Ideas for Teacher gifts for Xmas?

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by susiestar, Oct 17, 2007.

  1. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Ok. I know it is early. I just am pretty sure I will have surgery between now and Christmas, so I want to get everything ready.

    So I am thinking of teacher presents. I will do small things for the office, homemade taco mix and taco fixin's maybe.

    I found a site that does printing for businesses. I got some business cards from then and they were fine. But they keep sending me offers for free stuff, just pay shipping. They have some cute things,even the free stuff can be personalized.

    For thank you's teacher I went to this site and put her name on some sticky notes. Just one pad, and I ordered a rubber stamp with a penguin and the words Good Job! I am proud of you! It is a self inking stamp and I did spring for an extra ink pad.

    I think this is a good start. Any other ideas roaming around out there?


    Anyone have
  2. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Gift cards! I used to help in our local school. The teachers would get all kinds of things but the thing they appreciated the most were gift cards, even ones to Target and Wal-Mart. Starbucks was a big hit with one of the teachers. Jamba Juice for another. One of the best gifts I ever saw was from a mom who was broke and worked nights. She gave the teacher a personalized coupon book. In it were things like an offer to take and pick up the teacher's dry cleaning; do a grocery store run; 2 hours of photocopying; one week of correcting papers at home; etc. The teacher actually had tears. She said it was the most wonderful, thoughtful gift she had ever seen.

    Homemade gifts were always appreciated. I bet they would love something like that the taco mix and fixin's. Teachers frequently don't have time to cook when they get home and something like that would be wonderful.

    Things to not get: Lotions, perfumes, etc. unless you know for a fact this is the teacher's favorite scent and she doesn't have 20 containers of it at home. Cute things for the desk. The desks are full enough as it is. Home decor. The decor in the classroom is not necessarily the decor at their home.
  3. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member

    Gift cards/certificates for local school supply stores are wonderful, since a big chunk of their own money goes to supply a lot of those things.
  4. guest3

    guest3 Guest

    I usually give a small mug with candy or a baked bread and a note of appreciation for the holidays (it's too tight oney wise, ecspecially this year),. I give the big gift at the end of the school year, a nice sized gift card. In the past when I was homeroom mom I would have each parent send in a dozen cookies and I would put them in a big basket for the teacher at Xmas. For teacher appreciation month we had each kid bring in a piece of fruit and we'd do a big fruit basket.
  5. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Some years we have gotten together (the parents) and asked for each child to bring a donation toward a gift card. Some restaurants and other places will give an extra amount (Chili's usually advertises this, $5 extra if you buy a $25 GC) for a teacher gift card.

    This year they have changed a lot f things for security and safety reasons. We used to wait at the classroom door, but now lots of parents are stuck in a long line to drive into the tiny parking lot to pick up their kids. So we parents don't get the chance to talk as much. I will see at the Halloween Party what parent support we have. Some years the 2nd grade classes couldn't go on field trips because there were not enough parent chaperones, and often 2nd grade seems to not have homeroom mother(s) at all.

    I know very well how limited time is for teachers and how different decor is at home and at school. My dad taught junior high for 37 years (EEEEK!!) and my mom was a college prof for 20 years.

    I really like to give useful things. And things that can be used up. This teacher does a lot of stickers on papers, so I thought the rubber stamp would maybe speed up time. It is self inking, so it is just a simple push. The sticky notes are something our district has tried to cut back on. So personalized ones seem useful, and they won't take up a lot of space.

    2 years ago my mom and I were in the teacher's lounge and noticed that it had NO COFFEEPOT and no can opener. We went to WalMart and got a nice coffee maker (the school's had broken and there was not any $$ to replace it), filters, coffee, sugar, creamers (have to have some kind of flavored ones!), and a couple of nice mugs. Also a package of the disposable coffee cups with lids.

    I check every year now to make sure the lounge is well stocked. I can't do a lot of volunteering because my health, but I can do that.

    At the printer site I also got a Tshirt for my dad with caricatures of all the grandkids on it. It is a Proud Grandparent of shirt. Jessie had me put Merry Christmas All year Long on it. The shirt was also free, just a very small charge for shipping.

    I know teachers get a TON of sweet stuff, that is why I was thinking TAco fixin's or maybe a variety of homemade spice mixes. Wild Oats has really great spices, at good prices.

  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Oh - just a funny on teacher gifts. The one my dad liked best over the years was a bottle of one of the parent's homemade coffee liqueur. His child was a difficult child, and he was a principal at another school. He used the pure alcohol from the science lab, and my dad made a quart last for about 4 years!!! (heavy drinkers, my folks, can't ya tell? LOL!!) It still cracks me up as one of the most unique teacher gifts he got!

  7. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Well-Known Member

    Well... I'm going for scented antibacterial gel for teachers and aides plus cookies for the staff room and office.
  8. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    After 22 years of teaching, I can tell you the ones I liked the best. Gift cards to REASONABLE stores. The past few years I'd get ones to places like Nordstroms. Heck...I can't even walk in that store. I still have a 2 year old one to Williams Sonoma. I don't think it would buy a potatoe peeler. Target, Walmart, Mervyn's...where working people shop.

    My second year of teaching a young man gave me this little glass bottle of what he called 'angel dust,' with a nice note. (It was just white glitter.) He said when I was having a bad day I should sprinkle a bit on the child's head and everything would be fine. Do you know I used that same bottle for 22 years...and it worked??? :rofl: The kids loved to have a few sprinkles of glitter on their head. They'd beg for it. It had a great effect and must have been quite simple and inexpensive to make.

    Even a nice note from the parent or child is greatly appreciated. When I cleaned out my room this fall I had many tears reading the notes I've collected over the years.

    I also have several pieces of handmade jewelry that I've collected. I remember where each one of them came from.

    Just some thoughts.

  9. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member

    You can send me that gift card for WS, Abbey! LOL. I love that store! I buy stuff on sale. My friend got me this beautiful big salad/pasta bowl from there for my wedding shower. I loved it. husband broke it about a year ago. I was heart broken!

    What a cute idea about the angel dust...mmmmmmm, something to think about.
  10. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    For the past 3 years I have donated in K's teacher's Name. I did our animal shelter last year, abused kids the year before, battered woman's shelter before that... I was actually thinking of seeing about donating to the special needs place here this year in her teachers name, and the animal shelter in N's teachers name... then I also usually bake something...

    Everyone seems genuinely touched by the gift. I like the "Angel Dust" thought also!!!
  11. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think the ones I appreciate most (whatever they are) are the ones that come with a heartfelt note. I have kept many of the notes over the years.
  12. OTE

    OTE Guest

    A gift card to a bookstore. There's always something a teacher can find there for a few dollars or just get a cup of coffee and read a book.

    One of the best responses I ever got was to something very personal. I had no money but my son had a roomful of amazing women. I bought cheap thrift shop baskets. Those got painted, ribbons or whatever as necessary to make them look season appropriate. I thought about what the teacher and each aide did for my son. eg one aide did reading and crafts, one did math and so forth. I then bought a very cheap item to recognize some of the things each did and a note to explain it all. Or it could have been something personal to each woman.

    eg a $1 store bag of tiny Xmas ornaments. The book one for the reading person, the ruler one for math, the bus one for the person who put him on the bus, the cute little bear for the one who cuddled him when he cried, the sick looking one for the one who took him to the nurse, the food one for the lunch person, the one with a tiny computer for the one who did that with him, something indicating crafts, something clothes or backpack for the person who did that, a knitted sweater bear for the aide who made great sweaters, etc, etc. My son's name is Peter so a seed packet of Sweet Peas in each basket. A packet of hot chocolate, teabag, coffee pack, for the one who got up the earliest or the teacher who worked nights on lesson plans. A Q tip for the one who did Q tip crafts, a pen for the one who did Occupational Therapist (OT) or writing, the list in endless but you get the idea.

    So each basket was a jumble of very inexpensive things. The cost wasn't the point. I then wrote a note with each basket from my son to that person. It was a series of letters down the left side of the paper. Next to each letter was something like "S is for sick. Thank for taking me to the nurse when I'm sick" next to the S. These letters could be acronyms if you're that clever. Can't remember if I did them as acronyms or not. The Q "Q is for Q tip. Thank you for making great crafts with me." "P is for Peter and pea. Thank you for recognizing how sweet I am." Or "P is for popcorn because I know how much you love it.""R is for ruler because I love how you help me with math."

    I enjoy being creative so it was actually fun. They all loved it.
  13. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    My mom was a teacher and she always bought wine for them.

    I've taken it a step farther.

    I go to Costco and buy a case of wine (heck-I can't afford the best in the world, but it tastes good!). Then we have a store called the Christmas Tree Shop and they have little loaf pans and I make Banana Chocolate Chip bread in those. I give the a bottle of wine (anyone that deals with <u>my</u> kids deserves at least that much) and a loaf of the bread. I figure that even if they don't drink, they can serve it to guests over the holiday break or re-gift it!
  14. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Be careful with giving alcohol to teachers as presents. A middle school boy here in Atlanta was suspended from school because he gave his French teacher a bottle of French wine for Christmas.

    It caused quite an uproar and probably shouldn't have resulted in a suspension but the rule was that students can't bring alcohol to school. So I would be careful about that.

    I always enjoy restaurant gift certificates and store gift certificates. My favorite present last year was something I got after a parent (a teacher at another school) emailed me and asked what my favorite foods were. I told her Italian food and the present was a set of Christmas glasses, a 2 liter bottle of diet coke (the student told her that I was always drinking a diet coke in class), and a gift certificate from a local pizza delivery place.

    Another special present I received was an ornament that had a student's name engraved on it. I got it my first year of teaching and have put it on my tree every year for the past 27 years. I think about her each time I place the ornament on the tree and wonder how her life has turned out. Of course, I still think of her as 12 years old.

    It doesn't have to be a present that costs anything, though. Like Abbey and Sharon said, the personal notes mean a lot ~ especially when they come from the kids!

  15. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    On the last day of school before winter break, I bring my kids elementary teachers a ready to heat up meal to take home to their family. I make it *really* nice with homemade yeast rolls, pie, etc. It's frankly a lot of trouble that time of year but you can't believe how appreciative those teachers are. Seriously--the first time I did it I thought the teacher was going to burst into tears.
  16. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Another really cool gift I got a few years ago is a student bought an oversized collapsible lawn chair. He had all my students sign it with a silver permanent marker. I use it every day.

    Probably the most surprising gift I got was a family gave me this HUGE leather purse. Mom forgot to remove the tag...$500. I was in shock. Now, I rarely even carry a purse, let alone one this size. So, it sat in my closet for two years. When I went to take a flight, I thought it might be a good carry on bag. I go to put stuff in it, and there was a $700 gift certificate to Macy's in it!!! :smile: Needless to say, this is a very wealthy family.

    Here is the kicker...the gift certificate is only good for a year. :nonono: Macy's was good enough to honor it when I told them the story.

  17. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member

    That was a lucky thing that Macy's did that. That is a mighty generous gift!
  18. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Depending upon you money situation, I think that the right thing is either a home made goodie, or a gift certificate for something that can't be spent on school supplies. I will always remember Mrs. Rhinehardt in second grade coming to me after the Christmas holidays to tell me how much she enjoyed the banana bread that my mother had sent with me (there were five of us in Catholic school and my dad worked two jobs). She told me that she had a slice with butter every day until it was gone.

    But if you can afford it, a $20 or $25 gift certificate ($700, Abbey?!?!?) to Olive Garden, or a certificate for a pedicure would be great. It's something the teacher can do for themselves on their vacation or a weekend, and might be something that they don't get to treat themselves to very often.
  19. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    Abbey, I believe that is the reason that some districts have banned gift giving to the teacher.
  20. hearts and roses

    hearts and roses Mind Reader

    We live in a small town (8500 pop) and so there are a few little cafes and family owned restuarants/bagels shops/coffee places.

    As we neared Holiday break time, I noticed that the front office of our middle school was filled with cookies, breads, candies, etc. So, I went to this really great local cafe/bakery where an average lunch with drink is about $5/each and bought a $40 gift certificate for the 6 ladies that worked in the office (God knows they handled more than their fair share of MY phone calls!).

    I usually made a nice holiday bread wrapped real pretty, tied with pretty ribbon and a tree ornament for each teacher accompanied by a nice note. We always received a nice thank you note telling us how much they loved it.

    In retrospect, I think straying a bit from the sweet bread idea is a good idea. The taco mix sounds great. And also, putting together a nice "Italian" basket might be nice. You could put a pesto sauce or bruschetta and a loaf of artisan italian bread with some special pasta or something.

    Really great ideas here!! OTE, I loved yours!! Too bad mine are all grown up.