Home Christmas Top Ten Teacher Christmas Gifts (written by a TEACHER!)


Teacher Christmas Gifts–> One of the biggest stressors of the Christmas season can be buying gifts for family and friends. Some are easy to buy for… and then there are some where you break out in hives just thinking about what to get them… you know…the brother-in-law, a teenage niece or nephew, and… your kids’ teachers.

Many a time I have asked myself, “What should I get for Teacher Christmas Gifts?!” Which seems a little silly since… I am a teacher! Nevertheless… at times I still struggle!

So… I asked myself… As a teacher, what would I want (or not want) for Christmas?

(*Note: teachers do not “expect” gifts, and a hand written note is wonderful, too!)


 Turns out Teachers are actually really easy to buy for! GREAT list of practical, affordable teacher gift ideas :)

Let me start with: What NOT to get teachers

Please, do not give into the temptation to buy us:

1) another coffee mug (our cupboards are full) or
2) more Christmas knick knacks or ornaments (We have plenty… and the longer we’ve been teaching… the more we have.)
(Exception: If you happen to know your child’s teacher and find something you KNOW they would love… by all means… go for it. It is one more thing you can check off your Christmas to do list.)

I know, I know… right now you’re thinking, “How does this help?! Now I’m even more stressed out?”

Okay here it is… This is what every teacher wants for Christmas:

What TO get–The Top 10 Teacher Christmas Gifts (plus a few more!):

A vacation to Hawaii, extra snow days that don’t need to be made up at the end of the school year, the entire class to turn in their homework… on time!

Oh wait… you wanted practical ideas…

And that is the secret…. practical or consumable!

Gift Cards:

1) Any kind of gift card for a fun coffee, treats, or lunch: Starbucks, Caribou, or your local coffee shop, Cold Stone Creamery, Dairy Queen, Subway, McDonalds. (We teachers are like a pack of wolves when it comes to food. Any thing that is somewhat edible and ends up in the teacher lunchroom is sucked up quicker than a Lego in a vacuum cleaner.)

Fun, new school supplies:

2) Fancy markers/Colored Sharpies
3) Post-it Notes & Blank Note Cards
4) Double Sided Tape & Stickers
        (Remember, we’re school geeks that get excited when school supplies come out in the summer.)

Other Ideas:

6) fun smelling hand soap or hand sanitizer
7) fuzzy or fun socks
8) if your child’s teacher/school has iPads: iTunes gift card
9) Amazon or other bookstore gift card
10) Candy or some other type of treat: if you don’t know… go with chocolate! Often it is chocolate or caffeine that get us through the day!
11) Get the teacher his/her favorite beverage (that won’t get your kid sent to the principal’s office) or favorite candy

If your child is old enough, have them do a little re-con work: get them to find out his/her teacher’s favorites… (good chance they’ll already know…)

One of my favorite gifts last year was when a student brought me a fountain pop from Holiday gas station and gift card for more… He had been paying attention and noticed that many-a-day there was one of those bad boys on my desk.


Teacher Christmas Gifts for the Male Teacher

Let’s take a moment to discuss the hardest teacher to buy for… the MALE teacher! Keep reminding yourself… practical & consumable…

1) Movie certificate taped to a box of popcorn
2) Something you can find at the checkout counter of your local hardware store: flashlight, inexpensive screwdriver or hammer, batteries
3) Duct tape
4) Car Wash Coupons
5) Gas Gift Card
6) Jar of Peanuts or Mixed Nuts
7) Favorite candy/pop

(Note—A lot of these ideas would work for the female teacher as well!)


Teacher Christmas Gifts for the Middle School Teacher

What about the Middle School teacher? Does my child need to bring in a present for one or all of them?

Your Middle Schooler (be careful not to call them a child… it offends them… but then so does the color of shirt you’re wearing today…) now has 4-6 (or more) teachers… that’s a lot of teachers to buy for! There is no hard and fast rule… some kids don’t bring in anything, some kids bring something in for their Homeroom or Advisory Teacher, and some bring in something small (like a candy bar) for each teacher. You get some wiggle room when your child… kid… gets to Middle School.


But should I get them something more personal?

I know… some of you are thinking…a gift card or candy doesn’t seem very personal… Shouldn’t I try to make it special and find something to make from Pinterest?

If Pinterest is therapy for you and you’ve been pinning Christmas gift ideas since July, by all means… get your creative mojo on and make us something. We’ll be very appreciative! (I have gotten some stinkin’ cute gifts that were Pinterest inspired!)

However, if you’re like me and you know this path will end up with you up at 2AM working with pipe cleaners, cardstock and Elmer’s glue…just save yourself the headache and get something from the list above. Remember we love chocolate and caffeine just as much!

Hopefully, some of these ideas will help alleviate the stress of Christmas shopping. And remember…that whatever gift your child brings, we will love it… because we love your kids! It’s why we teach! But hey… if you can swing a vacation to Hawaii or an extra snow day… I promise… your child will be his/her teacher’s favorite student…forever!

What do you think of these teacher Christmas gifts? What’s the best teacher Christmas gift you have given? Have any ideas to add? Please share below!

(Oh! And if you found this helpful, would you do us a favor and pin it or share it on Facebook so that other moms and dads can see it, too? THANK YOU! :) 


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Turns out Teachers are actually really easy to buy for! GREAT list of practical, affordable teacher gift ideas :)

162 replies to this post
  1. I’m so excited! I just found Christmas gifts for my kids teachers and classmates. I love this site :-)

  2. All great ideas. My children like to give gifts that last. And they think their teacher can use.. now I have to tell my boys there guidelines and not all their gifts are genuinely appreciated? Hmm. Thanks happy holidays

  3. I know this is an old post, so I’m hoping for a reply! :) My son will start student teaching soon and I’m looking for gift ideas for XMas to help him on his way. Any ideas?

    I’ve found a couple meaningful books, but know he’s going to “need” things and would love to get them so the struggling college student doesn’t have to try to buy them himself.

    • Hi Christina! I passed your question on to Beth and I will let you know just as soon as I hear back! :)

    • Hey Christina- My son just started college and I’m already wondering how hard will Christmas shopping be this year?!? Here are a few ideas for a new to be teacher: If he’s going to be an elementary teacher… it will be a little easier. (We elementary teachers like our STUFF!) We are in love with office supplies : post it note, pens, markers (Mr. Sketcher’s Smelly Markers are really cool!) stickers, etc. BEST GIFT EVER–Books, books and MORE books. It doesn’t matter what grade level he will be teaching( elementary or high school) … a great classroom has lots of books. The best place to hit up for books are thrift stores.. you can get lots of books… for cheap!
      Also…if your son is has a favorite sports team, or hobby… some sports/hobby themed decor (apparently girls have decorations… boys have “decor”) would be a nice addition to his classroom. Many of the male teachers at my school have “decor” of their hobbies or favorite sports teams.
      One last idea… since your son is just starting out, if he doesn’t have a nice computer/teacher bag… he’ll probably need one. Good luck! And tell your son… welcome to one of the BEST JOBS EVER! :)

  4. YES to all gift cards! Perfect for the “busy parents”, you can’t go wrong. Last year a parent got me a 15$ gift card to Starbucks, I couldn’t have been happier. And although a lot of teachers have had enough of them, I still love receiving scented soaps/body lotions etc. I also love cute and humorous gifts, which is why I recently came up with my own collection of teacher gifts. Feel free to check them out at https://BoredTeachers.com. My “TEACHER OFF DUTY” wine glass is a huge hit, teachers love it!

  5. We often make a gift in a jar. We have made a pumpkin bread, soup mix, and many other things that will last past the holiday season. I get my kids (preschool and elementary age) to help put the jars together so that they had a part in making the gift, but I always try to go for consumable.

  6. One of my all time, most enjoyed, greatest gifts was a Christmas bag containing two very good bottles of wine, and a Starbucks card. I got a kick out of the fact that the parent walked it right into my room and handed it to me. Thoughtful and very innocent gesture.

  7. One year my husband brought home another large box of gifts he had received from his early elementary-aged students for Christmas: a couple of fun ties, several boxes of chocolates and chocolate-covered cherries, mugs, ornaments, gift cards, items related to his hobbies, homemade treats, and many lovely cards and notes from students and families. Then I noticed a ceramic collie (dog), which was medium-sized and chipped in a couple of places. It looked like maybe it had been around for awhile. I asked if the staff had a white elephant exchange or where the collie came from.

    He explained that it was a gift from a student who really didn’t have anything….but wanted to give something special. I don’t think any gesture or gift could have honored my husband more.

    I share this as an encouragement to those who worry about what to give your child’s teacher. I could tell my husband felt so loved by his students and families as we looked through the box together. Every single one of those gifts was appreciated and each child thought of warmly. But somehow the collie was the icing on the cake, you know? If you are motivated by genuine appreciation/gratitude/goodwill, please know that many, many teachers receive your cards, notes, gifts, and kind words in the spirit with which they are given.

  8. I’ve been teaching for fifteen years, and several years ago my third grade teacher sent me an ornament I had cross-stitched for her when I was little. She had kept it and put it on her tree for all these years. I cried like a baby!

    My favorite gifts are definitely things that the kids have written or created for me. Second to that, gift cards to anywhere that allow me to treat myself a little bit are always appreciated…even a $5 card to a coffee joint is nice!

  9. Great ideas! As a teacher, I love getting fun usable items that I wouldn’t necessarily splurge on for myself. For example, I have a set of Christmas tree shaped kitchen tongs that I LOVE for the holidays. This is something unique that a teacher can use all winter to cook, serve, entertain, OR bring into the classroom for fine motor skill activities (I wrote a post about some free fine motor tasks using tongs just the other day: http://holidaytongs.weebly.com/holiday-fine-motor-skills-activities) and posted the link to the tongs there as well. Merry (early) Christmas! :D

  10. I do a class gift for the kids (like the reindeer decorated candy canes or homemade play dough) at Christmas and then give the teachers a gift at the end of the school year, usually something like a handmade wreath for their door or classroom or a photo book (our Field Day is at the end of the year and I can capture all the kids then)! I have also give the teachers this “My Favorites Things” list (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Teachers-Favorite-Things-List-1015778) in the beginning of the school year, so we can celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, etc. with them and the tell us exactly what they want/need with this tool!

  11. I saw an idea on Pinterest that included a roll of wrapping paper and scotch tape with some little rhyming note attached. I would probably add a package of gift tags and a roll of ribbon or bag of bows to it, but I liked that it was practical (if the teacher in question celebrates Christmas). If you have several teachers to buy for, you could get all of it at Dollar Tree, and it would only cost you about $3 a teacher if you did the paper, tape, and gift tags.

    If the teacher has a family(i.e. kids), I love the idea of giving her a ‘Family Movie Night’ gift basket. Put some microwave popcorn, movie candy, and some hot cocoa in with some Redbox codes so they can hopefully have some family downtime during the Christmas break.

    I will also back up some of the previous comments regarding the ornaments (not that I think you meant anything bad by your warning, more for the parents that are stressing over it). My mom was a kindergarten and first grade teacher for over 30 years, and she would write the names of the students on the ornament and even now can remember most of the students, if not all. Ornaments were better than mugs, since they are easier to store/ take up less room. The mugs got purged much earlier than the ornaments, and even then, ornaments usually only got tossed because they got broken.

  12. great ideas. Something we do at my work ( and I have now started doing with my daughters teachers) We have “a few of your favorite things” list and we fill them out and have them in a binder up front ( I work in an early education center. Any teacher or parent is able to look at these. When I find out my daughter’s teacher I have been emailing them the sheet for them to fill out so I have good ideas for the year. :)

    • Oh that’s a great idea! I was at my daughter’s school the other day and noticed her making coffee in the break room and I was like “ok, good, she is a coffee drinker!”, but it would be good just to ask at the beginning of the year, less spy work involved ;) Thanks for sharing!

  13. For my child’s middle school teachers, my husband and I arranged ahead of time to provide lunch to be brought in for them one day before winter break — sub sandwiches, chips, drinks, & dessert. Took care of the whole team all at once!

  14. For an end of school year gift, I bought a picture frame with enough openings for the teachers name. Then my son and I went around to all of his favorite places and found shapes to make up the teachers name. We took pictures, printed them out and put them into the picture frame. (Ex: swing set frame made an A, his favorite climbing tree was in the shape of a Y, etc). Then we wrote up where each letter came from and put it on the back of the picture frame along with my sons picture (in the climbing tree, of course!) his teacher LOVED it… And made her cry. She is a special needs teacher.

  15. The most cost effective gift is for student to take up a collection of $2 and give a gift card for your teachers favorite store(HomeDepot, movie theatre, restaurant, clothing store, etc….) I return asked the teacher to show they enjoyed the gift.( Pictures from the ski hill, picture of you outside the restaurant, bring in your new sweater, etc….) This way the students receive some graditude for their giving gesture. Dave from Newmarket Ontario

    • As a teacher and a parent I have to place caution on the “collection” idea. It places pressure on families (especially students) to participate, saps creativity and individuality, and places pressure on the teacher to do the photo/sweater thing. I (and my coworkers) prefer to give personalized thank yous, and as a gift-giver I squeem at the idea of asking the recipient to thank my kids.

  16. I am a middle school teacher and I fully agree that teacher’s don’t expect anything and I love the notes just as much as the gifts and I still have everything given to me. I often get gift cards to coffee shops but I don’t drink coffee, but I try to use them for hot chocolate or a muffin. So I would add a recommendation that not all teachers drink coffee. In fact on my team of 5 of us, none of us drink coffee. Chocolate is one of my favorite gifts, but one year when I was expecting my baby I was having huge cravings for mexican food. My kids knew this because I would always tease one of my hispanic students when he mentioned his mom’s home cooked meals. The next day I would tease him that I had to drive all the way to my favorite mexican place to get dinner because he made me hungry for it. :) So they knew I loved it. My homeroom collected $1 from each kid (and explained it in a note) and gave me a gift certificate to the local mexican restaurant covering a dinner for 2 for a special date before my girl arrived. It was so thoughtful. Those kids really paid attention.

  17. This post has been very helpful. I usually make Christmas candy to give out to the teachers: toffee, fudge, etc.., but this year I was thinking of making ornaments…lol….glad I read this post. I will stick to the home made goodies, which are always loved. On a side note, I also give produce from my garden because I live where the season doesn’t end until November. The teachers reeeeeaally seem to appreciate fresh tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, etc… and I always have way too much!

  18. A heartfelt note written by my new-to-writing kindergartener with a $20 bill tucked inside, maybe attached to a box of Trader Joe’s truffles is our plan this year. My mom who was a teacher for many years HATED all the gift cards for things she would never use (like manicures–totally impractical for a master gardener). I really don’t see the problem with good, multi-purpose CASH.

  19. I don’t know if this has been mentioned but something I give every year that seems to be a huge hit is Ulta gift cards! If they wear makeup they are super excited and if they don’t there is always something there they can use. Now I do give $15-$20 which was easier when they only had one teacher, but I try to make it happen b/c the teachers give so much to my kids for a whole school year.

  20. I haven’t read all the comments, but I wouldn’t suggest homemade food items as gifts. Many people have a hard time eating things made in a kitchen they haven’t seen by people they don’t know- are there pets in the kitchen? Do they have mice or bugs? Are they sanitary people? Did the kid help? Did anyone drop, lick, or sneeze on something? No thanks.

  21. Love this, thank you so much for this informative list. We have 2 we are buying for… I love the movie ticket and popcorn idea for his mail pe teacher who is also his bus driver. :)

  22. I have been teaching for 20 years. I love the ornaments! Each year I write the student’s name and year on it before adding it to my tree. My own children groan (just a bit :-)) as I recall a memory about each of the children who are represented on our tree. I love this little walk down memory lane. One of those students from my first year actually became my student teacher about 15 years later. What fun it was to show her the ornament she had given to me when she was in third grade. She recalled making it with her Girl Scout troop and couldn’t believe that I still put it on my tree every year. I assured her that she will too. The chocolate and gift cards are great, too, but the ornaments have that lasting affect that I truly treasure. I also have a handful of kids every year with no gift and some are sometimes sad. I assure them that all I need is a hug and a smile. Getting gifts is not why we teach. It’s definitely about the kids.

    • I’m replying to this a year later, but your story about the ornaments brought tears to my eyes! How sweet to think that a teacher would remember kids so many years later and have a story for each one. I love that!

    • I taught for 39 years and received many different ornaments from students. I have a teacher tree and put all the teacher ornaments on it. I, too, love looking at the ornaments and fondly remember the students who gave them to me. Many of these students are in their 50’s now. Oh, my!!!!

  23. I have found that homemade goodies are always a treat for our teachers. However, for Christmas, I take a hot lunch to our teachers. Usually soup, fresh bread and of course cookies!

  24. As a teacher and parent, I can relate to both sides of the gift giving issue. We gave small consumable teacher gifts when each child only had one teacher.When the kids began to get more than one teacher, I sent a goodie tray to the teacher’s lounge from our family. As a teacher,I was happy to grab a cookie or chocolate piece during a break in my day.

  25. One of the best teacher gifts I have ever given was free. All of the fourth and fifth graders wrote lyrics involving our teachers to the tune of “Viva la Vida” by Coldplay and then preformed it. It was heartfelt and memorable while still completely free!

  26. Between the number of teachers they have as they get older, and their activity teachers or coaches, plus church youth directors, choir directors, etc, I was stumped and almost gave up. But as a side note to something I do with my ballet students, I found the perfect thing!
    Through World Vision, you can buy various livestock and such. Ducks are a popular gift (think chickens for flood-prone areas), and you can buy 6 for about $30. I buy those and little rubber ducks from Oriental trading. We attach a little note around the duck’s neck that explains. Our teachers have loved them and commented on them often. One person who has been associated with my kids for about 7 or 8 years now has all of the duckies lined up on a shelf in her office year round. (We get different ones every year, and each set comes with 3 different ducks.)

    • I love that you get a little duck to go with them…that is a GREAT idea, Linda! Thanks for sharing! :)

  27. The last three years I have given my kids teachers freezer meals, and the sides to go with it. I make a basic pasta casserole. They get a 9×13 pan of it, a jar of canned fruit, a loaf of French bread, a dozen cookie dough balls (frozen to bake fresh) and my kids pick out a vegetable to add to the meal.
    I have been thanked over and over from their teachers, some save them for busy sports nights with their kids and others use them over Christmas break when their family is visiting.

  28. Hmmm, the only way my kids teachers are getting Coach purses, is if they take them home on weekends! That said, I do give them fuzzy pink socks for breast cancer awareness month, a hand painted Halloween bucket with candy, homemade Kahlua at Christmas, a chalkboard flowerpot with a plant for the room at valentines day, hot cross buns for Easter, and then the end of the year a quilt made out of the schools t-shirts.

    So and I cheapening out? Other than the fuzzy socks, everything is homemade, and i will modify based on personality and sex of individual. Last year my daughter male teacher got homemade beer that my neighbor brews.

  29. I see that I am not the only one to have a second serious look at the gifts teachers are receiving and the related student burden. The Arlington schools board in Virginia, US, is preparing to take a vote on whether to cap each student’s total annual spending on individual teachers to $100 (still much too high). Other “meaner” or “rude” (?) U.S. counties have already put a $25 limit on presents for the whole year.

    If you must give a gift, I think Joe’s suggestion above is a good one.

    Yes Sarah, teacher gift giving does get out of control (sorry if that’s a bitter pill to swallow). A recent survey in England showed that, after thank you notes, teachers preferred to receive luxurious gifts: vouchers, theatre tokens, spa days or alcohol.
    I do recognize that teaching children is work and important work, but that point does not justify yours. Additionally, I remember teachers that were not interested in teaching at all in school or that had the wrong temperament for teaching. Who would want to feel compelled to give them a gift?

    Lastly, if items are needed for the classroom for the students to pass the curriculum, then that sounds like an important problem quite different from the Christmas one. and certainly should not be indirectly shouldered by students combining money to purchase Coach purses or finance an Imelda Marcos shoe collection for teachers over the years.

  30. BTW Dave- Teacher’s will often buy their class things (out of their pocket) throughout the year just so they can meet curriculum requirements.

  31. Dave- I personally give my children a present every year…I hand paint personalized mugs for each child-every one of them had a message just for them (32 kids) and this year I bought them 18 pencils with their name on them. All in all I spent $6 on each child.

  32. Buy a book for the classroom (Caldecott winner or Newbury winner) or donate a book in the teacher’s name to the school library. Have your child write a note saying how the teacher is making a difference – I guarantee that will be the best gift of all.

  33. I have given my kids’ teacher’s and school secretaries holiday candies that I put together, almost every year. My oldest is a Senior this year and it will be his last Christmas teacher gifts, Awww. (tear, tear) I love to give to these people who take the time for my kids and for me as well. I enjoy giving them something since they give me of their time as well.

  34. I was looking for something more inspirational to give our teacher. Teachers do receive a lot of gifts throughout the yr. (birthday, teacher appreciation week, end of yr) so I wanted to give to a local shelter or food pantry in her honor. It would be nice if the school could get together and make this a traditional thing. After all isn’t Christmas about helping others. thank you.

  35. Sara’s and Sue’s comments both illustrate well why the idea of giving gifts to teachers is one that was probably started by teachers. Sara are you really accepting Coach designer gifts from your 5th grade students? This is commercialism out of control and a teacher who is encouraging it. Are you giving the students back anything of similar value or would that cut into your salary? Sue, why not have the students simply put down a down payment on a pair of diamond her earrings she is interested in at the local Lord & Taylors? I’m sure that with time, she will own them and can wear them to class where future students will be inspired to give even more.

    • Dave- I personally give my children a present every year…I hand paint personalized mugs for each child-every one of them had a message just for them (32 kids) and this year I bought them 18 pencils with their name on them. All in all I spent $6 on each child.

      BTW Dave- Teacher’s will often buy their class things (out of their pocket) throughout the year just so they can meet curriculum requirements.

      I think your comments are just rude and you do not actually know the work that is involved in teaching children.

      • As a teacher, Sara, I would hope you would know that you should not have used the possessive ‘teacher’s’, below, but the plural ‘teachers’.
        I understand that teachers have had to buy additional supplies for the classrooms for a number of years. That is not right, but we appreciate that you do it.

        • Nancylee2013, if you are going to correct another on their grammer, you might want to take the time to look at how they speel their name and spell it correctly. ;-)

  36. Our entire class combined the money we would have spent on small gifts and bought a gift card for over $300 at a local shopping centre. The teacher could choose any store in the centre for her gift and chose a beautiful gold bracelet for herself.

  37. My fifth grade students are very observant. They notice what I wear, do, drink and carry with me. The kids know what their teacher likes! My students have given me coach accessories, scarves, hats, gloves, cookies, gift cards. They rock!

  38. Last year I bought the covered plastic cups with the straw and included a bunch of drink packets. They loved them! Now that they have new teachers at the school, guess what……

  39. I had my son research his teachers’ favorite sports teams and had wine glasses and beer mugs made with their favorite teams logos. I also gave bottles of wine and beer. (Which I dropped off after school of course)

  40. A great gift is something for the classroom. One year the parents got together and bought a class set of motors that we needed. Saved me a fortune and students didn’t have to share, which for 3rd graders is a big deal. The most enjoyable gifts though are the handmade cards from the kids. I know they spent time making them and their messages are adorable!

  41. I love it when families get me gift cards to places I actually go or a gift based on my interests – but I know that is easier said than done for most. A gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers would be awesome – I have several items on my “Wish List”. I personally don’t like chocolate, so I prefer the caffeine route (if choosing one or the other). Other ideas: gift card / tickets (movie, sporting event, restaurant, teacher supply store, craft store, etc.). Often the most meaningful things are a heartfelt card/letter from the parent and/or child. Best advice: don’t stress. Teachers appreciate the smallest gestures.

  42. I have been teaching for 20 years and agree that the practical and consumable gifts are the best. I have worked with children from JK age to grade 2. When I open the cards that come with the gifts and see that a child has written his/her name in chubby letters, drawn a picture or written a message such as ‘I hope you have fun.” or “I love you.”, these are the greatest gifts I could ever receive. I keep these treasures in a box. As for gift ideas, consider a bottle of nice maple syrup, olive oil in lovely bottles or nice jams/honey. I don’t have to worry about storing these items and they will keep for a while.

  43. I just bought my aunt (who is a teacher) lesson credits from UClass.org (an edu resource marketplace) and she was ecstatic! I used this link: uclass.org/holidaygift

    She said it’s great because they have great lessons that will save her hours of planning over the break.

  44. Enjoyed your post as I am trying to come up with ideas. What a small world, I graduated from Long Prairie, MN! Now a few countries and states later, residing in Illinois.

  45. It was never the practice to give Christmas gifts to the teacher/s when I attended school. I am middle aged now. I think the clock should be turned back on this one. Teachers don’t need to receive gifts from each of their students. If you are looking to pare the Christmas list, I’d start here.

  46. I’m a prep teacher in Australia and my favourite gifts are cards from parents – Christmas is our end of school year too and I recognise that many times presents are bought because it is the expected thing. When a parent takes the time to write a thoughtful card I know they truly appreciate me working with their child. I also really love the presents that the children have picked and are so excited to give you that they unwrap it for you. I truly appreciate all gifts but these ones are a little more memorable :-)

  47. Found your post and thought I might share. I am offering a $10 CND printable 8×10″ image size. Personalized Teachers Classroom Rules on faux blackboard look. You print and frame. From Gumball Prints Design. Ends Dec. 13th!

  48. As a teacher my favorite gift was a bottle of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Root Beer. A middle school boy and his brother made all their teachers one!

  49. Best gift ever… Room Mother collected $1-2 from each child, painted a branch white, and made “leaves” out of the bills. Sure beat those scented candles and some perfume!

  50. While these are great ideas, you must keep in mind that not every family can afford things like gift cards. My kids picked out ornaments for their teachers, from the inexpensive ones at Target. It makes me sad that a teacher may not appreciate an ornament because she has gotten so many over the years. My kids took a long time picking out just the right one they wanted to give their teacher. Now I’m wondering if we should even send it in. :(

    • Don’t be frustrated or disappointed Heather. I, like several others at my school, put up a tree in my classroom that I hang all my ornaments from students upon. My students help me decorate it each year as I share an anecdote about each of the children who gave them to me and why it was special. Some are homemade and others purchased. Be sure you write the kid’s names on them with the year to help their teachers recall the special people who gave them to them. Truly, teachers don’t expect anything and it is very thoughtful of you and your children to want to get them something special.

      Remember that this is just someone’s opinion, and I am sure that she appreciates each and every gift she’s ever received, too.

      Keep the spirit of Christmas in your heart! Happy holidays!

      • Great reply, thanks Jenn :) I love the idea of writing the student’s name and the year on it, that would make it VERY special :) And Heather, I hope you noticed in the comments that Beth replied that a hand written note is as good as any gift, she really doesn’t expect extravagant gifts from her students, but I’m glad you shared your perspective as a mom, too…thank you!

    • Heather… thank you for your thoughts from the “parent side.” Jenn is right…as a teacher, we appreciate all gifts that students bring in. (BTW… great idea Jenn!) I happen to work in an area where money is tight for MANY of my families and aren’t able to give anything which is fine. I’m just as grateful to the student that took the time to write a card as to a student who brings in gift. Heather I LOVE the tradition that you have made with your kids of THEM picking out the ornaments. (In my book, traditions are a HUGE part of Christmas!) It means a lot more when a teacher knows that a student has helped when picking out the gift….And just to let you know… I still have every ornament my students have given me! :)

    • I taught fourth grade before I was a stay at home mom and still hang all the ornaments my students gave me. I remember who gave me which one, even thought they are not labeled. Some of them are 10 years old. I love them because I loved the kids I taught. Honestly, some kids only gave me a card with a picture and it was special because they thought of me and I loved them. I would not be afraid to send it in. I’m sure the teacher will love it!

  51. Last year a family made lunch and brought it to the school for our grade level teachers (4 of us). They made a crock-pot full of potato soup, cheese, bacon, green onions, and a pound cake. Best gift ever!! We even had some left over to share with others on our hall.

  52. My mom worked at an elementary school and one year the school had each teacher decorate the classroom door with a Wish List (some were trees, some looked like Santa’s list, some were snowflake-y, etc.) that parents could take an item and give something useful to the classroom (like a board game, a carpet sweeper/new broom, books, etc.) instead of a teacher-specific gift. My mom only got 3 coffee mugs that year instead of the 10-12 she typically gets.

  53. Last year I made my history teacher and my chemistry teachers certificates, declaring them the most awesome teachers ever. I framed them and everything. They really seemed to like them :)

  54. I am a teacher in Australia and the best gift I ever got was a vase engraved with ‘ love from’ and the child’s name. Every time I put flowers in that vase I think of him when he was six even though he would now be in his late twenty’s.

  55. Gasoline card??? for those that have to travel to get to their school. You know they will all need that!!!

  56. I just saw this post on pinterest and I’m so glad that I did. It’s my son’s first year in school and I had no idea what to get his teachers. Cookies was one idea I had and after seeing this I might go with gift cards to Tim Horton’s.

  57. Last year we took a collection and made a donation to a cause that is near and dear to our teachers heart. She cried when she read the card. The kids were surprised that she was so touched. It was a good lesson all the way around.

  58. Great ideas! Thanks so much for sharing. Thought I’d share that at my kids’ elementary school, the PTA gives each teacher a basic questionnaire at the start of the year and has them fill it out and return; then in each class, the homeroom parent can copy and (discreetly or not) distribute to each family. Then we know straight from the teacher things like favorite restaurants, hobbies, things to collect, foods, etc. It makes gift-giving much simpler to know these things – like giving a gift card to a store/restaurant you KNOW they love instead of guessing. You might suggest this idea to your PTA.

  59. One year my children gave each of their teachers a lunch tote with a bottle of water, sandwich, chips, apple, granola bar, and their favorite candy bar. The teachers seem to love it and the gift was fairly inexpensive.

  60. One year I got a gift bag full of oranges and a jar of homemade apple butter. I get so many cookies and treats, that the oranges were an awesome gift. The apple butter lasts a long time too, unlike so many of the Christmas treats that I end up tossing out since there are so many.

  61. I agree wholeheartedly! It is always the little things like a candy bar with a handwritten note that mean the most. I will also reiterate… caffeine or chocolate and you can’t go wrong!

  62. One of the best gifts I have gotten as a teacher was an umbrella and rain boots. These come in so handy! I just keep them at school and whenever the weather is bad I can just grab them from my back closet before dismissal. The boots are too big (since she didn’t know my size) but it doesn’t matter, it also allows me to share them if someone else has that duty or is in need at the time. Just sharing!

  63. I appreciate the list….I have 5 children and have always tried to send gifts to each teacher/administrator that makes my kids’ lists. We would never leave out a teacher based on a child’s’ preference…..but they add to the “basics” with the music teachers, PE coaches, lunchroom staff, principal, office crew, janitorial staff, etc. it gets a little crazy sometimes! Luckily, most of them are at the same school so we can consolidate. Anyway, I digress. We have a few favorite treat recipes and go to homemade gifts that the kids pick from each year and make the treats together – very simple kid-friendly recipes. We have also gone with a bag of popcorn and redbox code certificate tied together with a handwritten tag to “have a relaxing holiday” or something similar. I have always worried about what the teachers really think about the homemade treats and hoped they didn’t just go in the trash! Thanks for the list!

    • Michele… We LOVE homemade treats! Whatever treats make it home… :) (many times they’re too good to leave alone) often go with to family gatherings. So it’s a double blessing…delicious treats and one less thing to bake for get-togethers!

  64. I like your ideas I make a list of questions for the teacher at the beginning of the year… What’s your favorite color, fast food, coffee place, candy, entertainment etc. I can’t buy everything on the list but they end up with a pretty good gift basket and it gives me time to get it together.

  65. My sons went to Catholic grade school and had a few teachers. Each year I would buy a large
    fruit basket for all the teachers/administration to share. EASY

  66. My son is in Kindergarten and has 2 rotating teachers, 1 ECE and he has his own CYW all day every day with him. I have to buy all a gift to thank them, but the question is what can I buy where I’m not breaking my bank. I’d like to get the CYW a special gift since she is mainly with him.
    Thanks :)

  67. Here’s one more idea to a select group… those teachers (public, private, or homeschooling) who have their own child in their classroom (I have had this privilege…twice!) Make sure to get “the teacher” something really nice from your child! :) You should have a really good idea what to get! :) The years that my own two children were in my classroom, I got awesome gifts from them! (He he…) My husband just rolled his eyes… actually so did my kids at the time. :)

  68. Hi there! Your post was selected as the winner from last weeks Get Inspired Pin Party hosted on Mommy Mentionables. :) That means you have the opp to cohost this week. If interested, please email me at melanie@mommymentionables dot com and we can get you the post info. The party goes live Thursday at 5PM CST. Thanks and congrats on being a featured pin!

  69. As the wife of a high school teacher… ALL gifts are always appreciated because it just means he is being thought of and it means so much to him. His favorite gifts? Starbucks gift cards (we don’t even drink coffee! But there are so many other yummy treats there…), movie tickets, or Barnes and Noble gift cards. We have 4 kids of our own and I know it can get expensive. So even though he loves the gift cards and homemade cookies, just getting a card signed by a student is wonderful. Sounds cheesy, but it’s true. He saves every single card and letter he gets from students.

  70. I have found that many teachers both male and female love scentsy! I only found that out thru selling it tho lol. But its an awesome gift and it is something different. https://atravelstead.scentsy.us
    I also had my kids do those plates that you draw on with sharpie then bake and I had em do a mug also and both teachers ended up in tears. My babies traced their hands then colored.it however they wanted. it doesnt require supervision until the baking part :)

  71. I’m a high school teacher and we generally don’t get gifts. But it melted my heart last year when a student brought in a little Christmas card. I’m sure his mom made him do it and all he wrote inside was Merry Christmas and his name, but it made my day!

    • I totally agree! Best encouragement ever is getting a card with a student’s note inside! These are the things that I save…they are reminders of why I teach!

  72. Great ideas. Some of my friends and I used to do the traditional white elephant gift exchange but it had to be one of the gifts you got from a student. There would be some crazy ones. I once got E.T. socks and a chocolate alligator.

  73. Yes! I was a 7th grade math & history teacher before I had my daughters…and this list is right on the mark! Although, I still have all of the coffee mugs given to me by my students from the first year of teaching, and can still remember who gave me each one. That first round of Christmas gifts was a sweet one, because I had no idea that teachers got Christmas presents! :) My favorite gifts were usually DD cards and Bath & Body Works hand soaps, but I had one astute student who noticed that I didn’t drink coffee but Diet Coke every morning, so he & his mom bought me a 12-pack of that instead. And one time, a young lady gave me a card, and she explained that she picked it because it was a Christian card with Jesus and even though she didn’t think all that stuff was true, she thought maybe I was, and would like a card with a Bible verse in it. It was one of the most thoughtful gifts I ever got.

    Great post! Brings me back to the sweet years I spent in the classroom. I found you through the ‘make my Saturday sweet’ link-up, and I’m so glad I did!

    • Homemade treat… Christmas cookies… GREAT idea! I have loved it when I have gotten a plate or tin of treats. It’s something fun to bring to family gatherings that I didn’t have to make. Well… at least the ones that even made it home! :)

  74. I love this post! Luckily my kids are all too old for this now, but I used to see people going in on the last day of term with enormous bunches of flowers/jewellery/fancy & expensive things. My kids used to make a card and if you were super lucky there would be a flat bar of (half decent)chocolate taped to the front & incorporated in the design somehow

  75. PERFECT! As a former teacher, I thank you for writing this! I cannot tell you how many Christmas ornaments I got over the years…and I don’t celebrate Christmas. I have pinned this to my “parenting” Pinterest board. I figured that whichever people go there will likely be parents!

  76. Great tips, my daughter is in preschool so this is all new to me. I’ve gotten to know her teacher a bit and I will keep these in mind when i go shopping (or crafting).

  77. I LOVE these ideas! We homeschool, but have a bunch of friends who teach and are always looking for good gifts for Sunday school/church teachers–practical ideas, very funny post. Thank you!

  78. For the past several years, I have given my children’s elementary teacher a “homework” assignment the first week of school asking them to name all of their favorite things — candy, snack, hobby, drink, store, restaurant, etc., then I use that list to put together a basket of their favorite things. I know it can get a little spendy, but for me I love, love, love teachers and the investment they make everyday into the life of my child is something I can’t put a price on. :-)

    • Wow, that is an AWESOME idea :) I think that is the tough spot most parent’s find themselves in, feeling like they don’t have enough money to truly show their gratitude :)

  79. These are wonderful ideas, Beth! My husband is a teacher and he would LOVE any of the ideas you gave for male teachers! Pinning this and I’m glad I stopped by from Whatever Goes Wednesday!

  80. Man, this is perfect timing. I was trying to think of what to get my son’s teachers and therapists for Christmas. Chocolate it is!

  81. This list is fabulous list. I have been making myself crazy trying to figure what to get my son’s speech therapists to show our appreciation. Thanks for the ideas!

  82. Brilliant ideas, thanks! I do always struggle with what to get… over from Motivational Monday x

  83. Great ideas – I am a firmer giver in the bottle of wine department – speaking to many teacher it tends to go down well – just find out whether they prefer white, red or rose. Thank you for linking up with MotivationalMonday

  84. I love this article, although despite teaching 11 years, I rarely get anything more adventurous than a bottle of wine. Or maybe they just know me too well! x

  85. Great stuff. I’m always stumped as to what to get a teacher….usually go for wine but fun to think of something a little more original – love the cinema voucher and popcorn idea :)

  86. What a great idea for a post – way better suggestions that all those home-made crafts ;) I’ll pop it on a pinterest board actuallymummy. Visiting from the Parenting pin it party

  87. **I recommend unscented soap, antibacterial, etc. due to students’ and teachers’ allergies!

    While I love gift cards (!), I also appreciate boxes of tissues for the classroom, extra pencils for the students who never seem to have one, etc. I spend my own money on that and on other supplies my students need … and it would be lovely to receive those as a gift instead. (I did have pencils on my Wish List that I shared with my family members last year!)

    Some of the most priceless gifts that I treasure are the thoughtful cards my middle school and high school students have created for me. Their words of gratitude and reflections on what they’ve learned are a ray of light and inspiration on the more challenging days.

  88. Groaning at my gift of Gingerbread House ornaments for the teacher and the teaching assistant last year, lol!! Thanks for the tips!

    And thank you for linking to Super Sunday Sync.

    • Lol Rosey, we’ve all been there :) I actually am glad for permission just to give a gift card, though, I think teachers can be difficult because we appreciate them so much, and we know how much our kids ADORE them, so we want to give them a really special, thoughtful gift :)