It’s holiday season time! Buying presents for family, and friends. Sending out holiday cards. Decorating the house. It really makes you enjoy this time of year. But, in just a few short weeks, the kiddos will be home with you all day, every day. And your children’s teachers will get a much deserved break. Hopefully they can enjoy time with their families, sleep in, and catch up on shows they have missed. I know that’s what I did when I was teaching. I slept in every day. Stayed up way too late. And watched every show on my DVR that I could possibly have missed.
As you are out shopping for presents for family and friends, don’t forget to get your child’s teacher(s) some well-deserved gifts. So what do you give as a teacher gift for the holidays? I actually recommend not giving the elaborate, Pinterest-worthy gift to your child’s teachers. I always loved the effort, but could never find a place to put the gift. I would always try to make room somewhere, but there is never enough space in those classrooms! Then, as I was packing up the classroom for the end of the year, most of the beautifully constructed gifts were tossed in the trash, as I had no place to store them. I did ALWAYS keep the gifts, drawings, and cards created by the kids. I actually still have cards, drawings, and a few trinkets some of my students made in a box in my attic. It was just the adult-created presents that took up the most space. So, instead of panicking, I am sharing my suggests as to what will make the best teacher gifts, coming from a former teacher!
Whip out the paint, crayons, markers, or pencils and have your kiddos create a gift for their teacher. Allow them to express themselves in any way they want. This is one of the most meaningful presents I ever received from my students. I loved seeing their artwork, and some even would write a sentence or two. One kiddo wrote an entire story about being in my classroom. I treasured each of these gifts, as they truly showed my students gratitude and made such a sweet reminder of why I did what I did.
Gift cards were always my favorite monetary gift. Starbucks, restaurants, and Amazon were my favorite cards that I received. You can always tell which students listen to you as you share your stories, or notice your coffee based on the gift cards you receive. When I taught second grade, I was demonstrating a writing skill by narrating an event that happened the night before. In the story, I wrote that I went to Panera for dinner with some friends. Two months later, it’s December, and a student gave me a gift card to Panera because he remembered my story about going there with some friends. I thought it was an incredibly sweet and touching gesture that he remembered my silly story and that lesson resonated enough with him that he remembered such a specific detail of the location I wrote about.
Coffee or Tea Mugs
I drank a lot of coffee when I was teaching. Ok, fine, I just drink a lot of coffee in general…nothing has changed there. But I would love getting cute mugs filled with teas or coffee, or gift cards to coffee in the cup or travel mug. If your child knows that their teacher drinks coffee, this is a great gift to give! I had one mug decorated with the child’s artwork. I had another child give me a mug that she picked out that reminded her of me! You can easily make this gift child-centered by involving your child in selecting the mug for his/her teacher.
Another gift I loved was flowers or plants. After the last school day before winter break and after our Valentine’s Day party, my house was covered with flowers and plants. I loved decorating my space with the beautiful flowers that were gifted to me from my students. It was always nice to have such beauty surrounding you during the winter break by being able to decorate the house with fresh flowers and potted plants.
Gifting food can be tricky with allergies, and there is typically tons of leftovers from the holiday party. But it can be fun to give a cute Mason jar can of quick break or cookie mix. I would give these as gifts to my teaching assistants, along with attaching a wooden spoon to the jar. It was a cute gift that could be used for holiday parties, cookie exchanges, or just for fun!
And speaking of cookie exchanges, I am pinning over at Better Homes and Gardens pinning party for the world’s largest cookie exchange! Head over to Pinterest to check out some amazing recipes for delicious cookies! And don’t worry, I am pretty much pinning the gluten-free recipes since that is all I can eat!
If your school has a policy for no teacher gifts, then I would say be incredibly sneaking and give the gift of supplies! By December, I was always running out of school supplies. I know it sounds crazy with how much you have to buy at the beginning of the school year, but things go quickly in a classroom. Whiteboard markers, crayons, regular markers, pencils, and Kleenex were the first to go. Slap a bow on a few boxes of tissues and you will have one happy teacher!!
Another favorite gift was books for our classroom library. My third year teaching, a student gave me sticker name plates that said: This book belongs to Ms. Jessica from ______. I would have each student fill out the blank if they gave me a book for the library. I would also write in the school year that the book was gifted to me so I would remember. Now, my kids are reading those books from my incredible students who gave me such wonderful books.
As you prepare for Hanukkah, Christmas, Festivus, or whatever holiday you might celebrate this time of year, make sure your child’s teacher knows just how special they are for watching, protecting, and teaching your children. And don’t forget to follow along for the World’s Largest Cookie Exchange Pinterest Party! Head over to the board to find some amazing recipes for delicious cookies for your next cookie exchange party!