My mom taught first grade for over twenty years. Parents of first graders are generous gift-givers, perhaps because they’re still pumped about the whole school thing. Whatever the reason, Mom came home after Christmas and the last day of school juggling a box filled with crafty knick-knacks, most of which were emblazoned with some version of “You’re a #1 Teacher!” or “I Love My Teacher!” An alarmingly high percentage of these gifts also stayed true to the “apple for the teacher” motif. Really, she was excited about the first 30 or 40 she received…but then there were the next 22 years…
Because we want to save your child’s teacher from drowning in well-intended, apple-themed gifts of appreciation, we’ve put together 10 Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas to help you give a gift she’ll adore. Low on cash? We have an idea that won’t cost you a dime that she’ll treasure.
1. A personal note of thanks. Among the teachers we polled, this was far and away the most coveted expression of appreciation. Great teachers pour their hearts and souls into nurturing your child. A few words that let her know that it hasn’t gone unnoticed are a tremendous encouragement!
2. A gift of indulgence. A gift certificate for a manicure-pedicure, facial, massage, or a relaxing spa service is a great choice. Allow her to let the stress of the school year melt away.
3. Handmade or homecooked. Give her the blessing of a homemade sweet treat or handmade gift for the classroom.
4. A piece of art. High-quality prints that feature great quotes about teachers and education can be found on sites like Etsy for affordable prices. Pop it into an attractive frame and wrap it up. Two of our favorite examples are here and here.
5. A gift from the whole class. Get one of these cute Fingerprint Trees and have each student print his or her own “leaf.” Frame and present it to her.
6. A few cups of joe on the house. A gift card to Starbucks or another favorite coffee house might just hit the spot.
7. Dinner at her favorite restaurant. Gift cards to favorite restaurants are always welcome. Who doesn’t love a night on the town?
8. Personalized note cards. Teachers have to write lots of notes to parents and others. The job is a little easier if they have a good supply of attractive stationery or note cards.
9. A great tote. Great teachers are forever schlepping home with stacks of papers to grade and other essentials. Give your child’s teacher a great tote bag for carrying the tools of the trade in style.
10. Classroom essentials. If your school’s budget often forces your teacher to dig into her own pocket to buy things like tissues, soap, and hand sanitizer, buying her a few extras to take the pressure off next year will certainly be welcome.
Dana Hall McCain writes about marriage, parenting, faith and wellness. She is a mom of two, and has been married to a wonderful guy for over 18 years.