5 Gifts Teachers Actually Want (And 4 They Don't)

December 8, 2014

So you want to get your kids’ teachers gifts for the holidays? Great! It’s always nice to know when you are appreciated for the work you do. Personally, I love giving my teachers gifts because sometimes it's a thankless job. It may depend on the teacher, but here are some sure-fire ideas that will brighten their day and let them know that you appreciate the job they do.


Baking something is always a cost efficient way to celebrate your educators. Sites like Pinterest have great ideas for creative baking and packaging that they will all love. Be sure that there are no allergies to speak of and if there are, find something that works with what they are able to eat. They will appreciate you more if you are able to give them something delicious that works with what could be a difficult diet normally.


Does your teacher have a green thumb? Flowers can be nice to receive but giving them a plant to watch grow over time can be better. If you love the idea of flowers then consider something like an orchid that lasts longer. Lucky bamboo is also a good choice: simple, sleek, and, of course, good luck.

Gift Cards

This might be the most popular of teacher gifts, gift card shopping is the easiest way to shop. While you may think that it seems like it isn’t personal, think again. Focus on what your teacher’s interests are. Do you always see them with coffee? A gift card to Starbucks or better yet, the local coffee house down the street will clearly go to good use. Are they fans of camping? Maybe a card to REI would be nice to receive. Whatever the interest, there is always something good to find.

Homemade kid gifts

This goes more for teachers in elementary schools. Once I gave a box that my son painted to his teacher filled with candy. That teacher still uses the box in his classroom and we gave it to him about 6 years ago. Try to be conscientious of what they would truly be able to use beyond the year your child is with them. They are great reminders and if it is something they can hold on long term, it will be a lasting memory.


Let’s be honest, working with kids is a tough job. It can be rewarding in many ways but sometimes it’s good to treat yourself when you get home. I’ve given teachers mixers before and I’ve also just given wine. You should definitely check to see if they do partake before you give, but as anyone who enjoys an adult beverage at the end of a long day, you know it will be appreciated.

Some less popular ideas

Apples: Giving apple themed gifts are very traditional, but they also border on cliché not to mention over-done. How many apple themed things to you think they have received over the years? How much of these things do you think they can keep over the years or attempt to decorate their home with?  If you are set on apples then think of something more creative and unique like an apple shaped card with a gift card inside or an apple pie or even the ingredients to make Hot Apple Pies. That way they get the apple reference but they also get the yummy relaxing beverage at the end of the day.

Parent services: Are you a massage therapist and you would like to gift your teacher with a free massage? Not so fast. While it is very generous, it is also very personal. That might be crossing the line of comfort for your teacher. The same thing might be said for hair stylists, estheticians, or nail technicians. They aren’t QUITE as personal as a massage but it might create a strange dynamic. If possible give them a gift card for service or buy them a Groupon for the service somewhere.

Mugs: So this isn’t a terrible gift especially if they drink a lot of coffee. That said you can only have so many mugs AND you can only have so many mugs that say #1 Teacher on it. If they are fans of coffee then consider the gift card suggestion above or getting them some sort of gift package from a coffee shop.

Kid photos: This is a very sweet idea. However, your teacher doesn’t need an 8x10 of your child. Where are they going to put that? Consider giving a smaller photo in a card with their gift if you want them to be reminded of your baby’s sweet face. Again, think about how many of these they may receive and sort out where they would keep them over time. Consider something hand made from your child that would be more personal and usable.

Are you a teacher? What have been your favorite gifts?

Are you a parent? What gifts have you given that went over well?