Every holiday season, I start getting the one big question.
No, not is the the man with bag real, but WHAT IS A GOOD GIFT THAT TEACHERS REALLY WANT?
I have been told that helping parents come up with teacher gifts is one of my superpowers (because I, like Johnny Cash, walk the line since I am both teacher and parent) and as I noticed the questions coming in this holiday season, 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 (well, all but the last one…that one I straight up love).
So, put down that mug (no more mugs, we have too many mugs) and I will tell you some of the gifts I am currently have going on with our family, some I have done in the past, and some I have received.
One of the things I strongly encourage you to do no matter how big or small your gift is, is to sit down and have both you and your child write a letter of gratitude...and not just a thanks here is your gift letter, a real heartfelt letter of thanks. Take the 5 minutes to connect with gratitude to the person who spends a large portion of time and energy working to help children
Snack Attack Bag With Refills
BECAUSE TEACHERS GET HUNGRY
When the end of the day school bell rings, teachers usually reach for a snack as they get their end of the day work completed. Why not make sure it’s a good one? This is what I do for my children’s teachers at the beginning of every year, but you can start it at any time. I usually buy a cute insulated lunch bag and write a note stating that 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 every month that you appreciate them. 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. At the grocery store, each time I go 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 the beginning of the next month and your kids will have had many mini-gratitude and kindness moments thoughtfully helping choose things for their teacher without sucking time out of the day.
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! Winner gift for everyone!
Audible Gift Card
BECAUSE TEACHERS READ CONSTANTLY
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 get in the book store and look around and maybe 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, drive around, 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.
TPT Gift Cards
BECAUSE TEACHERS NEED EASE
Have you ever heard of Teachers Pay Teachers? If not, head on over. It’s a website where teachers who have created content can put their amazing curriculum creations online and sell them to other teachers, usually at a teacher-easy price point. So, 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 (still with me?), I may head over to TPT and see if there is an already created unit that I could purchase and save a TON of time in not having to reinvent the wheel. Or, 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 and want a program that they can easily implement AND not have to go create. So, this technically 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.
BECAUSE TEACHERS NEED TO UNWIND
A Magazine Subscription Cause teachers
need downtime and guilty pleasures
Ok, 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 interests, but that shouldn’t take too much digging. I always love Mindful Magazine, Breathe and In The Moment (see link below to go right to them) if you have no idea where to start. Those mags are about relaxing and 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.
BECAUSE TEACHERS LOVE HOPE AND PASSION FOR TEACHING
The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck--101 Extraordinary
Solutions for Parents and Teachers (Touchstone Book)
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 (click the link to see the 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 Gift That Gives
BECAUSE TEACHERS CARRY A LOT
This is 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 (that is 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 4 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 4 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.
Plus, The Shop Forward gives back with every tote you purchase, check out their mission:
Since launching in November 2014, The Shop Forward has raised over $2,500,000 for various charities by selling items associated with a cause. Every product sold on The Shop Forward follows our mission of supporting programs and organizations that are effectively working to help others around the world.
Our goal is to provide a platform to collaborate with charities for fundraising and spreading awareness while offering great and unique products for customers to enjoy. You're always paying it forward when you shop with us and we truly appreciate your support! The donation is built into the cost of each product – so it is an exact and tangible donation for each item sold.
Meal is the deal
BECAUSE TEACHERS GOTTA EAT!
Organize Dinner: Because Teachers Gotta Eat
So, if you are the class parent or your kiddo’s class has a great parent network or your kid just got into a class with a bunch of your friend’s kids, 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 teachers 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. Meal Train (website) is like 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.
The gift of being grateful
BECAUSE GRATITUDE BOOSTS BRAINS
It is amazing to show your gratitude to the teachers in your life and it is also amazing to give the gift of gratitude so they can inspire others and help wire kids brains for successful interactions. Again, teachers don’t have tons of extra time to invent the wheel, so why not give them a road-tested by teachers program that is easy to implement and grow gratitude in fun, easy, mindful ways that will promote focus, peacefulness, gratitude and caring connection in the classroom. The 21 Day Game On Gratitude Challenge is the perfect gift for any teacher.
Because I love giving gratitude,
and because I can:
Order the 21 Day Game On Classroom Gratitude Challenge between now and December 21st and get 20% off with code: GIVE
Root, Rise, Repeat
BECAUSE TEACHERS LOVE LEARNING!
Teachers love learning new and exciting ways to connect with students and make learning fun and productive. There are a limited amount of hours in the school day and that is why every moment of learning counts. The Rooted Family: Growing Strong Roots program shows children and teachers how to connect mindful, social/emotional learning based in brain-research with academic standards…all in the same lesson! When we integrate mindful, social/emotional learning with what we are currently teaching, negative student behaviors go down and peaceful, focused learning with increased memory retention goes up. Again, this is a winner for both your child and the teacher.
2 amazing options:
Classroom Coaching: Give your child’s teacher the gift of classroom coaching in implementing mindful, brain-based social/emotional learning. Don’t live in Wisconsin? No worries, I can Zoom an online coaching session anywhere!
Click above to contact me and set up some inspiring coaching for the teachers you love!