The little girl didn’t have much. She lived in what you would consider high-end “Projects” if that exists. Her home was built in the smack dab center of a middle class neighborhood. She came from a family of five trying to survive on the income of a butcher. The little girl loved learning and she was always blessed with wonderful teachers, well except maybe that one teacher in 3rd grade who made fun of her braided pigtails. For the most part her teachers were a fountain of encouragement. Not having much money around Christmas time she would start saving early on from odd jobs she would do for her middle class neighbors. One year, she did try to “borrow” something from her mother to give to a teacher. Her mother discovered this and, needless to say, it never happened again.
Her father worked day and night so he was rarely available to take them anywhere so they made good use of public transportation to get around town. The little girl along with her mother and two other siblings would walk a ways to get to the bus stop, then they would take 2 or 3 buses to get to the store. With every bus connection she would get excited because that meant she was getting closer to her hard-earned gift that she would soon purchase.
You couldn’t remove the smile off her face as she skipped up and down each aisle looking for the glorious boxed chocolates section. She walked past the fancy expensive chocolates and suddenly she came to a halt, there they were in large black bold letters: CHOCOLATE COVERED CHERRIES. Alas, she held them in her hands and she inspected them carefully making sure they were the two dollar kind because that was exactly what she had saved up for. She smiled with glee, ignoring what she knew well, that other students were giving the teacher nicer gifts that she would never be able to afford. The next day, in the same dress she wore the day before she proudly walked up to her teacher and with a big smile on her face she handed her precious gift: Chocolate Covered Cherries!
I preface this article with this short story because I want you to know the truth: that every gift given with love is dear to each teacher’s heart.
Now onto the poll, I polled teachers from different parts of the world and the consensus on what is a “good teacher gift” varied but they all agreed on: practical and sentimental gifts.
So what does practical and sentimental mean? Obviously this looks different for everyone but most teachers shared that a gift that was made from their student was preferred or a holiday themed gift: ornaments, mug, picture frame or candle. This way the teacher is able to revisit the gift and sentimental memory each year. The top practical gift was GIFT CARDS. The next practical gift, was fun supplies that they can use throughout the year.
Make Simple Gift Packages:
- Coffee/Tea Lovers: Purchase a coffee shop gift card and stick it inside a mug filled with homemade goodies.
- Movie Lovers- Purchase a bag of popcorn or make some flavored popcorn and add a movie theater gift card from your local movie theater.
- Book Lovers- Purchase a gift card from your local bookstore, Amazon or Audible online and place it in a Children’s classic book for the class book collection.
- Personalize note pads, pencils, stickynotes and place them in a basket with other supplies for them to use throughout the year.
- Chocolate Lovers- A basket filled with their favorite chocolate bars.
- Food Lovers- A gift card to their favorite restaurant and some of your family favorite recipes printed out.
- Candle Lovers- Buy a mug/candle warmer that you can set a glass candle on in the classroom without lighting it. Add to the mix various scented candles. My husband uses his tons, especially after the kids come in from recess.
Something to consider: I know goodies are a big hit during the holidays but this is what happens to a lot of teachers on the last week before Christmas break: Goodies in the teacher’s lounge almost everyday, teacher holiday parties, friends & family holiday parties, teacher class parties and then 14 out of 24 kids give you a goodies plate. Yea, you guessed it, all sugared out. So if baking is your love language make goodies that can be saved for later like cookies in a jar with the mix or frozen cookie dough. And don’t forget to shower them with some sweet words, lots of it! Teachers also appreciate that kind of sugar.
So don’t be afraid to ask them what they like if their answer is vague (like I use to respond) then just mix it up: something homemade, something they need or something they can eat or read!
Teachers, what are some of your favorite gifts you have received?