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Do you buy Christmas gifts for teachers?

I don’t know about you, but Christmas always seems to sneak up on me. I tend to buy a couple of things on Black Friday and pat myself on the back for “starting early.”

And then all of a sudden, I look up and it’s the last week of school and I haven’t finished shopping for my kids and the rest of my family, let alone for my kids’ teachers.

Even if you’re hopelessly unorganized and forgot all about getting a Christmas gift for your kid’s teacher (or your kids’ teachers, as the case may be), you can still pull off an awesome gift that they will actually want!

Note: if you’re reading this before December 1st, be sure to save this post to Pinterest so you can find it again when you need it!

All of these ideas can be pulled together quickly, either at home or with a quick trip to a local retailer like Target or Walmart. And if you didn’t wait until the very last minute, most of the gifts can be ordered online at Amazon with Prime shipping.

1. Teacher Coupon Book

If you have a printer and cardstock (or even just paper) at home, you can do this without even leaving home. Simply download the printable coupons, print and assemble.

I guarantee your kid’s teacher will love this more than cupcakes.

  • Make copies
  • Read to class
  • Lunchroom duty
  • Paper filing
  • Decorate classroom door
  • Bulletin board buddy
  • Recess relief
  • Organize take home papers
  • Bring in lunch
  • Starbucks deliver
  • Deep clean classroom
  • Reading buddy
  • Emergency supplies
  • Sharpen pencils
  • Bring a treat
  • Tech support
But, there is a catch to this one. There’s a good chance that the teacher won’t actually redeem the coupons.

Just like the time my kid gave me a coupon book. And I didn’t actually redeem any of the coupons.

They might feel awkward about it. Or they might just forget.

So, the trick to this one is to put a reminder on your calendar to follow up in January, after the holiday madness ends. When you do:

  • Ask the teacher when you can bring her lunch or cover for resource duty.
  • Find out when the classroom door needs to be redecorated and what the theme will be.
  • Find out if there are certain days when she makes copies for the following weeks.

And then schedule it all and follow through.

2. Handwritten Notes From You and Your Child

When I asked teachers about the the best gift that they ever received or the best gift they wished they had received, I was suprised by how many of them mentioned handwritten notes and thank you notes from both students and teachers.

Not only is this easy to pull off at the last minute with zero cost, it’s also a “gift” that’s likely to be remembered and treasured for a lifetime.

Just take a look at what the teachers I talked to had to say below. When you think about it, the gifts that we receive are easily forgotten, but knowing that you made a difference in someone’s life is priceless!

But really the best gifts are thank you notes from former students who were in college and appreciated what and how I’d taught them. – Kelly Howarth

A sweet note with classroom supplies (copy paper, colored paper, tape, bright colored pens, etc) are my favorite non gift card gifts. – Cassie Pierce

I always enjoyed handwritten notes from families. – Rachel Nice

Notes from the student/parent about the experience the student had in your class and/or gift cards were always the winners for me. – Janice Cook

…flowers with a great note from the student about how much they loved class – Rachel Johnson

THANK YOU LETTER FOR TEACHER | FREE PRINTABLE TEMPLATES

But really the best gifts are thank you notes from former students who were in college and appreciated what and how I’d taught them. – Kelly Howarth

A sweet note with classroom supplies (copy paper, colored paper, tape, bright colored pens, etc) are my favorite non gift card gifts. – Cassie Pierce

I always enjoyed handwritten notes from families. – Rachel Nice

Notes from the student/parent about the experience the student had in your class and/or gift cards were always the winners for me. – Janice Cook

…flowers with a great note from the student about how much they loved class – Rachel Johnson

3. Thank You Notes

Teachers get a lot of gifts. Whether it be for back-to-school, Christmas, teacher appreciation week or end of the school year, teachers (deservedly) receive an abundance of gifts. I bet it’s safe to say that teachers probably receive more gifts as a result of their chosen career than just about any other job.

And what comes with being the recipient of gifts? Why, thank you notes, of course!

Our family has received thank you notes from our teachers on many occassions. If just one person in the class gave the teacher a set of thank you notes on each gift giving occassion, she would be totally covered!

4. BEST GIFT CARDS FOR TEACHERS

What gifts do teachers really want? Gift cards! While it might seem like you’re taking the easy way out, gift cards really are the perfect gift for a teacher. Here are some of the reasons why:
  • Gift cards can be used for a need or a want.
  • Gift cards can be used for classroom supplies or for something personal.
  • Gift cards don’t clutter the teacher’s house.
  • Gift cards don’t come in a scent that the teacher may not care for.
  • Gift cards don’t have to be exchanged for something the teacher will actually like and use.
  • Duplicate gift cards are a blessing.

What gift cards do teachers like best?

The teachers I talked to like Starbucks, Amazon, and Target gift cards best.

Gift cards to book stores like Barnes & Noble are appreciated too, becuase teachers always need more books for the classroom.

Starbucks Gift Cards FOR TEACHERS

If you ask me, teachers deserve Starbucks every day! But it’s just so dang expensive. I’m guessing that coffee or latte drinking teachers would be pleased as punch if every single gift they received was a Starbucks gift card. In fact, you could even coordinate with the other parents to give your child’s teacher Starbucks every day in December leading up to the winter holidays and break. If you’re going solo on a Starbucks gift card, just include a cute “thanks a latte” gift tag or gift tag holder and you’re all set.

Amazon Gift Cards FOR TEACHERS

Amazon gift cards are the ultimate teacher gift. As I mentioned in this post, teachers can use them for a need or a want. You can also get eGift, Print-at-Home and Mail versions. If you’re short on time, choose an eGift card. If you managed to plan ahead, there are tons of choices in boxes, tins, tags and reveals. Be sure to check out the “New and noteworthy” section for cute options like the gift card with happy socks, the gift card in a pineapple sleeve, and the gift card in an emoji sleeve.

Restaurant Gift Cards FOR TEACHERS

Who wouldn’t love a paid-for meal after a long day teaching a classroom full of kids? My son’s second grade teacher said that she loves gift cards, especially for dinner, since she works long hours. Did you know that you can get restaurant gift cards from places like The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Changs and Saltgrass Steak House on Amazon?

5. Classroom & School Supplies

Did you know that 3 out of 4 teachers chose to become teachers because of their love of school supplies? Ok, that’s not a real statistic. I just made that up.

I’m sure that most teachers decided to become teachers because they love kids. Or learning. Or both.

But I have a sneaky suspicion that for some of them, it started way back in elementary school with a love of school supplies. A new box of crayons, a sharp pair of scissors and a package of colorful construction paper.

Colorful Pens

If you want to indulge your favorite teacher, give them a package of colorful pens for Christmas. The teachers I asked prefer brightly colored gel pens, erasable pens and felt tips pens, like these:

Pencils & Pencil Sharpeners

The other day, I was talking to my friend who also happens to be the room mom for our daughters’ class. When I asked if there was anything I could do to help her, she said that it really hadn’t been a big deal (being the room mom) and that the only thing that the teacher had asked for was help sharpening pencils. If you want to make a teacher’s day, buy her a ton of pencils and then come to her classroom and sharpen all of them. Better yet, buy a decent electric pencil sharpener for the classroom so the kids can easily sharpen their pencils themselves. My daughter says that all the teachers at her school have the X-ACTO model shown below (now that our room mom bought it for her home room teacher).

Best Stapler for Teachers: Paper Pro Stapler

I’m not sure how all my kids’ papers get completely mixed up in their backpacks. There is absolutely no logicial order. The papers from last week are completely mixed up with the papers from this week. (No, we don’t empty and sort daily… Please don’t judge me.) Even multiple pages from the same assignment sometimes get separated. If you want to make your kid’s teacher’s life easier and make your own life easier in the process, get her an awesome stapler. From what I’ve heard, these things somehow manage to walk off, never to be seen again. Given the things I’ve seen come home in my kids’ backpacks, I wouldn’t be surprised if staplers not only leave the classroom from time-to-time, but sometimes even leave the school building, never to be seen again. The Swingline brand is tried and true and also probably considered the industry standard. The one shown below is so cute in rio red. But the PaperPro Prodigy model comes highly recommended by real teachers as well. One Amazon reviewer even called it a teacher’s best friend.

Post-it Notes

Post-it notes aren’t super expensive, but teachers use a LOT of them. Here are a just a few things that teachers use Post-it notes for in the classroom:
  • Bookmarks
  • Ticket out the door activity
  • Seating charts
  • DIY flip books
  • Lesson planning
  • Notes to students
  • Notes to parents
  • Collaborative reader responses
  • Classroom scavenger hunt
  • Mind maps
  • Reminders
  • Brainstorming
  • Labels
  • Mood survey
  • Instant polls
  • Carousel activities
  • Independent reading responses
  • Games
  • Crafts
  • Hall pass
  • Covering words
  • Numbering computers
  • Anchor charts
  • Do now
  • Primary source analysis
  • Data board
  • Graphing
  • High frequency words
  • Name tags
  • Quick math
With so many uses and so many kids, make sure that your favoriate teacher always has plenty on hand.

Dry Erase Markers

When I was a kid, dry erase markers weren’t even a thing. Instead, we had the pleasure of using chalk on an actual chalkboard. And even better, hearing the occasional sound of fingernails scratching on a chalkboard. I couldn’t stand that sound or the weird, shivery, uncomfortable feeling it gives you. I’m sure there are plenty of teachers that are thankful for whiteboards and dry erase markers for the sole reason of not having to hear that sound or get that icky feeling. With dry erase markers being the chalk du jour, you can be sure that any teacher will appreciate having this essential supply restocked in his or her classroom.

Paper

This website estimates that a school district with 10,000 students, teachers & staff uses 28,000,000 sheets of paper per year. That’s 2,800 sheets of paper per person every year. Without getting into a debate about going paperless, it’s worth noting that some schools even have a specific allotment of paper per teacher. Along with a plethora of other school supplies, paper is something that teachers can always use more of, especially specialty paper like colored cardstock.

6. Pretty To-Do List Paper

Imagine that you’re going about your day and you think of something that you need to do. You grab your smartphone and you add a task in your favorite productivity app. Or you pull out your bullet journal and flip to your daily log. Now, imagine that you’re a teacher and you think of something in the middle of the school day. Do you have time to pull out your planner? Are you even allowed to have your smartphone out in class? Buy a teacher one of these pretty to-do list notepads and they’ll always have a place to make a quick note. Even if your kid is tugging at their sleeve at the same time.

7. Teacher’s Crate Subscription Box

The Teacher’s Crate is a subscription box dedicated to teachers looking for new, fun, creative and amazing products to enrich their love for teaching! The Teacher’s Crate comes in two options, the original crate and the wearables crate. The wearables crate includes a themed t-shirt and socks. Order a 1 month, 3 month, 6 month or 1 year subscription for a gift that is guaranteed to delight your child’s teacher.

9. Redbox movie code, popcorn and a red gel pen

Teachers love to watch movies while they grade papers. A Netflix or Redbox gift card, popcorn and a box of red pens makes a perfect gift for any teacher!

9. CAN YOU GIVE Teachers WINE? (Maybe…)

If all else fails to inspire (proceed with caution… you really need to know your kid’s teacher to know if this one is appropriate or not!), a bottle of wine with a heartfelt thank you note can make a teacher’s day. It meets all the criteria for our best “gifts for teachers” – it’s personal (assuming they drink wine), it’s consumable, it’s not scented (like a candle or lotion) and it won’t clutter up her house! But since this gift could be controversial, I would only suggest giving wine as a teacher gift if you’ve devloped a friendship with the teacher, know that she would apprecitate it and if you can give it to her off campus. Most, if not all, schools probhibit alchohol of any kind on school property.

Last Minute Teacher Appreciation Gits

Did you forget to plan ahead and get a Christmas gift for your favorite teacher? Don’t worry! Just pick something from this list and you’re all set. Not only are these teacher gift ideas inexpensive and easy to pull off at the last minute, they are guaranteed to be a hit with your favorite teacher!

ManiThanks

FREE printable gift tags!
  • Perfect teacher appreciation gift!
  • Also works for end of school year thank you gift
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