Finding the right holiday gifts for your child’s teachers can be a real stressor. It’s important to keep cost down, but the last thing we want to do is give teachers something they don’t want or need. Seriously, what teacher wants 30 apple-scented candles?
I have three kids in Montessori school where there are four teachers in each class, plus extras like art, gym, and music. This pushes my grand teacher total beyond 12. If I’m not careful, I could spend more money on my kids’ teachers than I do on my kids.
This is why proper gift selection is critical. Armed with the right information, I should be able to choose something cost effective that these important ladies will actually enjoy.
In my opinion, you can’t go wrong with a sentimental gift. Teachers do what they do for not a lot of money because they love our children. What better way to thank them than with a gift that shows how much they matter?
My annual staple is to create a holiday card on Shutterfly for each of my children’s teachers with a personalized note telling them how much they mean to our family. Yes, the note is the same across the board, but you can always add a handwritten note if you’d like. If you’re ordering 20–25 cards, the cost will be around $1.50 per card, and you can typically find a deal in November that will cut that cost in half.
Last year, my daughter wanted to draw her own picture for each of her teachers, which I included in the cards. This, of course, is another idea that you could do in lieu of any sort of card. Handmade items by your child are some of the most treasured by teachers.
“Something homemade from your child can NEVER go wrong,” writes Nicolette of momnivores-dilemma.com. “We teachers gobble that stuff up. I have a file with all the handmade cards, photos, and letters.”
Conflicting information: Some blogs cited mugs and ornaments as a big no-no since teachers get so many, but others liked the idea if they were personalized. I say go with your gut. I gave personalized mugs to my son’s infant-room teachers and they loved them. Of course, they may have been lying.
If you’re hoping to make a big splash with your gifts, this route may seem like the biggest bummer, but my research shows the contrary. Practical gifts, like gift cards, are what teachers really go ga-ga over.
“Yes, they seem impersonal, but in all reality, your child’s teacher spends a LOT out of their own pocket on books, craft items, and school supplies,” says Nicolette. “If you want, include something handmade with said gift card.”
Another option (that I will admit didn’t occur to me) is school supplies such as fancy markers or colored Sharpies, Post-It notes, blank note cards, double-sided tape or stickers, and copy paper.
“Remember, we’re school geeks that get excited when school supplies come out in the summer,” writes Beth on the website, I Think We Could Be Friends.
Conflicting information: I consider food a practical gift since we all eat, so why not provide baked goods or chocolate? Some teachers loved that idea, others did not.
“Your teacher may be battling with her weight or have food allergies,” writes Nicolette. “For instance, I can’t eat gluten, yet well meaning neighbors drop cookies I have to toss in the trash. My favorite ‘food’ gift was a gift card to Whole Foods.”
If you are in a situation where you don’t have a lot of teachers to give to, you can give a more expensive gift on your own or go in on a group gift with other parents in the class.
Some ideas include spa or salon gift cards or electronics like an iPad, iPod, or digital camera.
The key with any gift is to put yourself in the recipient’s shoes and ask what they would really want. Money isn’t the object … it truly is the thought that counts.
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