Every Christmas season, I start getting the one big question.
No, not about the the man in the big red suit.
WHAT ARE SOME GOOD CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS FOR TEACHERS
You know, gifts teachers really appreciate.
I have been told that helping parents come up with teacher gift ideas is one of my superpowers because I, like Johnny Cash, walk the line since I am both teacher and parent.
I decided to take a break from the usual blog post to give you a list of my faves. I know parents want to give teacher gifts that they will love and actually use. These are in no particular order and I am not affiliated with any of the companies.
So, put down that mug (no more mugs, we have too many mugs) and listen up! Here are some gifts I am currently have going on with our family, some I have done in the past, and some I have received.
No matter the gift, I strongly encourage you to sit down and have both you and your child write a letter of gratitude. Not just a, “thanks here is your gift” letter, a real heartfelt letter of thanks.
Take five minutes to connect with gratitude to the person who spends a large portion of time and energy working to help children - your child.
SNACK ATTACK BAG WITH REFILLS (Because Teachers Get Hungry, Too!)
When the last bell rings, teachers usually reach for a snack to help get through the end of the work day. Why not make sure it’s a good one?
I typically do for my children’s teachers at the beginning of every year, but there’s no time like the present. I pick up a cute insulated lunch bag and write a note letting them know this snack bag will be replenished every month with snacks. Fill the bag with snacks and send it in (healthy granola bars, meat sticks, crackers, popcorn, nuts and berries). The reason I love this gift is because it reminds your child’s teacher that you appreciate them every month. I also love it because kids can help create the snack bag every month. When we buy our big box of snacks at Costco, we take a few bags of the popcorn or fish crackers or whatever we bought and put them in each teacher’s bag. Each time I go to the grocery store, I have the kids pick out a “fancy” (meaning not boxed, grown-up, healthy granola bars) and we add that to the bag. By the end of the month, you will have accumulated enough for a snack bag to be sent in for another month AND your kids will have had many mini-gratitude and kindness moments thoughtfully helping choose things for their teacher.
Your kids can do re-con and tell you what the teacher likes to eat for snacks. My 1st grader came home one day after noticing her teacher eating honey roasted almonds and said, “We need to add those to the snack bag, she ate the whole container.” And sure enough, the next time we hit up Target, she said, “Mom, don’t forget to get those almonds.” Um, can we say thinking of others first? We cruised right past that Target toy section because we were on a mission to help our teacher get her snack on! A gift for everyone!
AUDIBLE GIFT CARD (Because Teachers Constantly Read)
Here is why I love Audible and not a standard book store gift card. It’s like the book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. if you give a teacher a book store gift card, the teacher will buy books for...THE CLASSROOM.
We just will, we will go to the book store and look around. Maybe we’ll even totally have the intention of buying our own book, but inevitably we will put our book down and head to the kids section to buy books for the classroom. Which is completely fine, except if your intention is to give teachers a gift for themselves, it’s not going to go down that way. Audible is a great option though because teachers can listen to books while they plan, workout, run errands, etc. Teachers will probably still get a book about how to improve their teaching (cause that’s who we are) but at least it will be a grown-up book they chose for themselves.
TEACHERS PAY TEACHERS GIFT CARD (Because More Time is a Gift!)
Have you ever heard of the website, Teachers Pay Teachers? If not, head on over. It’s a website where teachers can put their amazing curriculum creations online and sell them to other teachers, usually at a teacher-easy price point. Let’s say I do a unit on hibernation and I am about to go make a bunch of standards-based projects to go along with it. I may head over to Teachers Pay Teachers and see if there is an already-created unit that I could purchase to save a TON of time not having to reinvent the wheel. This is a great place for teachers if they have wanted to add a component, such as mindfulness, into their classroom but don’t know exactly how to do it. Technically this will be a gift for your child as well, however I highly recommend it because the TIME you will save your child’s teacher will be invaluable.
A MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION (Because it’s a repeated reminder you appreciate them.)
Magazines are somewhat a luxury to teachers (and usually parents too). Giving the gift of a year-long magazine subscription is a gift that keeps on giving. Again, your child may have to do some recon work to find out particular interests, but that shouldn’t take too much digging. I always love Mindful Magazine, Breathe and In The Moment if you have no idea where to start. Those mags are about relaxing, being mindful and boosting happiness. A happy, relaxed teacher leads to a happy, relaxed classroom. Pair this with some cozy socks and some cocoa OR have the subscription come to your house and add it to the snack bag (#1 on the list) every month. I love gifts that are repeat reminders that you appreciate the teacher.
THE BOOK: THE END OF MOLASSES CLASSES: GETTING OUR KIDS UNSTUCK (Because Teachers Need Inspiration.)
If you are looking for a book that spans K-12 (and is for parents, too), this one will do it. Ron Clark is a former teacher who opened his own school, The Ron Clark Academy, which is amazing and kind of a teacher dream. Not to mention, the school itself has parts that are shaped like a Hogwarts. I mean, come on. He is inspiring for so many reasons (watch this video) but his personal story will raise teachers up (we love a good Rudy for teachers tale) and give valuable teaching tools and strategies to use in the classroom. Plus, this is not a standard teacher read so there is a good chance it will be new to your child’s teacher. Just in case, tape the receipt into the front cover and then you won’t have to worry about it.
This book pairs well with a coffee gift card if you are looking for a bit more.
A TOTE BAG (Because Teachers Take a Lot of Work Home.
This is the one I received as a teacher gift and the family who got it for me totally #nailed it. This bag is cute and creative...and personalized, but not with an apple and a monogram (Right up there with a mug. We have plenty of those.), a cute twist on personalized that can go from classroom to beach to grocery store and back again.
You may have to be sneaky to get four words, or you can do what my sweet family did and just send the picture of the gift and say “we can’t wait to hear what your four words are so we can order this for your gift!” Hooray! Teachers are not spending time worrying about when gifts show up, so just knowing that you took the time to order something that may take a couple of weeks to come in is totally fine.
ORGANIZED DINNERS (Because Teachers Gotta Eat!)
If you are the class parent or your kiddo’s class has a great parent network, this may be the one for you. Organize parents to donate money (or casseroles) so that each month (or twice a month) your child’s teacher doesn’t have to worry about making dinner after a long day at work. We have done this one with our friends and the teacher loved it. If collecting money, just divide what you get over the course of the school year and then buy gift cards to various restaurants OR if you know a teacher has a favorite eatery, just give them one for that same place every month. Make a Meal Train to sign up for meals so you can keep everything organized and the teacher can see what is coming.
Another option is to get a gift subscription to a online meal subscription like Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Sun Basket, or Plated.