you can't knit... I'll have to show you, or you can go online and look for videos in the yarn sites.
Good Luck!
J.

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