How to Choose the Perfect Teacher’s Gift

Let’s talk about teachers. It’s that time of year to be thinking about the perfect teacher’s gift.

They are probably the most overworked and underappreciated people on the planet. Can I get an amen? I think under the current circumstance we can all agree that our teachers are amazing human beings.

They work long hours, give up their free time to plan or grade papers, continue their education each year, have more meetings than we can even imagine, and likely attend events to support their school and students. Not to mention, have become pros at distance learning. Teachers do so much more than simply teach.

So, if you’re like me, when you choose a gift for a teacher, you want it to be perfect. And I want it to be something really special this year! Something that says, I see your hard work. I see your sacrifice. I see the many hats you wear each day.

From expensive teacher’s gifts, to simple gestures of kindness, there is an option for every budget when it comes to letting your child’s teacher know that you see their dedication and hard work, and boy oh boy, do you appreciate their efforts. 

Decorative bible verse about teaching. Proverbs 31:26

The Many Hats of Teachers

Teachers wear more hats than you can even imagine. Not every student is an easy person to teach. Not every student has a perfect home life. Not every student has the ability to control their impulses. Teachers need to wear many hats in order to accommodate students. Teachers may be a disciplinarian one day, and a therapist the next.

In the lower grades, they often act as custodians, dealing with all the bodily functions from all the students. I’m sure any preschool teacher can tell you that they’ve wiped more sick noses, cleaned up more vomit, and helped with more bathroom breaks than the average bear.

Teachers often play the role of advocate, making sure all types of learners are excelling. They are nurses when our precious children get sick at school. I have literally seen my son’s teacher carry him piggy back around campus after he sprained his ankle. Now that is LOVE (I’m looking at you Ms. Davis)!

Teachers are bankers, collecting money for various schools events, fundraisers, and lunches. They are comedians, because sometimes you just have to be silly to engage those kids at the end of the day. They are librarians, confidantes, decorators (that cute classroom didn’t paint itself), friends, and even travel agents. Have you ever planned a field trip? Surely, we should start including commission on these adventures! Clearly, you can see why teachers deserve to be recognized and appreciated. 

Photograph of 20 kids each in their own little photo holding a sign of what they want to be when they grow up. The middle section is 4 kids holding up: When We Grow Up. It is a black and white photograph.

The Art of Choosing a Teacher’s Gift

Have you ever looked for a gift for your child’s teacher and felt completely overwhelmed? Or do you have a “go to” gift that you give each year? Budget is not always an issue for everyone. For others, sticking to a budget is essential.

No matter where you fall on this scale, there is an option that will surely make your child’s teacher jump for joy. From picture frames to candles, gift cards, gift baskets, and homemade gifts, let’s explore what makes the perfect teacher gift. Gifts don’t have to be expensive. In fact, some of the best gifts I’ve ever given were inexpensive expressions from the heart.

I spent some time doing my research, and polled a ton of my teacher friends about what makes them squeal with delight when they unwrap a gift. Most agree that the simple thought makes them happy, but unwrapping something awesome really makes their heart soar. So let’s dive into finding the perfect gift for these angels on Earth!

Frames and Candles and Stationary, Oh My!

Frames, candles, and stationary are always a budget friendly option. If you are proactive like me, you are always on the hunt for super cute frames or candles on clearance to give my favorite people. Frames are always a budget friendly item, and can be paired with the cutest photo of your child and their teacher as a keepsake.

Candles are another fantastic option for a budget friendly gift. It’s probably best to make sure your child’s teacher isn’t allergic to fragrance ahead of this particular purchase. I generally stick with scents that are earthy and relaxing, like vanilla. Candles are the perfect gift to help your favorite teacher wind down after a long week. The best candles I’ve ever found always seem to come from the local boutiques in town. Shop local for candles, every time. You’ll find higher quality ingredients, and a product that has been thoroughly vetted.

Another budget friendly item that teachers crave is a good set of stationary. Budget friendly, you can personalize notepads with your school logo, your teacher’s name, or even  inspirational quotes. Add a little flair with a matching pen, and watch your teacher be wowed! You definitely can’t go wrong one or all of these items for your favorite teacher. If you have a lot of teachers you want to give gifts to, this will certainly help you stay within your budget. 

Picture of a lite brick candle with a check pattern in gray and distressed white. The candle is sitting on a side table with an antique photograph behind it. This photo is showing that candles are an inexpensive teacher's gift.

Gift Cards

If your budget is a bit more extensive, consider gift cards or baskets as a gift. I’ve never met a teacher who didn’t love a gift card or gift basket. A casual conversation over the course of the year, or a little “stalking” on social media can give you a good idea where your teacher likes to eat or shop. Since it’s been a while since your child’s teacher has been able to grab tacos at the local Mexican restaurant, it’s a safe bet that they will enjoy a gift card to their favorite Mexican restaurant.

Have you discovered that they are a shoe-a-holic? Grab a gift card to a local shoe store. Is your child’s teacher always sporting perfect make-up, despite dealing with 25 kids all day? An ipsy subscription may be right up their alley!

Yellow box with gift cards inside to Apple, Dairy Queen, and another place. White and gold poka dot tissue paper is nested in the box for decorations.

Personalized Gift Baskets

If you’re going for something a bit more personal. Consider putting together a teacher’s gift basket. Themed gift baskets take some thought and effort, but they are so worth it. If you know your child’s teacher is heading to the beach at some point, stock up on beach supplies throughout the year. Towels, sunscreen, a tacky novel, margarita mix, and flip flops would make a perfect gift basket for the beach lover.

Does your child’s teacher love movies? Try putting together a basket with DVDs, microwave popcorn, soda, candy, or even a gift card to the local movie theatre once they open again. There are so many terrific options to personalize a gift basket.

I recently had a teacher tell me that a parent gave her a gift basket of Tide, paper towels, Kleenex, and other household items that she really adored and appreciated. If your teacher loves to bake, you can find amazing cookie cutters, patterned rolling pins or even monogram oven mitts with your school logo. Cook books and silicone bakeware also make a great addition to this “love of baking” themed gift basket.

Rectangle wooden gift basket filled with olive oil, noodles and a few to things that are blurred out. Photograph is taken in portrait mode.

Homemade Teacher’s Gift

Don’t discount homemade gifts for your favorite teachers. Sometimes, these are the best gifts in the world, because they speak from the heart. I’ve heard several teacher friends rave about homemade cookies or pralines that they received from a parent.

I have given several hand made gifts to teachers over the years, including photographic projects that I made for fundraisers. Those gifts were always a lasting memory of the school year. I knew a parent once who created the most elaborate scrapbook for their child’s teacher. Those books were the talk of the elementary school!

While the thought of a scrapbook may overwhelm you, you can still make a lovely photo memory book using Shutterfly. I know someone who regularly posts the most beautiful photos of sunrise and sunset with a bible verse quoted under each photo. This inspired me to make a special Shutterfly book using her favorite verses and photos. While a bit time consuming, it was such a fun project if you are the creative type. If you aren’t creative, no worries, this website will make your memory book for you. Simply add photos! 

Picture is of small pale pink meringue candies on a rustic wooden table.

The Gift of Time

Another worthy teacher’s gift to consider is simply the gift of time. I know I for one will be happy to volunteer at the school more after experiencing life as a home school mom. Commit to coming to school once a month to read to students. Show up during lunch or recess to give your teacher a much needed break. Ask if you can come over to walk students to and from the library or music class once a month. Decorate a bulletin board every so often. You would be surprised how much these small gestures can regenerate a hard working teacher, and make them feel appreciated. 

Elementray class sitting outside on a large paorch with an older women reading them a story. The picture is take to the backs of the students but the woman's face is not visible. Only the book. The book has a large yellow bus that covers the back and front of book. Orange mesh bows and tied onto the banister of the porch.

Plants and Gardening Teacher Gifts

Gifts from the garden are not only thoughtful, but can last for years, reminding your favorite teacher that they are always loved and appreciated. One of my favorite “go to” gifts lately is a hanging glass ornament with succulents inside. Succulents require little care, and are just so lovely. There is a definite wow factor when the teacher pulls out this hanging flas globe of awesome.

A small herb garden is another great green gift to consider. Cilantro, Oregano, Lavender, Rosemary, and Basil make wonderful additions to the garden. They can easily be started from seeds and given in a window box type planter to add to the wow factor. Check your local nursery or florist for supplies.

If your teacher is into conservation, give them a tree to plant, or a tree planted in their honor by the Arbor Day Foundation. Plants and trees can last a lifetime, and yield wonderful benefits to your health. 

A dozen tiny terracotta pots each with one succulent. The succulents are  bright green, red, purple, and very pale green color. These make great teacher gift because they are low maintenance and can fit right on the desk.

Gratitude is the Perfect Teacher’s Gift

There are so many wonderful gifts that work for any budget on this list. Go out and support your teacher today! They say teaching is a thankless job, but I wholeheartedly disagree with this assessment. Teachers leave a lasting impression on your child’s heart and soul. When a teacher loves your child, it makes an impression on your soul as well.

The impact teachers have on our children are priceless. It’s heart warming to see our children show gratitude to their teachers by giving them the perfect teacher’s gift. Much like one student did in your article, Life Lessons I Learned my Senior Year.

My children have been blessed with so many wonderful teachers over the years. Teachers who held my hand through learning differences and an autism diagnosis. Teachers who prayed as hard as we did when our littlest person was tested for leukemia (negative, praise God). Teachers who piggy backed the kid with the sprained ankle across campus all week. Teachers I am forever thankful for.

I hope this post inspires you to go out and show the special teachers in your child’s life just how much you appreciate all of their hard work and dedication, not only your child, but to the hundreds of children they will mentor throughout their career.

Cue Elton John’s “Can You Feel the Love” because that is exactly how I feel about this amazing group of people who care for my kids each day.

Destiny Robb

Destiney is a wife and mom to three amazing kids, 21, 16, and 11. She is a property manager in Vidalia, Louisiana. Formerly, a photojournalist, Destiney loves taking photos of life’s precious and sometimes not so precious moments. Destiney loves travel, Disney, all things DIY, and has a passion for environmental causes. In addition to volunteer work at school, She is a founding member of an environmental group in her parish, and works tirelessly to ensure her community moves towards green projects for future generations.

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