I can’t remember if teacher gifts were a thing when I was a kid. I know the most they ever got from me was a flower picked from the garden and wrapped in wet paper towel. Haha! But I feel like it’s appropriate to give a small token of our appreciation to the teachers who work so hard helping our kids learn and grow.
Do teachers expect gifts? Not necessarily. I’m sure they expect a few students will bring them something, but I don’t think they count on it or are wracked with disappointment if not every child has a gift for them. But it’s a nice gesture if you can swing it. So in order to avoid scrambling at the last minute for an acceptable gift, I’ve compiled a list of 11 awesome teacher gift ideas to refer back to.
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What Can I Gift a Teacher?
There are a few criteria I like to follow when it comes to teacher gifts. First, unless you know the teacher and their tastes very well, steer clear of anything too specific. So no decor, books or jewellery. You kind of need to pick something generic unless you know the teacher very well.
Instead, try to stay in the theme of ‘consumables’, things that will get eaten or otherwise used up. That way, if they don’t find the item to their taste, they will still appreciate the sentiment and then they can re-gift it. It’s a win either way.
I think it’s nice to try to involve the children too, either in picking something out or in making a card. It adds a nice personal touch.
I find coming up with what to give a teacher for Christmas much easier than end of year teacher gifts. At Christmas you’ve got the big wide world of ornaments to choose from and local craft fairs in abundance to do your shopping at!
(If you’re also looking for an end of year gift for your kiddo, check out this post of 52 non-toy gift ideas for kids!)
How Much Should You Spend on a Teacher Gift?
There’s no hard and fast rule on how much to spend. It really varies from person to person. Some years we’ve only been able to swing a 10$ gift card, other years we’ve done $20.
Honestly I think teachers will appreciate the gesture and thoughtfulness more than the monetary value of the gift. So just do what feels right to you!
On the flip side of that question, I think it’s important to steer clear of very extravagant gifts too. It could cause some awkwardness if the teacher feels uncomfortable at how much money was spent. Not to mention that kids see everything. If a child sees their friend give the teacher a large gift basket full of expensive products and all they give her is a homemade card, that child will feel bad. We don’t want that.
Thank You Teacher Gifts
Teachers work so hard on behalf of our children. Their jobs are so challenging. I think it’s nice to show that we appreciate their dedication and determination with a small token.
Here are the 11 best teacher gift ideas that I could dream up! The categories are fairly broad and definitely leave a lot of room open for more personalization. 🙂
1. Something Edible
Have the kids help you make a batch of cookies or fudge. A box of chocolates is never a bad idea, or a jar of homemade (or locally bought) preserves. And who doesn’t love an apple pie? Can’t go wrong there!
Food stuffs are easily shared around in the teacher’s lounge room too!
And this works great at Christmas time too when we all need a selection of treats on hand for unexpected guests.
2. Potted Plant
Ok, I know this isn’t a consumable, but it’s easily re-gifted or it’s something they can keep in the classroom. Think of plants that require very minimal care like a succulent or an air plant. If you’re interested in a DIY teacher gift, I’ve got a tutorial & free pattern set for a trio of felt succulents that you can craft!
3. Monogrammed Gifts
Yes I’m indulging in a little shameless self-promotion. 😀 But these letter ornaments are my most popular item, especially at Christmas. I spend a solid 6 weeks making nothing else and I give one each to the boys’ teachers every year!
Other monogrammed options could include mugs, notebooks or keychains.
4. Movie Tickets
These days I think you can only get a gift card for the movie theatre, but it sounds better to say you gave/got movie tickets!
You could also include a small basket of treats like M&Ms and gummy bears for them to sneak into the theatre.
If you have a local live theatre in your community, tickets to a play would be a great gift too.
A nice mix of teas that aren’t readily available at the grocery store would be lovely. Especially if they come in pretty packaging and are called things like Soothing Green Sencha! Teachers need all the soothing they can get!
Check out this post for DIY Reusable Fabric Gift Bags, perfect for gifting tea and cookies!
6. Handmade Mittens or Socks
It doesn’t have to be handmade by you, check out local farmer’s markets for a knitter’s booth. You could also go try this quilted mug cozy tutorial or knitted dishcloths for an end of year gift.
7. Restaurant Gift Certificate
Everybody’s gotta eat! You’d need to know a little bit about the teacher for this to work though. For example I don’t recommend a Pizza Hut gift certificate for someone doing Keto. 🙂
Just leave the ‘to & from’ sections blank so they can re-gift the certificate if you’ve accidentally chosen a restaurant they don’t frequent.
You can get cash back on certain restaurant gift cards through Rakuten too!
8. Donation in Their Name
This works on many levels. If you have absolutely no idea what the teacher would like, or you know them to be very particular, then a donation in their name is a great idea. You can pick a local charity (like a children’s hospital) or a well known organization. It’s very thoughtful and will be appreciated.
9. Mug +
homemade hot chocolate mix or
a selection of teas or
a selection of coffee packets or
an apple cider mix
(This math mug made me giggle!)
Again, locally made is better. Or something kinda fancy, with a pretty candle holder or re-usable jar. I’m swooning over this gorgeous & simple design and it smells like brown sugar and fig. I bet it smells amazing!
11. Gift Card
And last but not least, you can always get a gift card. You could get something from a coffee shop (Starbuck’s or Tim Horton’s) or a local store. You can purchase gift cards through Rakuten and get up to 8% in cash back! That’s a win for you!
What gift cards do teachers like best? Teachers notoriously spend a lot of their own money on supplies for their classrooms, so you could get a gift card they can spend on items for the classroom, like for a local bookstore or an amazon gift card. A Walmart or Target gift card would work as well.
Is it Appropriate to Give a Teacher Wine?
If you have gotten to know the teacher well enough to know what they like to drink, then a bottle of wine should be fine.
If you know them, but not that well, perhaps a gift card to the local liquor store would be more appropriate.
And if you have any doubts at all about whether or not they drink wine or if the school has a policy against gifts of that nature, pick a different gift idea. You don’t want to inadvertently make anyone uncomfortable. When in doubt, err on the side of caution.
All of these teacher gift ideas would work great for either Christmas or end of year, with a few minor tweaks.
If you’re a teacher, what’s the best gift you’ve received from a student/parent?
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Great ideas, Laura! I’m a teacher of 15 years and agree with your thinking. I am now on the parent side of teacher gifts, and I worry about giving gifts just like you described. You gave me some new, local ideas, and I love them! Thank you!
Hi Kacey, it’s so nice to get validation from a teacher! Thanks so much! 🙂