Ten perfect gifts for the teachers in your life

Because I was a teacher, friends with kids often ask me what to get their children's teachers. So I asked a few of my former colleagues about the most memorable gifts they’ve received to come up with a list of top 10.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/The Christian Science Monitor/File
An elementary school classroom in Boston.

Gift-giving holidays are just around the corner, and if you have school-age children, you're probably on a wild Pinterest search for the perfect gift to give their teachers. 

While it's not mandatory to present your child's teacher with a holiday gift, it's a nice way to say thank you. After all, teachers work hard every day to educate our kids, and get very little in return. I used to teach 11th grade Language Arts and English Composition classes at a local community college, and while I loved every gift I ever received from a student, some stand out more than others. 

Because I was a teacher, friends with kids are always asking me what kinds of things to get their children's' teachers this year. So I asked a few of my old colleagues about the most memorable gifts they’ve ever received, and compared their lists to my own. If you're looking for the perfect present for a teacher in your life, here are 10 ideas I guarantee they will love:

Rubber stamps and stickers

Teachers love rubber stamps and stickers. It’s a way for them to make feedback fun, encouraging, and bright, plus it helps them communicate with students faster. Put together a set of stamps, an ink pad, and a few sheets of stickers for a spectacular gift basket. Try these mason jar foam stamps from Overstock for $13.29

Holiday ornaments

Holiday ornaments are always a treat for teachers. They’re small, easy to store and memorable. Every year, when a teacher gets out the box of ornaments from past students, it’s like a trip down memory lane. If your children go to a public school, try to steer away from a certain religious sentiment and instead choose something festive like snowmen, ice skaters or candy canes. These ornaments can become part of the annual classroom decorations for years to come, or they may go home and appear on the teacher’s yearly holiday tree. Hallmark ornaments are a classic, or design your own at Personalization Mall. Here are a few examples of cute holiday ornaments any teacher will be happy to get:

Fun office supplies

It’s no secret that a teacher's classroom supplies are mostly out-of-pocket expenses. School districts may supply a few things, but the teacher usually buys the bulk of the supplies used in the classroom. A great way to spread cheer without breaking the bank is to put a few inexpensive but fun office supplies together and make a gift basket full of things teachers will actually use in the classroom. Students take pride when they see a teacher using the gifts that they brought, and teachers really appreciate it!


Everyone knows teachers write a lot of notes. When in elementary school student, my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Stone, sent me a card letting me know she was proud of me for my achievements in the spelling bee. A set of stationery is a great way to make a teacher feel appreciated, and every time it is used, the teacher will think of the student who gave it to him or her:

Blank journals and notebooks

One thing almost all teachers do is constantly write thins down. Teachers record everything: from classroom notes and anecdotes to reminders and to-do lists. One of my Mr. Teacher friends uses a hand-bound journal made out of a vintage atlas to write down lesson ideas and project notes, he got it from a student, and he treasures it.  You can put a few nice books together without doing much damage to the checkbook, or you can splurge. Either way, this idea is a winner:

Holiday accessories

Theme days are one of the most engaging things that teachers do to liven things up for their students. Every holiday party in the classroom brings out the campy, nerdy side of educators everywhere. The jack-o-lantern vests and the jiggly candy cane headbands are prized possessions of the teacher’s wardrobe. Students love seeing their teachers decorated with holiday spirit, so gifts that add to their holiday wardrobe stash are always appreciated. Check out:


Teachers work with paper, chalk and lots of other things all day that dry out their skin. A good moisturizing hand cream can make the all the difference, and help prevent nasty paper cuts. Therefore, Avon’s Skin So Soft line is perfect for teachers. One suggestion I got from my teacher friends in particular is their Wintersoft Hand Cream ($6). You should also consider their Wintersoft Body Cream ($8) as well.

Water bottles and coffee mugs

Being confined to a classroom for hours on end and spending most of the day talking, teachers often feel thirsty and hoarse. A cool drink of water or a hot cup of tea or coffee can really help a teacher get through the day. Buy your favorite educator a coffee mug, a tea cup or a water bottle and they'll think of you every time they take a sip. 

Luxury pens

Of all the gifts I received as a teacher, I think the most thoughtful was the Parker Jotter given to me by a 10th grade language arts student who said in the accompanying card that she noticed I liked to write a lot of things down. I still own the pen. The refills aren’t expensive, and the way it writes is lovely. There are nice pens out there in every price point you can imagine. The Parker Jotter is only $11.99 at Target right now, and you can also check out a personalized option for $24.95 over at Personalization Mall.

Tote bags

Almost every teacher I’ve talked to has said that tote bags are a crucial part of his or her daily life. You can't go wrong when you give a teacher a bag to haul around paperwork and classroom necessities. Teachers take home hundreds of assignments per week to grade and process, and if you’ve ever seen the trunk or back seat of a teacher’s vehicle, it’s usually jam-packed with tote bags and containers of school-related stuff. 

This story originally appeared on Brad's Deals.

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