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Holiday and end-of-the-year teacher gifts

Step away from the apples! and other useful suggestions

by Kelsey M.  |  31558 views  |  6 comments  |        Rate this now! 

6) Beware of baked goods. I know homemade goodies seem like a good idea; thoughtful and lots of work can go into them. Having said that, I know several people who will not eat food that came out of kitchens they are unfamiliar with. Or people are just picky eaters. Baking for your teachers might not be a good use of your time. About half the teachers I knew happily ate goodies brought in by the kids; the other half gave them away or threw them away. (Go ahead, gasp in horror.) I'm just saying, do you want to put the time in if someone's not going to eat it? Now if you've given your teacher baked goods in the past and they have come back to you raving about your cookies/cake/brownies/bread/pie and asking for your recipe? You may commence baking.

7) Gifts the the whole class worked together on can be nice if you have an uber-parent to do all the organizing. It can either be one big item that the kids helped personalized (a friend of mine received a rocking chair from her class one year, decorated with the kids' thumb prints), or a collection of letters or drawing from each child, bound together in a little scrapbook. I think these kinds of gifts do require a little better knowledge of the teacher though. . .

8) Classroom supplies can also be a tricky area. If you know that the teacher has been buying items with personal money, than go for it. However, depending on your school, a lot of that might be provided already and not actually be coming from the teacher. Stickers or stamps are nice little gifts for most elementary classrooms.

Some of you are probably thinking, "Teacher gifts? Don't we pay them?" Well I will not go into that debate here, but the truth is you don't have to give teachers gifts at the end of the year, or at holiday time. You also don't have to tip the person who cuts your hair. It's a personal decision. Each school culture is a little different this way, and if you aren't sure (and you care) about what is typically done, ask another parent.

An end-of-the-year or holiday gift is just a way to let your child's teacher know you appreciate the fact that she (or he) spends a huge part of each day caring for your child, worrying about your child, and generally working her butt off to provide twenty or more kids with a safe and successful educational experience!

Having said that, a genuine thank you from you, your child, or both of you is just as nice as any other gift. Everyone likes to be acknowledged for a job well-done. If you appreciate the things your child's teacher has done throughout the year, just tell her. It's nice if you tell her principal/supervisor, too. I have saved all the thoughtful notes I've received from parents and children. When I was still teaching it was great to have a box of them to pull out when I was having a bad day.

About the Author

A former teacher and current stay-at-home mother, Kelsey blogs to maintain sanity. Visit her family at Midwest Mom. (

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6 comments so far...

  • We also have teacher wish lists during our annual book fair. You can go to the board, pick a tag for a book that your teacher is looking to add to thier classroom library. Each year we go to the book fair, my kids get one book for themselves and then pick out one thier teacher has asked for. Then on thier library day the librarian pulls out any donated books and allows the students to present it to thier teacher. Our teacher really like this. They get to build up thier classroom libraries and even get a second copy of a poplular book. We had one teacher that at the end of each year she clears out some older books to make room for the more recent popluar ones. She has one book for each student in her glass and each gets an opportunity to go pick out one and take it home (and keep it) for summer reading.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by sherry3995 on 18th December 2008

  • This year with all the economy issues, our parent club, came up with an idea. They had the teachers fill out wish lists for the classroom, paper, markers, books, the music teacher requested replacement strings for the student guitars etc. The items were listed on postit notes and placed on the wall in the office. Parents came by the office and chose item(s) that they wanted to purchase. I found this good, I could choose something with in my budget and still give to the teacher and help my children. I think it was a successful event for all.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by sherry3995 on 18th December 2008

  • Great article. As a teacher (on leave) those are really great suggestions. I have also received a lot of Christmas decorations and ornaments (just Christmas ones-they aren't all school related). When I put my tree up every year I am reminded of past students. It is really sweet.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Christine on 15th December 2007

  • Wow, those are some great tips! I usually have given holiday photo frames - figuring that they only need to take up shelf space for a small portion of the year and everyone has photos to display, but you've made some good points. I'll have to re-think this for this year!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Deb - Mom of 3 Girls on 5th December 2007

  • I was planning to give my kids' teachers homemade food gifts this holiday, but you've brought up a very good point... I'll need to do some more thinking. Thanks for possibly saving me a lot of hot work and time!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse on 3rd December 2007

  • So many really useful ideas, thank you!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Nataly on 1st December 2007