Gifts Your Child’s Teacher Does (& Doesn’t) Want This Year

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Everyone loves finding those super cute craft ideas on Pinterest that you think your child’s teacher will love! The white handprints on blue paper transformed into adorable snowflakes, crayons glued into a wreath-shape circle, monogrammed hall passes, you get the idea.

But truthfully, as a past preschool teacher, these are not the gifts that are still hanging around my house a few years later. I LOVE and appreciate the time that went into every gift that I have ever received from past students/families (definitely not ungrateful!), but as I am now on the mom-side of the fence, I’m thinking about what my child’s teachers really would like as a thank you for the amazing amount of work they do every day.

Skip the homemade treats! While teacher’s love your little ones, we don’t always love the extra calories that appear around this time of year (you should see the teacher’s lounge!) With so many dietary restrictions, allergies, and specific needs, giving food can be a harder gift thank you think.

Trying to find something sentimental, sweet, enjoyable, unique, and in our budget feels like finding a unicorn when scrolling Pinterest. Then I started thinking back on what gifts I still have or still remember receiving from my own teaching days.

A Few Favorite Holiday Teacher Gifts:

1) Coffee Gift Card In A Mug 

If you know your child’s teacher loves coffee, support their caffeine needs! Not a coffee drinker? What’s a favorite restaurant in town you know they would love? Gift cards are a great way to say thank you while letting the teacher chose exactly what makes them happy!

2) Movie Tickets

Who doesn’t love a night out at the movies? Attach a  gift certificate to a box of popcorn and boom, done! Sub movies for any type of experience gift here. Maybe you know your teacher relieves stress with batting cages, yoga, or spin class. Possibilities are endless!

3) Fingerprints on Flower Pot

Here is one of my favorite examples of a Pinterest-Win! One year the entire class decided to put all of their fingerprints besides their names on a flowerpot. Obviously, the flower hasn’t made it all of these years, but I love reusing this gift over and over!  Having all of my students remembered in one useful gift is one of the reasons I still have this gift!

4) Child-Made Love Notes

Emphasis on the “child-made” here crafty mamas! Don’t stay up all night getting your Cricut machine to make the cutest whatever, the largest pile of notes/pictures I have kept over the years are the ones my students created on their own. I cherish the stick-figure pictures of us holding hands with a meaningful caption full of backward written letters. Teachers are in this because we love your little people, let the little people shine! Low cost, highly loved gift!

5) Group Monetary Gift for Teachers and Staff

This takes a little more time and planning, but we can choose to be stronger together this holiday season. Simply put, a parent can simply email fellow parents to donate money to offer the teacher a monetary gift. Kids and parents can offer as much or as little as they can (between $5-$50) and combined with everyone else’s gift it turns out to be a very generous, well-received gift for the teacher or teachers and staff. It can be a lower cost gift, but combined makes a big impact. Who couldn’t use a little extra cash this season! 

Be sweet, be simple. Gift cards are amazing! Never underestimate the power of a sweet thank you note from your little one!

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Amanda Holliday
Amanda loves supporting young children and their families through her work as a Parenting Coordinator with a DC non-profit almost as much as she loves learning as a doctoral student studying Infant and Early Childhood Development specializing in Infant Mental Health. Years of working with young children and prenatal/postnatal mamas have given her hours of material that she is excited to share in her blog posts. (She had her half-Jamaican son born during a blizzard and traveled to the hospital in Uber. Just one of the fun stories she has to tell!) When they aren't exploring every playground in Silver Spring, her family loves discovering new ways to have fun together around town. Likes: NY Pizza, Chocolate everything, Trapeze, Aerial yoga, Dislikes: Calories, Snow