Money & Career

Best (and worst) teacher gifts for the holidays

Both my kids are in preschool this year – and since they’re at different schools, I have to come up with some good gift ideas for the talented people that work with them all day.

6105-05396820d

Both my kids are in preschool this year – and since they’re at different schools, I have to come up with some good gift ideas for the talented people that work with them all day. Last year I did this post on frugal teacher ideas gathered online. This year I’m taking a different approach – I’ve asked some of the moms and teachers I know to tell me their top teacher gift picks (along with their list of the worst). I’ve shared these here – feel free to add your suggestions in the comments below:

The best:

Homemade ornaments – Homespun decorations are by far the favourite gift choice for moms and teaches alike. They’re cheap, your child can help, and they’re personal.  Need ideas? Go online. A very quick Google turned up this site that shows how to make these super-easy hand-painted polka dot ornaments. Other ideas out there include ornaments with a picture of your child in it – add the date and year, and it’s a lovely keepsake for your child’s teacher. Grab your art supplies and go nuts.

Gift cards – A gift card for a bookstore, department store or a local coffee shop is another great option. It can come in handy during the holiday season and for a Boxing Day spree.

A bottle of wine – A great idea because it can be consumed over the holidays or saved for another occasion (i.e., stress management after a hard day at school?).

Collective gifts – We’ve done this at my son’s preschool in the past and it worked really well. One year, the collective generosity of parents raised enough to give both teachers a $200 gift certificate to a major Toronto mall. This was very much appreciated by both.

A card – Your child’s teacher works hard but you don’t have to spend a fortune to say thanks – you should however make sure you remember to tell them how much you appreciate them. A simple card with a personal note inside is a great way to do this. It’s even better if your child makes it.

The worst:

Mugs – Teachers get a million of them and they often end up in the garbage or at the back of the cupboard in the teacher’s lounge. Skip this one.

Baked goods/chocolate – This one surprised me – I thought everyone liked to get cookies at holiday time (I sure do!). The fact is teachers are inundated with sweets at holiday time and it’s just plain overwhelming.

Bath stuff – When it comes to soaps, scents and bath foam, people’s tastes are really different. What you think smells great might give someone else a migraine. Plus, bath stuff is a pretty personal thing – and most teachers aren’t big fans of receiving it. Same goes for perfume.

Regifts and other useless junk – Sadly, a lot of regifting goes on the world of teacher gift giving. All those bad gifts from years past get pulled out and recycled – avoid doing this at all costs, say teachers. No one wants to lug a box full of gadgets and dust collecting chachkas home – so save that Slap Chop for someone else.

Not even a thank-you – You don’t have to spend a cent to say thanks to your child’s teacher and wish them a happy holiday. A hug, a thanks and some kind words about how much you appreciate them makes all the difference.