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Help a Mom: Seeking ideas for gifts for teachers

Posted December 11, 2012

Here's a mom asking a questions that many of us are wondering about this time of year: Holiday gifts for teachers.

Here's what she wrote: I have two preschool aged children (ages 4 and 2), and I am looking for ideas for Christmas gifts for their teachers.

My mom is a retired teacher who has enough ornaments, all given to her by former students, to fill more than a tree. She has more teacher and holiday mugs than even a dozen people would ever need.

But I remember her spending a lot of her own money on items for her classroom. So with that in mind, I always go the gift card route - going in on a joint gift with other parents in the classroom or getting a card to a craft or local teacher's supply store (The Teach Me Store in Raleigh is a favorite of mine).

A friend actually emails her daughters' teachers to find a list of their likes, such as favorite restaurant, favorite coffee, favorite candy, favorite color, and shares it with other parents in the class.

What do you give your kids' teachers? Please share your tips in the comments box below. (If you don't see the comments box below, you'll need to log in or sign up for a WRAL account. You can do that by going to the top of the page and clicking on either "log in" or "register").

Help a Mom features questions from readers every Wednesday. If you have a question that you'd like to ask Go Ask Mom readers, click here to email it to me.


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  • djofraleigh Dec 13, 2012

    The best thing to give teachers is support as shown in expecting respect and obedience of your child for them. Teachers don't work for tips or material presents.

  • foster208 Dec 12, 2012

    Homemade items and gift are the way to go. How about some gift cards to Panera, Jason's Deli, etc. It doesn't have to be expensive. It is the thought that counts.

  • HopingForABetterWorld Dec 12, 2012

    16 years as a teacher...WAY too many coffee mugs, ornaments and such.
    Gift cards are AWESOME, but be to general places like a Walmart, unless you know the teacher likes something. I've been given many Starbucks cards, but I don't drink coffee. I can't eat chocolate, but have received numerous chocolate goodies.
    Hand written notes of appreciation are AWESOME! Teachers don't get praised nearly enough. They hear from the unhappy parents all the time, and would welcome more notes with positive thoughts.

  • faulkner Dec 12, 2012

    I like the to buy bread/goodies from the Great Bread Harvest Co. They usually have gift bags with a coupon attached for a free loaf of bread(in addition to the gift I brought).
    I also have brought the teachers lunch. I purchase the meal from their favorite restaurant and bring it to school during their lunch period. Panera is a favorite!

  • jessicaeakes Dec 12, 2012

    I'm making mason jar gifts for my son's day care teachers:

    I've also done cookies

    There are tons of suggestions on Pintrest!

  • gocats8 Dec 12, 2012

    My mother-in-law is a retired teacher and my husband taught as well. They both received way too many candles. The best gifts were gift cards for school supplies or restaurants and also hand soap. Even those that are sensitive to fragrances can use scented soaps. With all that said, a card with a nice hand-written letter from the child is the best.

  • blytheclifford Dec 12, 2012

    My friends that are teachers say gift cards are best because they often spend their own money on supplies for the classroom. They don't need any more candles, lotions, etc. We like to add a personal touch, though, and usually do a small item that has some significance for our family and/or the teacher (like something that matches the theme of their classroom, an item of their "favorite things" list, a small treasure that our children have made or something from a trip we have taken during the year). We pair that with a gift card and a handwritten note.

  • grannybam07 Dec 12, 2012

    This is my 24th year of teaching and I've received all of the gifts listed in the comments. My favorite gifts have been hand written notes from parents & students sharing what I mean to or how I've influenced them. These are treasures long after the gift card is spent. By all means, give your child's teacher a gift to say thank you but take the time to write an honest, heart-felt note. I've kept each of mine and they are in my 'smile file' so I can go back to them on a day when I need encouragement.

  • khoggard Dec 12, 2012

    This year (and I have done it before), I am giving my sons teachers homemade goodies. He usually helps me make them & it usually includes cookies, some kind of bars or other candy & maybe homemade suckers. This year, I bought miniture loaf pans that are decorated for Christmas & am baking bread & I have a teacher guardian angel pin that I will put with it also. The last time I did this, the teachers loved it!! He even wrote a little poem using the "Twas the Night Before Christmas" for inspiration. It was sooo sweet!! Also can be somewhat inexpensive if you look at the overall cost of the baking since it it done for more than one - I am doing it for 5 (2 at school, 2 at church, & a piano teacher). Hope this helps!!

  • missparrothead Dec 12, 2012

    I've gone the direct route and simply asked the teachers what their favorite stores are, etc. Most women like bath/shower gels, and I usually get them in clean smelling fragrances (who doesn't like lavender?) For my 4th grade daughter's teacher this yr, the class chipped in $$, and I purchased different gift cards (from her fav. stores), and added some chocolate, starbucks coffee (her fav), an ornament, amaryllis plant kit and assembled into a nice basket. You can also purchase great gift basket food items, candy, coffee, from TJ Maxx, Marshalls.