I love the holidays, it fills me with the spirit of giving and affords me the perfect opportunity to present my children’s teachers with a gift to let them know just how much they are appreciated. But finding the perfect teacher gift is not always easy and in these lean financial times spending extra money on a teacher gift may not be your top priority. But don’t fret, or think about becoming a scrooge and crossing your child’s teacher off your list. Take a look at this list of ten simple and in expensive ideas for fabulous teacher gifts and be filled with the spirit of giving once more.
1. Homemade Ornament
A teacher gave me the idea for this as a gift when she told me that she had a special tree in her house where she hung every ornament a student had ever given her. Clearly this was a woman who loved her job and held a special place in her heart for every child she had ever taught. If this is the kind of person teaching your child, help your child create something special as a gift to hang on a tree. I love the ornaments featured on the website handsonaswegrow.com, ranging from the simple to more ornate, you will be sure to find an ornament that you and your child can make.
A teacher gift of home baking is truly a gift from the heart that you and your child can share in preparing. Have your child do some investigative work to find out what their teacher’s favorite baked good is and then make it together. If baking isn't your forte, ask an aunt or uncle or grandparent to pitch in and help and make it a family affair. Be sure to go that extra mile and put it in a lovely Christmas tin or basket with a handmade gift tag from your child. Teachers are just as busy as the rest of us, someone else doing the baking is always welcome.
3. Plant in a Hand Painted Pot
This gift is by far one of our favorite teacher gifts to give. My children love transforming ordinary terra cotta plant pots into works of art and I love sharing our plants. One year we took shoots from our large aloe vera plant so we could give each teacher an individual potted plant for Christmas. It was a very hands on process from the painting to planting which helped add extra meaning to the project. The payoff came in the tears of gratitude from the school secretary when they brought one to her. It still sits on her desk. In total it cost us $6.00 for teacher gifts that year. The best presents are rarely the most expensive ones.
4. Soup Jars
Teacher’s face the “what’s for lunch?” conundrum just as much as their students do, so why not give them a practical teacher’s gift and prepare a few jars of homemade dry instant soup mix in decorative mason jars. Just add water and voila, a hot lunch ready to go. There are tons of great instant dry soup recipes at ellenskitchen.com. We like the cup of vegetable noodle soup.
5. Coffee, Tea or Hot Chocolate
A teacher gift that is always well received is coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Again, have your child investigate to find out what their teacher prefers and create a small basket full of their favorite warm drink. Include a festive mug and a chocolate covered spoon for stirring and you’ve got a real winner. If you’re short on time a small gift card from a local coffee shop in a handmade card from your child is a great way of saying "Happy Holidays."
6. Post-it Notes, Note Cards and a Special Pen
I am a big fan of practical gifts and what teacher doesn’t need a good pen and more post-it notes? It’s a simple go to idea that suits everyone’s tastes. I actually keep a small stockpile of these items in my “gift hamper,” in the event I need a quick and easy gift and haven’t got the time to make something personal.
7. Emergency Flu Kit
Children are germ magnets and teachers deserve every sick day they take as far as I’m concerned. So why not help them get through the cold and flu season by creating a simple emergency flu kit. Fill a small fabric bag with hand sanitizer, wet wipes, pocket Kleenex packs, chewable vitamin C and cough drops and have your child make the Emergency flu Kit label. This is another practical teacher’s gift that will definitely come in handy with cold weather and runny little noses just around the corner.
8. Decorative Box
This is a gift your child can have a hand in creating as well. Why not help your child’s teacher in their quest for organization by creating fun and easy decoupage box for them to store assignments, books or school supplies in? Make it super creative and studious by having your child cut out school related words and pictures from magazines and paste them onto the box. Finish it off with some gloss and glitter and you’ve got a work of art that can be used in the classroom. Haven’t got time to create a personal decorative box for a teacher gift? Why not find an inexpensive one at a craft store and fill it with a few homemade treats?
9. Ready Made Dinner
A teacher gift I love to give when spending isn’t quite as tight is a coupon for dinner to go at one of the lovely gourmet shops in our town. For only $10, a gourmet meal will be ready and waiting to take home for our child’s teacher, the perfect thing after a very long day when cooking is just not an option. This gift is especially good if your child’s teacher is single or not much of a cook themselves. So poke around your local shops or restaurants for potential gift certificates that would be appreciated, but won’t break the bank. Or if you’re quite the chef yourself, you can prepare a ready made meal for delivery and arrange to bring it to the school at a convenient time.
10. Picture Frame
This gift is my stand by when I am at a total loss for what to give to someone. If you have the time and inclination you can make this an art project with your child and either opt for something simple or very ornate. We like to buy simple wooden frames from Ikea and paint them in jewel tone colors and then apply a metallic crackle coat over top to give them a festive feel. It’s an easy and fun painting project that can be done in an afternoon and yield gorgeous results. The Ikea frames come in packages of three so we like to give them in gifts of three. If time is a factor check out your local second hand stores or a craft store to find the perfect frame to say thank you.
Spirit of Giving
As an adult I now truly understand the saying “it is better to give then to receive,” and take advantage of the holiday season to do just that with teacher gifts. I encourage everyone to find a way to share your gratitude with the people who play an important part in your life and the lives of people you love, whether they are teachers, neighbors, employees or family and friends. Remember, the act of giving and saying thank you doesn’t need a dollar sign attached, just a giving spirit and a sense of gratitude. Happy Holidays!
Sondra Rochelle from USA on March 08, 2013:
I'm a retired teacher and can honestly tell you that the very best gift anybody ever gave me was a thank you note. Neither parents nor children generally say thank you to teachers, but those thank yous mean the world to us. They serve as affirmation that our labors are appreciated, and that is a very big gift indeed.
RTalloni on March 04, 2013:
These are really nice gift ideas that should be kept in mind for a teacher's birthday or the end of the year, as well as Christmas.
Catherine Taylor (author) from Canada on January 28, 2013:
Thanks for dropping by moonlake. Interesting, I had never thought about how children who couldn't bring in a gift might feel. Perhaps I will spend sometime thinking of gifts my girls can share with the class and not just the teacher. Good food for thought.
moonlake from America on January 28, 2013:
You have so many nice ideas on here. I know teachers appreciate getting gifts from the kids. They still can do it here in the schools but where my granddaughters went to school they couldn't give gifts to the teachers because it may make other kids feel bad that couldn't bring a gift.
Voted up on your hub.
Tirralan Watkins from Los Angeles, CA on January 24, 2013:
Thundermama, these are great ideas. I'll remember them for next time since we usually have to get gifts for about 8 teachers!
Dianna Mendez on December 08, 2012:
I miss the times when I worked as a teacher. The sweet gifts were priceless. I like your flu kit idea, this would really be a winner with teachers. Voted up.
Catherine Taylor (author) from Canada on December 08, 2012:
Thank you everyone for all of the lovely comments. I really do love the idea of creating something wonderful with your child to give as gift and goodness knows teachers really do deserve our gratitude. Now off to do some Christmas baking!
Hawaiian Odysseus from Southeast Washington state on December 07, 2012:
I love the other-centered theme of this hub. It truly is better to give than to receive. Thank you for the wonderful ideas posed here, and even more so for the reminder that the best gift we can give ourselves is the look of joy on the faces of those we present with these priceless thank-you's!
kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on December 07, 2012:
Very good ideas!
As a teacher, I use to do a special "Advent Calendar" with no chocolate. I have to publish that idea one of these days! Those calendars were always a big success with the kids and the parents!
I prepare cookies with another friend and than we have nice boxes with a lot of choice in cookies to give as gift.
I also prepare between 10 to 20 special Dutch breads filled with almond paste and candied fruits and raisins! I give them as gift as well.
Next week, I will start with those Dutch breads!
Have a Merry Christmas!
Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on December 07, 2012:
These are very original ideas and something anyone would love to receive. You have me reflecting on a gift my Mom sent me to school with for my teacher. She enjoyed ceramics and would make adorable items. One year she made a teachers stack of books which held pens for my favorite teachers desk.
rmcleve on December 07, 2012:
Really wonderful hub with fantastic suggestions! I'd enjoy all of these gifts, which means I'm sure teachers would, too. :)
Catherine Taylor (author) from Canada on December 06, 2012:
bb I bet you deserved everyone of those delicious treats. I have no doubt that you were a fabulous teacher.
Mizjo, thanks so much for your lovely comments. That really is my end goal for my children, more sentiment, less stuff.
mizjo from New York City, NY on December 06, 2012:
What a great way to teach kids to be creative and giving at the same time.
They learn that presents that don't always come from shops but hand made with love and creativity are the most appreciated. Very nice hub, Thundermama.
Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on December 06, 2012:
I used to score so well during Christmas. The kids always loaded me down with home-baked cookies and gift certificates. That is one part of teaching I definitely miss. :) Great suggestions!