As a teacher, I can tell you that holiday gifts are not expected! Many families, however, wish to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of their child’s teacher with a holiday gift. For your shopping convenience, I’ve asked my teacher friends and colleagues what they REALLY want for Christmas this year. Hopefully, this list of what teachers say are the best teacher gifts, will save you time and money!
Mabel’s Labels. Teachers have a lot of stuff. Stuff that gets borrowed and stuff that wonders away occasionally. A pack of personalized mini labels is appreciated and one of those little things that make a big difference for busy teachers!
Gift Cards. Find out what your teacher likes and pick up a gift card in a small amount. Book stores, coffee shops, restaurants, Costco, grocery stores, Amazon, Dollar Stores, and i-tunes gift cards were all mentioned by my teacher friends.
Group Gifts. This requires one parent to take the lead and often results in a substantial gift for the teacher. An email or letter in everyone’s backpacks is usually distributed by the coordinating parents with the details of how much and where to meet the gift-buying parent. Each family chips in 5 or 10 dollars towards a gift card or pre-determined group gift.
Board Games. One of my personal favourites as a teacher is receiving board games that I can use in my classroom! And when you buy board games for the teacher, you can feel good knowing you are giving your child a real opportunity to play at school and that lots of kids will benefit from your generous gift! You can check out my Math Games Gift Guide here!
Teaching Resources. Check with the teacher, since there are often long lists of resources on every teacher’s wish list. They might not be luxury gifts, but they save the teacher from having to spend her own money on your child’s classroom, and that really, is the most thoughtful gift of all! These include books, stickers, craft supplies and these amazing shadow puppets from Adventure In A Box.
Your Time. This one is tough, because most young families looking to save money don’t exactly have loads of extra time either… If you do have time and you are willing to spend it on your child’s teacher, here are a few good ideas:
- volunteer to do his or her staff room clean up/ kitchen duty for a week
- volunteer to make his or her salad/ soup/ treat for a week (teachers often sign up for staffroom snack and lunch shares)
- volunteer to clean/ organize/ sort/ loose parts, toys or classroom storage rooms and drawers
Appreciation or Acknowledgement. This is another gift that takes time, but is the most often cited gift that makes teachers catch their breath. The reality is, far too many parents only email, call or connect with the teacher when they have something to complain about. A letter detailing the positive impact this teacher has made on your child, or the joy he or she brings to your child’s day is a free and easy way to brighten any teacher’s holiday season. And if you have really great things to say about the teacher, send a copy to the Principal. (If you are looking for great Thank you cards, check out these awesome colour-your-own cards from Tiny Prints):
Let me repeat that teachers do not expect gifts, and don’t be surprised if your child’s teacher discretely tucks the gift away, rather than making a show of opening it in front of everyone. No one should feel obligated to give a gift to anyone this time of year and any token of your appreciation is awesome. Have a great holiday season everyone and enjoy your well deserved break!