Inside: A teacher gift can be hard to choose. It’s hard to know what they really want. But this list, created by an elementary school teacher and vetted by her elementary school teacher friends has exactly what teachers want for the holidays. Choose from this list and you can’t go wrong.
As an elementary school teacher, I always looked forward to the holiday gifts and teacher appreciation gifts my families would give me. I got every teacher gift under the sun, from a gas station card gift certificate to plates of cookies, to a bright red mouse candle glued to a real mousetrap.
Seriously, I could not make that up.
It was the weirdest gift I ever got.
And with the list of everything moms have to do in December, purchasing teacher gifts can often get forgotten until the last possible second.
Between planning classroom holiday parties and practicing songs for the holiday performance with our kids and remembering to make the dish you promised for the PTA potluck, it’s hard to add one more thing to your to-do list.
But let me tell you, teachers love gifts.
Teachers are clearly not in this profession for the money.
They teach because they love making a difference in our kids’ lives.
So it’s nice to shower our teachers with gifts at the holidays and during the first week in May which is teacher appreciation week because it’s a simple way to tell them:
- thank you for everything you do to help my child learn and grow and thrive.
- thank you for being another adult who deals with my kid because I kinda need a break for a few hours
- I want you to know that I know you don’t get paid nearly enough money for what you do and since I can’t fix that, here’s a gift.
5 of the Best Teacher Gift Ideas that All Teachers Want
It can be hard to know what teachers really want when you’re picking out holiday gifts for them or teacher appreciation gifts.
But I have a secret to share.
There is one major thing all teachers really want. What they get super excited about.
And I’ve polled every teacher I know…friends, colleagues and my kids’ teachers.
They all agree.
So to make your shopping easier in December and early May, and to make teachers happier, I’ve compiled a list of teachers’ favorite go-to gifts that we give to my kids’ teachers.
1. Gift Cards Make the Best Teacher Gift:
I can not state enough how much teachers love gift cards. They are seriously the best.
Want to make it cutesy???
Starbucks gift cards– pop it into a to-go cup (Starbucks will happily give you a clean cup and lid) and write, “Thanks a Latte” on the lid.
Target and Amazon gift cards– teachers spend their own money on almost everything they need for their classrooms. It’s so nice when they can shop with someone else’s money. You can pair a Target card with “I’m right on Target because of you,” and on an Amazon gift card you can write “You’re an amaz’on teacher!”
Barnes and Noble or a local independent bookstore gift card– most teachers, me included, have a serious book addiction. We can’t pass a bookshop, a book fair, or a thrift store without searching for a new or old book. Help your teacher add to her library with books she really wants.
Purchase a gift card (or a gift) off their favorites list– ask your child’s teacher what their favorite things are… favorite restaurant, favorite dessert, favorite candy, favorite hobby and get them a gift card for that. I’ve purchased a frisbee golf disc for a teacher who loves playing frisbee golf, and a gift card to the Olive Garden.
If they like it, I’ll buy it.
Download the Teacher Favorites printable down below. You can literally ask your kids’ teachers what they want. No more guessing.
2. Favorite Drink:
One of my favorite teacher gifts to give is to find out their favorite morning beverage.
Instead of a gift card, my kids roll up to school with their teachers’ favorite drinks to hand them.
We’ve dropped off fresh squeezed oj, Starbucks drinks, and an extra large McDonald’s diet coke.
All it takes is a quick email to find out their drink of choice and leaving the house a few minutes before school to hit up the coffee store. Or the McDonald’s drive-thru.
3. Teacher Gift for their Classroom:
Another easy gift is to ask teachers what they really want for their classroom. Ask them what the next thing they were going to buy is or what’s on their wish list.
We’ve bought a class book for an upcoming lesson, a rainy day boardgame, and craft supplies for a project they really wanted to try.
We’ve added money to a teacher’s Go Fund Me Page, a DonorsChoose.org page, and bought Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificates.
Again, teachers spend their own money every single day on our kids.
This is a simple way to let them keep a little more money in their pocket.
4. A Sweet Handwritten Card from Your Kids:
I know money can be tight, especially when you’re purchasing something for each of your kids’ teachers.
With three kids, it can add up fast. Plus, we have specialists and religious school teachers to shop for.
I loved getting handwritten cards from my students letting me know what they love about me or our class. I still have many of them. My favorite is one that announced how beautiful I was because I wear pretty lipstick.
You know what? I’ll take it. It’s better than a #1 Teacher Mug.
5. Did I mention Teacher Gift Cards?
Seriously, when in doubt, go with a gift card. Teachers have enough mugs, and lotions and ornaments. They get frames and bath gels and red mouse candles on real mouse traps.
But really, teachers just want to buy another book or drink their vanilla latte while shopping in the Target dollar bin or go frisbee golfing with their new disc.
And those are the gifts I’m more than happy to give.
If you’re looking for something more personal or crafty or more cutsie, you’ll love these 22 Sweet Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas That Teachers Will Love.