Solving the Dilemma of Teacher Presents

Teacher presents for Christmas can often raise questions in many parents minds around this time of year. Parents, especially parents new to this whole school thing, often ask themselves one simple, yet nagging, question…

What—if anything—should I get my child’s teacher for Christmas?

First of all, if you’re wondering, you really should consider a teacher present around the holidays. You child’s teacher cares for your child every school day and molds Little Johnny’s young mind. It’s a tough job! Teacher presents aren’t a requirement, of course, but it is nice to give them a little recognition for a job well done.

Now that we’ve cleared that up,you’re probably all ready to start shopping for a teacher present! But, where to start and what to get…? And, the question you’re probably all wondering about—

How Much to Spend on Teacher Presents

The wonderful thing about teacher presents is that you don’t have to go all out and spend a bundle of money on teacher presents. Teachers don’t fret about how much is spent on a gift, and sometimes gifts that cost little to nothing are the best. Teachers generally understand financial harships around the holidays and don’t expect to be heaped with extravagant gifts. When it comes to teacher presents, it really is the thought that counts.

If you want to get your child’s teacher a little something extra, though, first check with your district to see if there is a limit on what you can give as teacher presents or how much you can spend. Next, decide how much you can afford, but don’t go overboard. Generally, anything in the $5 to $20 range is acceptable and appropriate for teacher presents.

Good Teacher Presents

There are some teacher presents that the majority of teachers would love to receive. The following teacher present ideas are pretty safe bets.

  • Cards — Something as simple as holiday cards can really be great teacher presents. Cards can brighten their day and let them know you’re thinking of them.
  • Notes — Write a simple “Thank You” or “Thinking of You” note on stationary or in a card. You can also include a note from your child. Heartfelt words can really mean a great deal and getting recognition for being a great teacher is always nice.
  • Gift cards — A gift card is always a nice all around gift, but I’d shy away from cold hard cash when you’re doling out teacher presents. Instead, opt for a general purpose gift card.
  • Classroom supplies — Many teachers purchase classroom supplies such as crayons, pencils, and paper out of their own pockets. Ask your child’s teacher is she needs anything for the classroom and donate those supplies. Don’t forget to send a nice card as well!
  • Homemade items from your child — Sure winners for teacher presents are little homemade trinkets or cards from your child.

Bad Teacher Gifts

Teacher presents can be a touchy subject with some teachers. Some teachers receive items that they don’t like or aren’t able to enjoy.

  • Cliche teacher items — You can only get so many “#1 Teacher” goodies before you start to go a little insane. The same is true for anything with a teacher or school related theme like apples, rulers, and schoolhouses.
  • Knick knacks — Most people, teachers included, have entirely too many knick knacks. Don’t contribute to the madness!
  • Clothing — This goes double for “#1 Teacher” t-shirts! You could get the wrong size or fit, or just something in a style or color that the teacher hates.
  • Coffee mugs — Trust me – your child’s teacher probably already has enough coffee mugs from the previous years’ teacher gifts!
  • Scented items — What smells good to you, may not smell good to your child’s teacher. As with food, I’d shy away from the scented candles unless you know her well.
  • Religious items — Not everyone celebrates the holidays for the same religious reasons. Your child’s teacher could be an atheist, Jewish, Buddhist, or Pagan. While it is the thought that counts, religious items could make your child’s teacher uncomfortable for whatever reason.
  • Alcohol — This one goes without saying, I’m sure, but I had to include it. Save the nice bottles of wine and scotch for friends and family, and for the love of everything that is holy, do NOT send booze to school with your child!

Maybe Teacher Gifts

Sometimes teacher gifts are dependent upon your school district’s rules and how well you know your child’s teacher…

  • Consumables — Homemade baked goodies usually seem like the perfect teacher presents, but make sure your school district doesn’t prohibit homemade baked goods. Packaged candy and treats, however, are usually acceptable.
  • Any of the “bad teacher gifts” above — With the exception of the alcohol, the bad teacher gifts listed above are nothing more than guidelines. If you know your child’s teacher and you’re certain that they would absolutely adore one of the gifts listed in the “bad teacher gifts” list above, than by all means, go to town! Everyone has different tastes and if you think you have a sure hit, then have at it.

What are your go-to teacher gifts? If you’re a teacher, what are some of your favorite (or not-so-favorite) teacher gifts?


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