As the daughter of a teacher, the last day of school before winter break was always a bit like an early Christmas for us.
On that day, my dad would come home from work loaded down with presents from his class. There would almost always be homemade peanut brittle, a box of cherry cordials and, of course, apples everywhere: apple ornaments, apple pencil holders and apple-decorated mugs.
Although my dad’s apple ornaments are still added to the tree every year, a quick trip around the blogosphere reveals that most teachers aren’t into knickknack-type gifts anymore. So you may be wondering what to get the teachers in your life nowadays.
Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson tackles this issue in the video below. Watch it, then keep reading for more awesome teacher gift ideas.
First, some teacher gift guidelines
The name of the game when it comes to teacher gifts is practicality. Teachers have big classrooms, which can mean lots of gifts year after year. Most teachers appreciate whatever they get, but offering them something practical and consumable means they won’t be faced with the dilemma of deciding which of their 10 “No. 1 Teacher” mugs to use each day.
In addition, unless you know the teacher very well, steer clear of things such as perfume, cologne or home décor that can be subject to personal preferences. When in doubt, you could run your idea by a fellow teacher or the front office staff to get their thoughts.
Now, let’s get to our affordable teacher gift ideas.
1. Personalized note cards, Post-its and other paper products
Teachers write all sorts of notes – to parents, to students, to colleagues. Wouldn’t it be nice if they had some pretty and personalized paper to use? You can buy card stock to make notecards using printed templates found online. Or if you’re into stamps, you can stamp generic Post-it notes, stationery pads or other paper products to personalize them.
2. Gift cards for food, coffee or school supplies
You really can’t go wrong with a gift card. It doesn’t have to be for much, either. It could be just enough for a cup of coffee, a run through the drive-through on a busy day or some last-minute project supplies. Create a 20-cent greeting card, include a groan-worthy saying such as “You mean a latte to me,” and you have a gift that’ll make your favorite teacher smile.
3. Make lunch or dinner on you
This one is tricky. Some teachers would love for you to bring them lunch or send a casserole they could easily reheat for dinner. Others may have strict dietary restrictions or be iffy about eating food cooked in a kitchen not their own. The best way to approach this may be the direct approach. Ask the teacher if he or she would be interested in having you bring him or her a meal. If the teacher seems at all hesitant, move on to another idea.
4. Create a movie night escape
Everyone needs to escape reality once in a while, and a movie night can be the perfect answer to a wild week in the classroom. Bundle together a gift card from a local movie rental place with some popcorn and candy for an inexpensive, yet thoughtful gift.