By Melissa Summers of Suburban Bliss
It’s nearly the end of the school year and I’m in major denial. I don’t think I’ll believe it until I send the kids to the bus stop and the bus never arrives. Even then, I’ll probably try a few more times, just to be sure it’s really happening. It’s time to say Thank You to the teacher who has guided your child through this last year of learning, leaving them prepared to conquer the next year.
I’ve been giving teacher gifts for the last thirteen years, so I feel reasonably knowledgeable on the topic. Knowledgeable enough to know that baked goods are often trashed, “Teacher Themed” items are rarely a hit and one more “Apple #1 Teacher” coffee mug is going to make your kid’s teacher black list your kid forever.
If you’re going to buy something for a teacher I’d suggest one of two things: something they can use in their classroom like paper, art supplies, or books (checking first to be sure of titles and actual products the teacher most needs) or a gift card to a local coffee shop, a mall, their favorite teacher’s store.
For the last few years my kid’s classes have pooled their gift money together to get a gift card to our local Collection (or Mall for those of you who don’t like to pretend your Mall is fancier than it is) for our teacher. This frees us up to make a little something extra for the teacher. Here are my top three DIY gift ideas, that are easy on the “cutesy” handmade thing but still a thoughtful gesture.
I made this birdhouse out of a dried gourd last year for both my kid’s teachers. Usually this kind of birdhouse becomes overly decorated quite quickly, so the kids and I kept it very simple buy painting ours a very simple color, a nice blue for one teacher and a lime green for the other. The turned out so lovely, I fully intended to make a few for our own back yard, except then time got away from me as it has a tendency to do. Dried gourds are surprisingly difficult to come by at this time of year, be sure to leave yourself enough time to order one online. Here is a great source.
We used this jar of candy idea the year we had six teachers to find small gifts for. Each of the kids drew a label we then scanned into the computer. We used ink jet sheet label stock to print the labels and attached them to a very simple jar filled with the teacher’s favorite candy. The kids loved being sneaky and asking each of the teacher’s what their favorite candy was and what their favorite color was. We filled three jars with M&M’s in each teacher’s favorite color, you can order one color candies here. Two more were filled with a favorite color of jelly beans (bought at the bulk food store) and the final one was filled with a colorful bunch of gum balls. Another option for labels is to use the beautiful labels from Stuck, these are also easily customizable with your computer’s printer.
There have been a few teachers who have really set the tone for my kid’s educational experience in a positive and profound way. Because being a teacher can often be a grueling and thankless job, I love the chance to express my gratitude in a way I find easiest to communicate, in writing. Cottage Industrialist has this excellent Thank You card available for free download and printing. Yes, I realize it’s got an apple on it, but it’s a well designed apple and the most important part is what you’re going to put inside anyway. You can find the download here. To get the kids involved, make sure to ask them what they’d like to say to their teacher. If they’re old enough have them write it themselves and at the very least make sure you have them write their own name, you know the teacher worked hard to make sure she knows that.
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