Schools will be letting out for Christmas soon, and along with whatever brownies, cookies, or paper goods you’re contributing to the class party, you’re likely thinking of what would be a good gift for your child’s teacher(s). The automatic results that pop up in an online search for “teacher gift” are, of course, the plethora of apple-laden picture frames, pencil holders, and mugs that say “World’s Best Teacher”. While these types of teacher gifts are cute, it might be worth considering something else if you want to genuinely help make his or her life a little easier, more enjoyable, etc. If you take a moment to consider how busy, tired, and financially strapped most educators are a lot of the time, you'll probably start to come up with some great inspiration. To get the ball rolling, check out a few of the ideas below:
1) Customized Bags
Everyone has to carry stuff once in a while (and teachers more than most). Heavy-duty canvas bags are great for carrying books, supplies, groceries, and just about anything else. To give a more personalized touch, you can design a custom bag like the ones from Personalization Mall for the teacher(s) on your list with a picture, a quote, or anything else you think they’d enjoy (note: if you want them to be able to use the bag outside the classroom for grocery shopping, etc, best to avoid putting their name on it in case they’d rather not have it broadcast to every eye at the supermarket.)
2) Insulated Thermos
Coffee, water, soda, soup... help your favorite educator have something yummy to sip on throughout the day with an insulated thermos. This one on Amazon works for hot and cold beverages and even has a cup in the cap.
3) Custom Keychain
Pretty much every adult has keys to something, and the teacher is likely carrying quite a few. A keychain like this one from Jewelry Everyday with a name or phrase on it can be both beautiful and useful (and remember that if there isn’t time to custom order something, you can always get things engraved at the mall or a local jewelry shop as well).
4) Ice scraper mitt
It’s not glamorous, but boy, is it a lifesaver on cold mornings! If you live anywhere north of Florida chances are you’ll at least see some frost (if not ice and snow) this winter, and an ice scraper mitt to prevent frozen fingers (like this one on Amazon) is just the thing to help give your child’s teacher a good start to his or her (early!) morning.
5) Tiny office supplies
These are ADORABLE!!! There are many options out there, but this set from Teacher Peach donates a portion of each sale to its non-profit educational initiative teacherpeachseeds.org and includes miniature versions of a stapler, hold punch, tape dispenser, and sticky notes along with some paper clips and rubber bands. Super useful and super cute!
6) Gift card
Gift cards are always appreciated, because they can turn into exactly what the recipient wants. A good idea is to go for something general like Amazon, Target, or Wal-mart, where the teacher can get anything from a sweater to school supplies to some much-needed wine.
7) Whiteboard notebook
This notebook from Nuboard has two dual-sided pages made of whiteboard material that you can write on with dry erase markers as well as four translucent vinyl sheet covers (one for each side of the white boards) that can be drawn on as well. Great for brainstorming, designing, venting about little Timmy’s inability to sit still even for three minutes, doodling, etc.
While the gesture of giving any gift is a lovely one, think about how useful the present you choose to give your child’s educator will be, and how much consideration will appear to have gone into it. Does it look like something you grabbed last-minute at Wal-Mart and thought “eh, that’s good enough”, or does it accurately reflect how much value you put on the work the teacher is doing for you and your child? Is it something they can use in their non-classroom life? Would you be happy to receive the same thing as a gift? This is, after all, someone who is helping to shape your child's future, so take an extra minute or two to really think about something they'd genuinely like to own, and you're sure to have a home run.