Christmas Gifts for Teachers: 10 Simple and Inexpensive Ideas
I love the holidays, it fills me with the spirit of giving and affords me the perfect opportunity to present my children’s teachers with a gift to let them know just how much they are appreciated. But finding the perfect teacher gift is not always easy and in these lean financial times spending extra money on a teacher gift may not be your top priority. But don’t fret, or think about becoming a scrooge and crossing your child’s teacher off your list. Take a look at this list of ten simple and in expensive ideas for fabulous teacher gifts and be filled with the spirit of giving once more.
1. Homemade Ornament
A teacher gave me the idea for this as a gift when she told me that she had a special tree in her house where she hung every ornament a student had ever given her. Clearly this was a woman who loved her job and held a special place in her heart for every child she had ever taught. If this is the kind of person teaching your child, help your child create something special as a gift to hang on a tree. I love the ornaments featured on the website handsonaswegrow.com, ranging from the simple to more ornate, you will be sure to find an ornament that you and your child can make.
A teacher gift of home baking is truly a gift from the heart that you and your child can share in preparing. Have your child do some investigative work to find out what their teacher’s favorite baked good is and then make it together. If baking isn't your forte, ask an aunt or uncle or grandparent to pitch in and help and make it a family affair. Be sure to go that extra mile and put it in a lovely Christmas tin or basket with a handmade gift tag from your child. Teachers are just as busy as the rest of us, someone else doing the baking is always welcome.
3. Plant in a Hand Painted Pot
This gift is by far one of our favorite teacher gifts to give. My children love transforming ordinary terra cotta plant pots into works of art and I love sharing our plants. One year we took shoots from our large aloe vera plant so we could give each teacher an individual potted plant for Christmas. It was a very hands on process from the painting to planting which helped add extra meaning to the project. The payoff came in the tears of gratitude from the school secretary when they brought one to her. It still sits on her desk. In total it cost us $6.00 for teacher gifts that year. The best presents are rarely the most expensive ones.
4. Soup Jars
Teacher’s face the “what’s for lunch?” conundrum just as much as their students do, so why not give them a practical teacher’s gift and prepare a few jars of homemade dry instant soup mix in decorative mason jars. Just add water and voila, a hot lunch ready to go. There are tons of great instant dry soup recipes at ellenskitchen.com. We like the cup of vegetable noodle soup.
5. Coffee, Tea or Hot Chocolate
A teacher gift that is always well received is coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Again, have your child investigate to find out what their teacher prefers and create a small basket full of their favorite warm drink. Include a festive mug and a chocolate covered spoon for stirring and you’ve got a real winner. If you’re short on time a small gift card from a local coffee shop in a handmade card from your child is a great way of saying "Happy Holidays."
6. Post-it Notes, Note Cards and a Special Pen
I am a big fan of practical gifts and what teacher doesn’t need a good pen and more post-it notes? It’s a simple go to idea that suits everyone’s tastes. I actually keep a small stockpile of these items in my “gift hamper,” in the event I need a quick and easy gift and haven’t got the time to make something personal.
7. Emergency Flu Kit
Children are germ magnets and teachers deserve every sick day they take as far as I’m concerned. So why not help them get through the cold and flu season by creating a simple emergency flu kit. Fill a small fabric bag with hand sanitizer, wet wipes, pocket Kleenex packs, chewable vitamin C and cough drops and have your child make the Emergency flu Kit label. This is another practical teacher’s gift that will definitely come in handy with cold weather and runny little noses just around the corner.
8. Decorative Box
This is a gift your child can have a hand in creating as well. Why not help your child’s teacher in their quest for organization by creating fun and easy decoupage box for them to store assignments, books or school supplies in? Make it super creative and studious by having your child cut out school related words and pictures from magazines and paste them onto the box. Finish it off with some gloss and glitter and you’ve got a work of art that can be used in the classroom. Haven’t got time to create a personal decorative box for a teacher gift? Why not find an inexpensive one at a craft store and fill it with a few homemade treats?
9. Ready Made Dinner
A teacher gift I love to give when spending isn’t quite as tight is a coupon for dinner to go at one of the lovely gourmet shops in our town. For only $10, a gourmet meal will be ready and waiting to take home for our child’s teacher, the perfect thing after a very long day when cooking is just not an option. This gift is especially good if your child’s teacher is single or not much of a cook themselves. So poke around your local shops or restaurants for potential gift certificates that would be appreciated, but won’t break the bank. Or if you’re quite the chef yourself, you can prepare a ready made meal for delivery and arrange to bring it to the school at a convenient time.
10. Picture Frame
This gift is my stand by when I am at a total loss for what to give to someone. If you have the time and inclination you can make this an art project with your child and either opt for something simple or very ornate. We like to buy simple wooden frames from Ikea and paint them in jewel tone colors and then apply a metallic crackle coat over top to give them a festive feel. It’s an easy and fun painting project that can be done in an afternoon and yield gorgeous results. The Ikea frames come in packages of three so we like to give them in gifts of three. If time is a factor check out your local second hand stores or a craft store to find the perfect frame to say thank you.
Spirit of Giving
As an adult I now truly understand the saying “it is better to give then to receive,” and take advantage of the holiday season to do just that with teacher gifts. I encourage everyone to find a way to share your gratitude with the people who play an important part in your life and the lives of people you love, whether they are teachers, neighbors, employees or family and friends. Remember, the act of giving and saying thank you doesn’t need a dollar sign attached, just a giving spirit and a sense of gratitude. Happy Holidays!