Select Page

This post may contain affiliate links. Click HERE to view my disclosures.

Gift Giving Advice from a Former Teacher

As promised, here is the follow-up to my previous post 5 Gifts to NEVER Give.a Teacher. It comes with the same qualifier: Of course your child’s teacher will appreciate any effort or thoughtfulness you show them at Christmas. Yes, it truly is the thought that counts. That being said, if you’d like to bless them with something they can actually use or enjoy, skip the items on my previous post, and go with one of these! Keep in mind that what teachers are needing most in December is more time. It takes a lot of time to cover all the normal bases of lesson planning, testing, documentation, prepping the room for a long break, etc, not to mention all the time that goes into making the Christmas magic happen in the classroom. If your child is making a gingerbread house, someone will be spending a lot of extra time rinsing and bleaching all those stinky milk cartons on which those houses will be built. If your child is having a cookie decorating party, someone is spending a lot of time coordinating with the parents, writing notes, organizing supplies, and prepping everything by table. If your child is making a craft as a Christmas gift to you, someone is spending a lot of time buying, prepping, assembling, and wrapping those two dozen gifts. Not to mention the countless other touches of whimsy and wonder that good teachers magically sprinkle into your child’s December. Magical classrooms often come at the expense of the teacher’s own family magic, especially this year when many teachers will still  e in school until December 22nd, leaving very little time for their own shopping, cooking, and Christmas magic. So this year, think outside the typical Pinterest box and opt for one of these ideas that will truly bless your child’s teacher with more time or treat them to something special.

Make Them Dinner

This sounds so simple, quaint, and lacking in typical Pinterest glory, but wanna blow a teacher’s mind at Christmas? Tell them you are making their family dinner the night before the class Christmas party. They will act like you just gave them your kidney. No, it won’t win “best gift” with the other moms standing around at the party, but I bet it will be most appreciated by the recipient, and isn’t that the whole point? Those last few days of school before break are so hectic for teachers. The list is so long. While they are helping care for your kiddo, you can actually help them care for theirs by treating them to a home-cooked meal that they probably wouldn’t get that night. Ask them in advance if there’s anything they don’t eat and let them know you’ll be sending dinner a day or two before the class party. Personally, if the party is Friday, I drop of a crock pot meal at pickup on Wednesday so they can throw it in the crock pot on Thursday morning and walk into the yummy smells of an already cooked and ready meal when they get home on Thursday with a huge to-do list. And if you send a crock pot meal with one of these slow cooker liners and some cute Christmas-y paper plates or bowls from the Dollar Tree, you will give the added blessing of a night off from both cooking and dishes as well! Seriously. Try it. Be the hero.

One Decadent Treat

Instead of a bunch of so-so pre-packaged candy or cookies, why not pick up one, freshly made, worth the calories, treat that is just for them? (Or, if you’ve got the time and talent, make it yourself!) If you’re only buying one serving, then you can probably splurge on something from that well-known bakery that everyone loves for about the same price as a whole tin of that crap that has been sitting on the Walmart shelf since November 1st. And even better if you gift it to that stressed out teacher a few days before the class party, when sweets are everywhere. You may never know how much a few bites of bliss and a hand-written note might make their day, help them get through one of those last long afternoons, or give them the pick-me-up to stay late and bleach the funk out of those stupid little milk cartons… I mean gingerbread houses-to-be.

Movie Night

This has so many options for every budget, but the theme is the same- the gift of quality time during their holiday break- spent with their kids, their spouse, a friend or just their favorite jammies and wine. Low budget? Include a Redbox promo code on a big gift tag with a pair of slipper socks and some hot cocoa. Do they use a streaming device like AppleTV or FireTV? If so, you could include an iTunes or Amazon gift card for the amount of a movie rental with a beverage of your choice. Or you could always buy two tickets to the movie theater. All of these options could be customized to your liking and budget with cute tags, snacks, drinks, or popcorn to make a fun presentation, ultimately offering the gift of down time that can be used during their break.

Can I Take Your Order?

Preschool and elementary teachers never have time to eat at school. They may have unions, but 30 minute lunch breaks just. don’t. exist in the real world. There is cafeteria duty or recess duty, the copies that didn’t get made last night because the machine was jammed, the parent phone call to be returned, picking up the mail in their box, answering that parent email, Timmy fell outside and needs a hug, finally a chance to pee, and… crap- there’s the bell. Lunch? What’s that? You could totally make a teacher’s day by just offering to bring them lunch from their favorite nearby restaurant! A hot to-go lunch for one is not that expensive, but would sure be a treat for most teachers I’ve ever worked with! But if lunch is not in the budget, you could always offer to grab their favorite Starbucks order and drop it by school in the morning. Either of these simple, affordable gestures paired with a nice note would certainly be appreciated during that stressful last school week in December and be something personal, just for them to enjoy.

 Old Faithful- aka the Target Gift Card

I know this is not nearly as creative or personal as the above list. But… for those crazy busy times when you simply do. not. have. time. for cooking, Pinterest printed tags, wrapping, or special deliveries, you can’t go wrong with Old Faithful. Even on a budget, its a winner.  Your kid’s teacher would probably rather have a note from you and $5 to spend at Target on whatever they want than $10 worth of randomly scented candles and bath stuff, prepackaged candy, or other stuff they may or may not want. Have you ever once wandered the aisles or Target kid-free and thought, “Nope, there’s just nothing in here I like or want.” And even if that were true, your kid’s teacher could still buy coffee, chocolate, or wine, so its fool-proof.

Do you have more gift ideas teachers will love? Tell us about them in the comments! If you’re a teacher, tell us the best gift you’ve ever received from a student’s family!


  • Legally Blind Mom of Three
  • Childbirth Educator & Doula
  • Former Special Ed Teacher
  • Chocoholic