Buying end of year teacher gifts is really stressful. Not that I’ve ever done it myself but I used to be a teacher and noticed what an ordeal it was. What to get, when to give it, who should give it (the kid or the parent?), how much to spend… it’s a nightmare. As if December isn’t stressful enough without the added pressure of buying a gift for someone you probably don’t know that well.
As an ex-teacher, here are my thoughts on end of year teacher gifts.
- They’re very appreciated but entirely unnecessary
- If you really must give something, a card with a nice message is lovely
- If you really must give something tangible here are some teacher gift ideas that most teachers will love
I know not everyone will agree with these things and I’m also aware that some schools have policies about teachers accepting monetary gifts (including gift cards) so make sure you do a little bit of research on the teacher you’re buying for. As an ex-teacher who always ended up with a giant box of stuff at the end of every year, these were the gifts that really the spot…
1. A gift card for a mall
Like Westfield. That way they can spend it at any shop they like and they’re not stuck with a voucher for a bookstore they’re not keen on or a clothing store that’s not to their taste.
2. Wine (but check this beforehand!)
Some people frown upon wine as a gift choice but I taught for ten years and wine was always my favourite gift. I liked it even more when the parent did a little sleuthing and found out I like Pepper Jack red, dry rosé and Pure Blond ultra low carb beer. I got a 6 pack of my fave Pure Blonde one year and it was awesome – saved me buying my own six pack on the way to the work BBQ!
Hot tip: If you see your kid’s teacher chatting to another teacher, ask that teacher-friend if they’d appreciate alcohol for a gift. The answer is usually a very straightforward yes or no.
3. A donation to a charity on their behalf
Teachers honestly don’t expect presents but most teachers would prefer any parent money to spent on something useful like a chicken or goat for a family in need rather than a hastily bought stocking stuffer style gift. If you want to give back this Christmas here are a few things you can do.
Okay so not everyone is into plants but at least if the recipient doesn’t like it it’s a biodegradable gift. Well, the plant part is anyway… make sure you pick something SUPER low maintenance that will practically grow on its own.
Avoid getting anything overly styled or branded and keep it simple with a lined or unlined Moleskine notebook. I can’t think of a single person who wouldn’t be stoked to receive one of those.
6. Tasty edibles
Caveat – I never loved receiving food because I’d get ten boxes of Cadbury Roses and my metabolism sucks so it was like being gifted a ten-kilo holiday weight gain. Having said that, I was great at re-gifting them. I’d take a box every time I went to someone’s house over the holiday season, they’d get gobbled up after dinner and it saved me about $100 per season in host gifts. Not too shabby.
7. Picture books (for primary teachers)
Most teachers (particularly in the government system) get rubbish budgets for their classroom supplies and resources and most of it gets used in the first few terms of the year. I always loved getting given picture books to add to my collection because my classroom budget wouldn’t extend to books by the time I had to order extra glue sticks twice a term.
8. A coffee voucher for the local coffee shop
If you’ve noticed your kid’s teacher coming to school every morning with a takeaway cup from a local cafe, they’d probably love a gift card with ten pre-paid coffees on it. An excellent and practical gift.
9. A pitch-in gift from the whole class for a weekend away or a spa treatment
These can be notoriously difficult to orchestrate particularly when not all parents want to participate (which is totally fair enough!). I once coached a debating team and the debate team parents all pitched in to get me a massage voucher. If you can get a smaller group of parents (like parents of a netball team or something) to all pitch in this is a great idea.
A few things they (probably) don’t want…
Mugs – this is more of volume thing, I’d get given anywhere from 3 to 5 mugs each year and no one needs that many mugs. Mugs are also a weirdly personal thing.
Beauty/spa products – again this is a personal preference thing but I’d get given many tubes of hand cream each year, most of which I couldn’t use because they were overly scented or I was allergic to them.
Candles – Caveat; candles can be great but if the scent isn’t what your teacher is after it’s basically wasted money.
Knick-knacks or home decor style gifts – It’s unlikely you’ve ever seen your child’s teacher’s house so there’s no way to safely buy something you know will be to their taste.
Christmas ornaments – Again this is a volume issue. I’ve been given more ornaments than I can count and guess what? I don’t even have a Christmas tree. I’ve never had one because I travel every year for Christmas so there never seemed to be much point. It’s a lovely idea but not always practical.
What are your teacher gift ideas for 2018? What’s your standard go-to gift?
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One of my teacher friends always said the best gifts were actual classroom supplies that the teacher has to usually buy out of their own pocket. Stickers, textas or anything like that. It really sucks teachers don’t get a budget for stuff like that. Cool stickers are one of the best educational motivators 🙂 Bottom of the list – soaps and toiletries, for the reasons you mention.
Yes! Toiletries were never that great with the exception of the plain L’occitane tubes of handcream. They were ace!