Inventive Holiday Gift Ideas for Teachers

By Dr. Rick Bavaria

Timely topics

It’s the holidays. What’s the right “thank you” for that favorite teacher who’s spent so much time with your children, giving them new skills, encouraging them, helping them when they’re floundering and helping us to weather the occasional adolescent storm?

We teachers, I admit, enjoy simple tokens of appreciation. We certainly don’t expect (and we’re often embarrassed by) over-the-top gifts. We want what you want: success for your child, so a nice handwritten note is perfect and memorable. Here are my top five examples of inventive, imaginative, inexpensive holiday gift ideas for teachers my friends recently told me about when I asked them. Each had a smile on his or her face when remembering!

1. Cards.

A nice card from a family  – with their own words, memories and personal thanks for little favors and big lessons – is a small gift that can go a long way. Often, teachers are completely unaware of the impact they have on kids, so it’s especially good to receive one of these “keeper” cards. (I save them in my yearbooks and read them when I need a lift. They never fail.)

2. Snacks.

Children, with the help of parents, can make baked goods to place in the school office or faculty room, accompanied with thank you posters made from construction paper and sparkles. Make sure to note any potential food allergies.

3. Volunteering.

Parents can volunteer to chaperone an activity, giving teachers a lot of support and some grown-up company.

4. Group Gifts.

Consider gathering a group of parents and asking them to combine small amounts to make a nice contribution to teachers’ favorite education charity, help pay for scenery for the school play or fund the buses for a trip to the museum.

5. Salon Treatments.

One teacher recalled a massage therapist mom who volunteered an afternoon in the school library to help teachers soothe away those holiday-induced stresses. Other teachers remembered manicures, pedicures and even haircuts.

There are as many ways to say “thank you” as there are people to thank. Take a few moments at this beautiful time of the year to express your gratitude to that special teacher. It’ll make you feel good, and it’ll make the day of your teacher. I promise.