Monday, June 20, 2016

Gifts for Teachers: What They REALLY Want

School's (almost) out for summer, and I need gifts for my kids' amazing teachers.

I searched for ideas on Pinterest, but I felt bad about myself almost immediately and gave up. The printables, the hand-made crafts, the candy, the highlighters - what do teachers REALLY want?

Luckily, I have several friends who ARE teachers. They gave me the low-down, and will remain ANONYMOUS because I asked them to be brutally honest. Their answers will surprise you!

Gifts for Teachers: What They REALLY Want (their answers will surprise you!)
First, ALL of the teachers said they don't expect a gift at the end of the year. Remember - they were speaking anonymously, so I actually do believe them. 

If you're going to be awesome and get something anyway, here are some tips.

What Teachers DO NOT WANT

  • Candy: "Every year, one of our teachers collects all the unwanted chocolate and takes it down to the drop-in centre to donate to the homeless."
  • Mugs: "Our staffroom kitchen is overflowing with coffee mugs."
  • Candles and other trinkets: no one needs more of that.
  • Perfume, bath stuff, and anything smelly: I have done this. I have given smelly stuff to teachers. I should have asked sooner!

What Teachers REALLY Want

A Note

One teacher said, "It's the notes from parents and kids I treasure. I keep some every year to pull out and read when I'm having a bad day." Be specific and sincere: 
  • Talk about a time when the teacher did something exceptional or special for your child. 
  • Try: "I'll always remember the time you..." 
  • Or: "It meant so much to us when you..."

Gift Cards

  • Safe bets are gifts cards from Starbucks, Tim Hortons, or Indigo.


  • Parents are apparently hesitant to give wine, but let's face it - your kids' teachers probably need a drink.
  • Don't worry - they won't crack it open until the kids are gone.

Hand-made Cards

  • Home-made cards from the kids are treasured for years.
  • One teacher said, "I have a pick-me-up file filled with cards and notes."

One of the teachers I spoke to had this to say: "Ending the year is actually hard for most teachers emotionally. We've come to know and love our students really well and we will never share their lives in the same way again. Seeing them move on is somewhat bittersweet: you're happy for them to grow up and move on to bigger & better things, but you'll miss them, too."

SNIFF. Now I want to buy teachers ALL the presents. They are awesome. Any other great ideas?


  1. Oooooo! This is a great post, thank you. I'm thinking of giving my daughter's teacher a unique plant and a handmade card. What do you think? It's not a mug! :)

  2. Excellent suggestions! Why hasn't anyone asked a teacher before??!

  3. Great post, Katie! Good suggestions and right on the mark :)

  4. It's always a struggle to find the perfect gift for teacher. Your tips are grew!!

  5. Being a former teacher, I can totally relate to just wanting a nice note to pull out on a challenging day! No more mugs, but coffee gift cards are great!

  6. It's nice to know that a teacher may want a card or thank you note. There were some teachers who I wish I could go back to and thank. Good ideas!

  7. Great ideas Katie! Another great gift is a donation in their honour to a favourite charity. At Christmas this year my son's teacher sent an email saying that she didn't expect gifts but the if anyone wanted to get her a Christmas present she would be happiest with a hand made card or a donation to the Food Bank. We made a donation in her honour and a card. I think we will do the same at year end butvadf a thank you note.

    1. That's brilliant, Nicole! There are tons of charities that support education or children - I'm sure teachers would love that.

  8. These are really good suggestions! Thank you!! :)
    hugs x, Crystelle
    Crystelle Boutique

  9. love this! My husband is a teacher and I know he would agree with all this :)

  10. I love this post! What a great topic to cover, and aren't the results interesting?! I'm off to share - this is a post every parent of kids still in school needs to read! Great Job!!!

  11. I am a teacher and I agree! WINE!!! And gift cards!

  12. We always get our teacher a gift card to the farm bakery which is just a block away from the school - I see the teachers in there all the time and so I know it's popular with them. Great post and a good reminder I should go get some gift cards... thanks!

  13. I'm a former teacher and I completely agree with the notes and gift cards.

    And the bittersweet sentiment at the end of the school year is SO true.

  14. So true. Notes, gift cards, and thoughtful cards were always the most cherished things I got while I taught.

    But I have to say that I committed the cardinal sin and bought my girls' preschool teachers mugs last year. Then I realized what I had done... :P

    1. Ha ha! I have given nearly everything on the "do not want" list. I'm right there with you!

  15. This is a great list. I was a teacher before I became a SAHM, and I totally agree about the thoughtful notes and cards!
    The gift cards are probably the best useful gift, especially when a parent coordinates everyone to chip in on one card together. Target is a good option because it can be for either classroom or personal use.
    Congrats on the feature at Hit Me With Your Best Shot! :)
    Kim @


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