Teachers are basically saints. So, rightfully, they tend to make the list of people who deserve a spot-on gift this holiday season. But it’s also a bit complicated, since they’re not likely to be someone you know that well personally. Still, you don’t have to buy a generic “Best Teacher Ever” mug and call it a day; instead, take a look at some of the great gift suggestions we got from real teachers. The good news? It doesn’t take much to make these superheroes feel valued.
Many of the teachers we spoke with emphasized that the biggest thing they want is thanks. And Ms. Macy, a kindergarten teacher, tells SheKnows she never wants parents to spend a lot of money: “A simple card, even handmade, with a thank you — that is always the most meaningful gift,” she explains.
Other teachers sang the praises of relatively simple but useful things, like gift cards to popular stores, classroom supplies, and snacks. If these ideas seem a little less than glamorous, there are ways to make them feel more festive: adding pretty DIY wrapping and/or finding a slightly nicer version of a practical gift are good places to start. The more practical or sentimental things are going to be the most appreciated anyway: Any teacher with more than a year’s classroom experience has likely already gotten a paperweight with apples, books, and rulers on it. An actually-nice pair of socks that can be worn year-round is also going to be a lot more appreciated than, say, the novelty red-and-green set with bells sold at the drugstore.
And one final way to make the gift really feel special? “I love when the students help pick out the gift,” says Mrs. R, a second-grade teacher. “It makes them even more excited to give it to me.” To keep your kid from picking out a Paw Patrol ornament, consider giving them some guidelines: What is your teacher’s favorite color? Can you help me pick out a planter for a succulent?
For more suggestions, check out our list in the slides ahead.
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A version of this story was originally published on December 5, 2019.