You probably have a long list of people to buy gifts for this holiday. If you have children in school, teacher gifts are probably on that list. You may have only met the teachers once or twice at this point in the year. Therefore, you may not know what the teacher likes. If your children are like my son, J, they are pretty oblivious to things around them. I asked J, “Does your teacher drink anything in the morning?” Response: No. “What does your teacher like?” Response: I don’t know. He’s so helpful.
Luckily, both my husband and I are teachers, so we have some insider information about what gifts teachers prefer. We’ve seen all different sorts of gifts. One year my husband received an old sweater that his student took from his dad’s closet. I don’t recommend that. We have also spoken to many teachers at our buildings to find out the top 5 teacher gifts for the holiday. Even if your children are like my son, this list will help you find the perfect gifts for their teachers.
Top 5 Teacher Gifts
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#1 – School Supplies
Teachers have a strange addiction to school supplies. Almost every teacher we talked to mentioned at least one type of teaching supply as an ideal gift. Even though teachers are surrounded by markers and papers all day, we just can’t get enough. Last year, I received a 24-pack of multi-colored Sharpies, and it was one of my favorite gifts. I also can’t get enough post-its. They come in so many shapes and colors, and they have so many different uses. I can write myself notes, have my students mark where they use reading strategies, or leave little messages stuck to my students’ desks. Teachers are very practical. We like gifts that we can use and enjoy with our students.
#2 – Something to Remind Us of Your Child
All the teachers we talked to agreed that they love gifts that remind them of their students. For example, my teammate received a lucky penny engraved with her student’s name. It’s on a key chain that she put on her keys and still carries with her. She said it reminds her of that student each time she looks at it. I have several ornaments on my Christmas tree that students have either made or bought that have their names on them. Each year when I’m decorating my Christmas tree, I pull out those special ornaments. They bring back great memories of those students.
One year, I received a class gift that several parents put together. They bought a bag with my name on it and had all of the students sign it. Then, they filled it with teaching supplies. I used that bag for several years to carry my computer and books. Eventually, it got dirty, and I replaced it with a new bag. However, I couldn’t throw it away. I still have it in my closet, and every time I look at it, I remember that class. I absolutely love this personalized bag!
#3 – A Special Lanyard
Buying jewelry for someone you don’t know well can be difficult. However, there’s one item every teacher needs – a lanyard to hold an ID card. I’ve received several of these over the years, and it’s always nice to have more than one. Since they are used on a daily basis, they get worn out quickly. Sometimes the plastic on the bottom breaks. Other times, I change my lanyard just for fun. I received one with a butterfly on it from a student last year, and every time I wear it, I get compliments. I love this educational lanyard.
#4 – Scented Hand Soaps
Scented hand soaps are great teacher gifts! Some teachers said they love getting these to use at the sink in their classrooms. Others like to take them home and use them there. Either way, these make great gifts. Sometimes, they come with lotions or body washes at Bath and Body Works. Those gift sets are perfect, too. Have your children choose scents they love, and that will make it extra special.
#5 – Gift Cards
If you still can’t decide what to get for teacher gifts, gift cards are another great option. Every teacher we talked to said gift cards make a great present. Teachers put a lot of their own money into their classrooms. Gift cards can help us buy things without spending our own money. Last year, I received a few Target gift cards, and I was able to buy new pillows for our classroom reading area.
All of the teachers we spoke to said they really appreciate it when their students and their families think of them during the holidays. I ended up getting J’s teacher a Target gift card. That way she can buy herself anything she would like. I’m holding out hope for my daughter. Maybe she will be more observant and able to tell me what her teacher likes. Then, I can customize a special gift just for that teacher. Until then, I’m sticking to this list of tried and true teacher gifts.
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