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Gift Ideas for Teachers

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Each year we all struggle with what to get our children’s teachers both in December and again at the end of the school year. Here are 8 ideas that I have used over the years with the teachers of my own kids.

1. Gift certificates from Starbucks, the local bookstore, the local stationary store, office supply store, or a local coffee shop, I’ve always been thanked profusely for all of these, and a few teachers have even told me they appreciate this over the teacher coffee mug they get every single year.

2. A basket with pens, pencils, erasers and other small classroom items. Teachers go through dozens of these items each school year. It’s wonderful when a parent helps replenish the supply.

3. One year we went to Costco and bought boxes of snack foods. We then bought small boxes and gave each teacher a basket filled with snack foods. We included peanuts, a couple of candy bars, small cans of Pringles potato chips, fruit snacks and a couple of bottles of water.

4. If you know the teacher enjoys giving small candies, like chocolate kisses to the class, buy a jar and a huge bag of kisses from Costco. Often, when teachers offer this, the candy is paid for by the teacher. What a treat to have a parent buy the candy that will last at least a semester.

5. If you know the teacher is a coffee drinker, a ½ pound or even a full pound of gourmet coffee is a great treat. If you know the teacher is a tea drinker, an assortment of teas can make a nice gift.

6. If you know the teacher has a specific hobby, a gift certificate to a store selling items related to that hobby is always appreciated.

7. Board games are always appreciated by teachers who teach younger children. Over the years, pieces are lost, or broken. Replacing those older items is always welcome.

8. We’ve had teachers over the years that keep an “Items Wanted” list. This list includes “extra” goodies that the teacher does not have the budget for, but would love in his/her classroom. Throughout the year, as folks move, spring clean etc, families will donate items on that list. Usually these items are used. How special to get a brand new item, that is on the list, so you know the teacher wants the item. Sometimes teaming up with a few other families will allow you to buy a new bookcase, a set of books the teacher wants, or even throw pillows for the floor for the younger children to sit on.

Next time, instead of buying a mug, a ceramic apple or even lotion/aftershave, consider the above items, items a teacher can truly use and will appreciate.

Audrey Okaneko is mom to two girls and has helped organize dozens of classroom parties and events. She can be reached at [email protected] or visited at

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  • Posted On January 15, 2007
  • Published articles 283513

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