As the end of the school year nears, I’m sure that teachers everywhere must be inwardly groaning at the thought of a fresh crop of coffee mugs on the way. Not that it’s not the thought that counts, but I imagine that teachers’ cupboards must be overflowing with tchotchkas they’ve received over the years and as much as they appreciate the sentiment they’d might welcome a change from the standard teacher gifts.
When I’m buying gifts for teachers I always try to get a ‘consumable’ gift that can be used up somehow. I don’t really like giving gifts that will end up sitting around their homes. God knows the last thing I need is more clutter, so why would I wish that on someone else? Also, I try to get gifts that have the potential to be shared. A box of chocolates or a magazine subscription can be enjoyed by a teacher’s whole family.
Here are a few ideas for some useful gifts to show your recognition for your children’s teachers’ hard work and dedication.
Who doesn’t like chocolate? A box of chocolates is a little luxury that can be enjoyed right away by your child’s teacher and her own family, saved for a special occasion, or even – gasp – “regifted”.
Elegant soaps are another gift that can give someone a little taste of luxury, yet won’t hang around, cluttering their shelves. A couple of bars of expensive, imported soap and body oil wrapped up in a pretty washcloth and tied with a cloth ribbon makes a simple, yet chic gift.
Another nice way to show your appreciation is with a gift to their favorite charity. One great example for teachers is the World Wildlife Fund. When you adopt an animal in someone’s name they will receive an adoption certificate, species info card and photo, which can be displayed in class and promote awareness about endangered species.
If you know of books that your child’s teacher may need or want, this can help your teacher add resources to the class without cutting into their budget.
Again, this is a great way to help your child’s teacher out by providing items that can be used in class that they won’t have to purchase themselves from their limited budget.
Gift certificates let your child’s teacher select their own gift which can be a welcome change when you’re receiving 30 different gifts on one day. Book store or craft supplies gift certificates are always a great idea for teachers, and if you happen to know their interests – are they a Starbucks addict? – you can tailor the gift certificate to them. But even if you don’t know know them well, who wouldn’t enjoy a gift card towards movie tickets, a local restaurant or even a spa?
A magazine subscription is a gift idea that can be used in class or at home. If you already know which magazines your child’s class receives, you can add to their library with a fun, educational magazine. One of my favorites is Mental Floss, which can be enjoyed by adults and (older) kids alike.
This is a great way to create a gift together with your child and their teacher will no doubt appreciate the handmade aspect to it. Work with your child to bake cookies, cupcakes or a loaf of banana bread. Not only is it a nice way to spend time with your child, it will give them a sense of accomplishment, knowing that they played an important part in creating their teacher’s present.
Flowers or Plant
A bunch of flowers will brighten up your child’s teacher’s classroom or home. A plant for their garden or a houseplant will be a living reminder of your appreciation for their hard work. Or you could give them a decorative pot and a packet of seeds.
Handwritten Thank You
I know this goes against my suggestion to give gifts that won’t add to their clutter, but if you help your child write a heartfelt, sincere note expressing thanks for the support and guidance their teacher has provided it can be a treasured keepsake that will be tucked away and serve as a reminder that all their tireless hard work and devotion really does make a difference in each child’s life.