Holiday Gift List: Your children’s teachers

My family doesn’t celebrate the holidays much, but when my siblings and I were very small my mum would insist on buying holiday presents for our teachers. A week or so before the break we’d drop by the mall and she would try to decide on the right present. Chocolates or candles? A tiny statuette or a solid serving tray? A nice set of pens? A coffee mug? A set of bath salts?

If you buy presents for your kids’ teachers, you probably know how hard it can be to figure out what to get them, especially since they’re probably getting exactly the same kinds of gifts from other parents as well. Here are some ideas for this year’s gift-shopping trip, with tips on what teachers actually want.

A thoughtful thank-you: A lot of teachers say that sincere, handwritten thank-you cards from students and their parents are always appreciated and are kept. Plus, storing a few dozen cards is a lot easier than storing the same number of ceramic snowman figurines.

Homemade goodies: If you want to give something along with the thank-you note and are good with baking or candy-making, try whipping up a little something, wrapping it nicely, and presenting it to your child’s teacher. Homemade treats are always special, and if you can get your kids involved that will be even better, as most teachers will love to hear that their students helped make the gift.

(A caveat: consider that they may be watching their weight or might have dietary restrictions.)

Gift cards for coffee or classroom supplies: This is a generally a great, fail-safe option. After all, coffee is good, and gift cards for free coffee in the middle of winter are even better. I’m sure you understand. And since school budgets are usually stretched tight, a lot of elementary school teachers end up paying for classroom supplies and decorations directly out of their own pocket. A gift card for Staples or another office supplies store will likely be much appreciated.

Do you have any tips for gift giving when it comes to your kids’ teachers? Or do you prefer a no-present holiday season, having decided that the hassle of giving teachers gifts is all work and no fun for everyone involved?