Passionate About the Coastal Bend
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Find the Perfect End of the Year Gift for Teachers

End of the Year Teacher Gifts

The end of the school year is approaching fast, and that means it’s time for parents to find the perfect gift for their kid’s teacher. If you are anything like me, then you may spend countless hours on Pinterest or strolling in different stores in search of the perfect gift.  So what do teachers really want??

I had to go straight to the source. I asked several of my friends who are teachers which gifts they love to receive, and what gifts they get every year. I heard many similar responses from different teachers, and I had to share them with you.

Here are some top gift ideas for teachers:

  1. Gift Cards. This is not a surprising answer since most teachers spend a lot of their own money on classroom decorations, games, books, etc. Before I had kids, I taught Kindergarten. One of my favorite gifts from a parent was a Barnes and Noble gift card. Guess what I bought with it? More children’s books to use in the classroom! Teachers appreciate gift cards from bookstores, teacher supply stores, Amazon, Target, Mardel’s, and Walmart. (Know that these will be used wisely!) Feel like giving them a little time away from the classroom craziness? Then, go ahead and spoil your teacher with a gift card to the movies, a Fandango gift certificate, or a gift card to a favorite restaurant. Teachers work hard, and they enjoy getting pampered every now and then, too. Consider a gift card for a nice pedicure or to a local spa.
  2. School Supplies. I will say it again. Teachers often dig into their own pockets for classroom essentials. Fancy pens, cardstock, Expo markers, books, and other classroom supplies are always on teacher’s wish lists. Be creative when giving school supplies as gifts. Look on Pinterest for some cute puns and tags to add to classroom supplies. My favorite way to give school supplies is to wrap it up all pretty and present it as a “school supplies cake.”End of School Year Gift Idea for Teachers- School Supplies Cake
  3. Favorite Snacks and Drinks. At my children’s school, the homeroom parents sometimes give a questionnaire to be filled out by the teachers. The parents learn a little more about the teacher’s likes, dislikes, and/or allergies. They also learn about their favorite snacks, drinks, sweets, etc. A lot of my teacher friends mentioned Starbucks gift cards. Personally, I am not a coffee drinker, but if you know that your teacher enjoys a good cup of coffee, this is the way to go. A high school teacher told me that she had a student bring her breakfast one morning because she knew that teachers sometimes were too rushed in the morning to grab themselves something to eat.
  4. Personalized, Customized, and Monogrammed Gifts. Who doesn’t love things with their name on it? Tote bags, clipboards, and fancy cups are just a few of the popular gifts that can be personalized for that special teacher. Legacy Point Graphics makes those super cute decals that you can stick on sports bottles and Yeti tumblers. These were a hit with teachers at my children’s school. Does your teacher love to spend time outdoors with her family? How about getting a nice monogrammed blanket for outdoor picnics? In addition to these fun gifts, you can customize note cards, labels, notepads, and other supplies just for that teacher. These are useful and adorable! Many places can customize them for you, or you can print out your own. I made some personalized note cards for my son’s Pre-K teacher one year. I added the cards, some colored envelopes, and other cute classroom supplies to one of those craft paint buckets.End of school year gift ideas- Custom Note cards for Teacher
  5. Creative, Thoughtful, and Personal Gifts. Teachers do not expect gifts from parents, but it is always nice to know that parents and students appreciate them. If your child had an awesome learning environment, made significant improvements, or simply adored their teacher, let their teacher know this with a thoughtful letter or card. A simple note with kind words goes a long way. Find a gift that is personal to that teacher. Hopefully, you were able to get to know your child’s teacher a little better over the school year, and you can give something that is catered to that particular teacher. Be creative in presentation! Dress up your gift with ribbons, tags, and bright wrapping. Better yet, put your gift in a reusable tote or basket that can be used again in the classroom.
  6. Time. Time is a valuable gift, and should be shared with your favorite teacher. Ask your child’s teacher if she needs help in or outside of the classroom.

Just like a mother’s job, a teacher’s job is never done.

Many get to school early, and leave late. If you are able to volunteer at your child’s school, then please do!

Now that you have some ideas of what teachers love, remember there are some gifts that teachers get EVERY year.

Try to avoid the following:

  1. Mugs. Ceramic mugs filled with candy or stuffed animals are probably one of the most common gifts given to teachers. Think about it. They are easy to find in just about every store, and easy to package up and give away. Let’s face it, though, a person can only have so many mugs–no matter how much coffee or tea they drink! The exception to this is the customized travel cups mentioned earlier. Style and function are a top priority when choosing this gift.
  2. Stuffed Animals. I know it may be tempting to give your kid’s teacher a cute stuffed animal. (It is even harder to dismiss this gift when your child is the one who picked it out.) But, trust me, teachers are overloaded with these furry creatures. Unless, you know that teacher well, and it’s something she collects or it has sentimental value, then just forget these.
  3. Lotions. Like the mugs, lotions are an easy, go-to option when you are looking for a gift. (It is tempting to buy some when you can go to a store and grab five of these and get a great deal.) But, when teachers (or anyone) are bombarded with bottle after bottle of scented lotions, it can be too much. I find it difficult to purchase lotions and sprays for a teacher because you don’t always know the person’s likes or aversions to certain fragrances or brands. There are just too many options…and too many ways to go wrong. So for the teacher’s sake, avoid adding to their lotion collections.
  4. Candy. I will admit that it is hard for me to turn down candy.  But, when your teaching table is full of candy, it can be a bit overwhelming. What ends up happening to most of the candy? Unfortunately, teachers have to give it away or take it to the trash. Have you seen a teacher’s lounge on the last day of school? Sometimes it turns into a dumping ground for unwanted sweets. Sprinkle a few candies with your gift if you know that your teacher cannot get enough; otherwise, steer clear of the candy aisle.
  5. Candles. Unless your teacher burns multiple candles all day, every day, there is no need to give her another one to add to her shelf. Also, you are still stuck with the problem of finding the right scent and type of candle that fits the receiver.
  6. Teacher Swag. Maybe your child does have the “Best Teacher.” This does not mean she needs the hat, the shirt, the mug, and the paperweight to prove it. So, take it from me, put those A+ and #1 Teacher gifts back on the shelf. Your child’s teacher can do without.

Hint:  Choose gifts that are easy to carry around, transport, and require minimal storage. Balloons and flowers, though beautiful, can be a hassle when teachers are packing up to go home. Homemade and DIY Pintrest projects can be cute and thoughtful, but all those project-like gifts have to go somewhere. Try not to add more clutter to teachers’ lives. Instead, focus on functional gifts that can be used over and over again.

Remember, your child spends 30+ hours a week with their teacher. Teachers deserve to be honored and thanked for all their love and sweat they put into teaching your child. Find a gift that is meaningful, personal, and thoughtful.

What do you plan on giving or doing for your child’s teacher this year?

Teachers, what are some of your favorite gifts that students have given you in the past?

{Also, I would like to give a special shout-out and thank you to all the teachers that used to teach with me and to the other teachers in the Corpus Christi area for their helpful feedback!}

Happy gift hunting, everyone!

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