Teacher gift ideas

Fiona Brown
Oregon Blog
Earth Monkey Moms

Once upon a time there was a lady whose parents loved her very much. Christmastime was just around the corner when the parents said to the lady, ‘What would you like for Christmas? Make a list for us’. Being the good and dutiful daughter that she was, the lady made a list and sent it off to her parents. Christmastime arrived and parcels galore were delivered to the lady’s house. What was it the parental units had chosen for the lady? Was it be to the new cookie sheets upon which she could bake tasty treats for her family? Was it to be ‘The Pioneer Woman’s’ latest cookbook? Or another choice from the varied list of thoughtful and practical gifts, given to her parents (with direct links to the amazon pages)?

The time came to open the lady’s Christmas box.

In it was a most unexpected gift.

Not the cookie sheets. Not the cookbook. Not even the suggested gravy boat. In fact it was none of the items that had been carefully handpicked and put on the special list.

No, in the box was a case-load of roasted seaweed treats. Annie Chun’s Sesame Seaweed Snacks. 24 bags of them.

A practical joke?

No, my friends, this was indeed a situation of the parents thinking they were being thoughtful, thinking they could offer a great gift. A treat. 

Well…..let’s just say the lady thought it was indeed a surprise. And left it at that. Next year she’s asking for money.

When this post hits the interwebby, my boys will have 16 ½ days of this school year left. The countdown is well and truly on…..and lots of parents are starting to think about thank you gifts for teachers. Now if the thought hadn’t even crossed your mind yet – then maybe this post can be a prompt of sorts….a push in the right direction.

Now to make sure that I’m not writing out of my own thoughts, and not being like the parents in my illustration above and thinking that I’m being thoughtful with my gift-giving, but really I’m way off mark……I approached a whole bunch of teacher friends and asked for their opinions on the whole area of gifts. Thank you gifts and Christmas gifts.

First of all let me make it clear that no teacher out there expects a thank you present and/ or a Christmas present. They don’t keep a roll of which kids give what gifts, and there are no groups of teachers in the staffroom comparing their piles of loot. No ma’am. But while there are no expectations there, they certainly do appreciate the presents they do receive. And I’d just like to say that next to whoever the adults are at home in a child’s life, their teacher is the next most important person in their life. Think of the sheer number of hours they spend together….not mention the time the teacher spends marking, planning, assessing, gathering resources, liaising with other staff and school support people…get my drift? Teachers invest so much into our children. (At this point in this blog post if you dare bring up the whole ‘but teachers get all that summer vacation time’ crap, then I promise you I will punch you in the face). (In love, of course).

OK – so while I personally think teachers deserve our thanks and encouragement ALL year, and not just for one week in May, or on the last day of school for the year…..here are some thoughts on gift giving to teachers…..as told to me by teachers…..by the teachers, for the teachers…..

The Best Gifts.

* Some of the very best gifts are the ones where we as the parents have taken a little time to get to know the teachers and have made the effort to make the gift appropriate to them……

* Homemade gifts – small and personal.

* Lovely handmade Christmas decorations (note that says handmade…not homemade :-), although sometimes they can be one and the same….sometimes…just not in my house)

* Gift cards to local restaurants and cafes

* Even a card with thanks in it and a personal note can really mean a lot – no need for masses of money to be spent.

* One of my teacher friends received a personalized bracelet that she wears nearly every day – and when she wears it reminds her of the love her students have for her.

* Gift cards to a mall

* ‘Cultural’ gifts – for example a green tea set or lacquered jewelry box

From the files of the gifts that were truly given….some memorable for good reasons, others…..not so good…yet still very memorable….

* A dozen fresh green eggs laid by araucana chickens

* One teacher had a seven year old walk around their house, filling a bag with items to ‘bless’ his teacher with…one of those items was a handy dandy tooth flosser which had already been used and had food stuck to it. True story.

* Underwear and silk pjs.

So, while pinterest may be full of good ideas such as a bouquet of pencils, made to look like a bouquet of flowers…I fear if I did that mine would just look like a pile of pencils…..Before stocking up on yellow number 2s, you may want to consider if your child’s teacher really would appreciate that….going into summer break…..I dunno….I’m thinking a nice red wine (IF they like a touch of vino) or a voucher to the movies (IF they like movies) or a gift card to a bookshop (IF they like to read for pleasure) might be more of a treat to them…..all it takes is getting to know them a little. If you want to be really sneaky, clever, see if the teacher has a pinterest account and gather some good ideas from their ‘pins’ of what they like…….

And if you happen to have a seven year old whose main love language is gift giving…..you may want to make sure those used tooth flossers end up in the trash and stay in the trash……

(Please feel free to email in your questions for future ‘Ask Auntie Fi’ posts to: [email protected])


I am a legal alien in this amazing country (USA). I desire to be the best wife, mother and friend I can be. I love life and I want above all else, to be used by God. I write to encourage you – to be honest with you – to prove that we are not to ‘do this life’ alone. We have much to learn from each other.

You can read more about Fiona and her journey into the light on her blog: A Little Bit Of Honesty.

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