Gifts Teachers Want

Here’s the deal – It’s the holiday season and you gotta hook up the teachers. You gotta. They take care of our kids when we can’t, in ways that we can’t. They’re forever patient, creative, and innovative. They’re shaping our kids into the leaders, friends, and scholars that we want them to be. It’s not an easy job.

But umm. What do we get?screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-8-42-52-pm

  • CASH. Gift cards. Best choice is a Visa gift card, second best looks like a Dunkin’ Donuts or a Target card. Stay away from specialty gift cards to places that you enjoy, including but not limited to Sephora, Macy’s, Pottery Barn, etc. While these stores may be on your list of favorites, everyone is different. Stick with something they can almost certainly can use. Also – there’s no dollar amount rule of thumb. Be generous within your means.screen-shot-2016-12-05-at-8-46-33-pm
  • Materials for the classroom. It should be noted here that classroom gifts should not replace the CASH gift card. These are gifts for the classroom itself. Many teachers spend lots of their own personal money on supplies including paper, markers, antibacterial wipes, etc. You can ask if there’s anything in particular that’s needed, and avoid referring to it as a gift. Be easy – “Is there anything the classroom needs that I can bring in for the new year?”
  • Consider a class gift. Pooling money allows for a better gift. If no one’s organized it for your kid’s class, maybe you’re the one! Simply type up a short email or letter and leave it in the cubbies or send as an email. Here’s one we got this year:

As you know Ms. M and Miss H have been dedicated to our children in the classroom this year. We thought it would be nice if we could show our appreciation with a class gift.

We will start collecting money so that we can give our class gifts during the holiday celebration in December. Suggested amount is $20.

We hope you would all like to participate. Please send an envelope to school with your child’s and your name on it. We will put a big envelope in SB’s cubby where you can put your envelope. The last date of contribution is Dec 16 so we can give it to the teachers in time.

  • Plants, flowers, wine, or fancy boxed chocolates. These are simple enough, and they’re appreciated by most. But if your child’s teacher isn’t, it’s a great re-gift. Just don’t put your name all over it, or spell out TEACHER in giant bubbly letters.
  • If you’d prefer something more unique, try printing out a survey like this one ahead of time as a way to find out more about the interests of the teacher.


And – a few things to AVOID:

  1. Things that needs dusting. Knick knacks.
  2. Things with apples, a chalkboards, or the word “TEACHER” engraved into it. (These are knick knacks.)
  3. Clothing, jewelry, or make up. People are particular about their aesthetic. As my grandmother used to say, “There’s no accounting for taste.”
  4. Scented anything. Some people can’t take smells. If you want to give something like a soap or a candle, ask about favorite scents first. This is no time to waste money.

In the end, everyone wants to be recognized and appreciated. Dig deep for your teachers this holiday season – they’re already digging deep for you.

Posted by

Mel Kozakiewicz a professor, editor, writer, and mother of two.

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