There is no better place to be around the holiday season than an elementary school. The energy is contagious and there is a near constant buzz of Christmas countdowns and wish lists being recited. One of the perks of being an elementary school teacher is that your students still like you. They give you smiles, high-fives and hugs and, at Christmas time…gifts.
Coming from experience, I can tell you that all gifts are wonderful. The real thing is just appreciating your child’s teacher. BUT…remembering the year in which I received 3 snow globes and a teacher plaque, there are gifts that teachers tend to like more than others. I mean, if you are going to bless them with a gift, may as well have it be something they will actually LOVE!
So I’ve compiled a list of DO’s and DON’Ts – a simple guideline for teacher gifts. Here it goes …
- DON’T – PLAQUES and KNICK-KNACKS: Thank you for thinking that I’m the “World’s Best Teacher”, and I’m so happy that you feel that “Teachers shape tomorrow, one mind at a time” but I don’t have an office to display adorable figurines. I have a desk and usually it is covered with a plan book, grade book, and piles of papers and tests I need to give or grade.
- DO – LETTERS AND CARDS: Teachers invest emotionally in your kids. We love them. There is nothing I would appreciate more than a note or letter of appreciation from you (or your child). It makes us remember why we do what we do. We pin them up. We save them in files FOREVER. Give a copy to the principal, too.
- DON’T – TEACHERY PINS and BROACHES: Most teachers dress like the average, everyday human being, and most average, everyday human beings don’t wear pins advertising their profession. You don’t see plumbers pinning toilets and sinks to their lapels.
- DO – JEWELRY: I’m not talking diamonds and pearls here. But, referencing the above comment about average, everyday people, teachers love a cute necklace or earrings. By the time Christmas rolls around you’ve met the teacher. You know her style. Pick her out something pretty. Plus it makes your kid happy when they see their teacher wearing the gift.
- DON’T – MUGS: True, most teachers drink coffee. True, we drink it out of mugs. But we already have a mug or 2 or 20 in our classroom. It doesn’t matter what it says, whose picture is on it, or how cute, funny, or clever it is…we don’t need/have space for it.
- DO – MONEY or GIFT CARDS: Have you seen the teacher salary scale? You might think it’s tacky to give cash … we don’t think so, but if you want to craft it up … fold some origami creatures out of 10 dollar bills! Gift cards are also great! It’s such a treat to be able to tuck it away for a special treat. Please don’t put it in a mug.
- DON’T – BOXES of CANDY: Teachers love candy, but the fact that we get a lot of it coupled with the issue that we are often also emotional stress eaters sometimes is a recipe for disaster.
- DO – HOMEMADE TREATS: Like anything else, a little personal touch goes a long way. A batch of cookies or roasted pecans provide a yummy treat with a little less of a straight sugar-high. Look on Pinterest for inspiration.
Here are some other gifts that any teacher is sure to love
- A scarf (like this, or this) – Teachers love to accessorize!
- Gift card to the movies – Despite what our students may think, we do not live at school.
- A handmade teacher survival kit – For that personal touch . Buy one or make one.
- A basket of sharpies and sticky notes – School supplies are like crack to most teachers.
- A Bottle of Wine – Know the teacher, but in my experience, most teachers are morning coffee drinkers and evening wine sippers.
- A GROUP gift – Get a few families to contribute toward a message or tickets to a sporting event or play.
- Personalized Stationary or Address Stamp – Teachers write tons of notes. Anything that is personalized for them shows that you were thinking of them and planned a bit for this gift.
- Volunteer – There is no better gift to a teacher than a RELIABLE volunteer. Whether you are available twice a week or once a month. Set up a time and be there. Teachers will love you!