5 Teacher Gift Ideas (That Teachers Actually WANT)

Teachers work hard, and Teacher Appreciation Week (May 7 – May 11, 2018)is a great excuse to show some extra gratitude. A thoughtful teacher gift means the world to your child’seducators,but choosing a gift that your kid’s teachers will want can be overwhelming. Don’t panic, though.This list of teacher gift ideas was vetted by an actual teacher who has been at her school for over 30years: my mom.

My mother has been a teacher for almost my entire life, so my sister and I are also very familiar with teacher gifts.Every holiday and summer vacation, mom would come home with a mountain of mugs, gift baskets and gift cards. We’d all go through the gifts togetherand divvy them up. It felt like an extra Christmas!

Before we get to the list, I do want to put your mind at ease:teachers are grateful for any gift of appreciation, no matter what. Even if you’ve gifted something they didn’t end up keeping,the recognition means a lot to them. This list is meant to help you choose a gift, not to make you feel bad about anything you’ve given in the past. At the end of the day, it’s thethought that counts.

This list of teacher gift ideas for the holidays was vetted by an actual teacher who has been at her school for over 30 years.


1. Gift Cards.

Let’s get real: teachers are not paid enough. Not only are teacher salaries too low, but every teacher I know regularly pays for at least someclassroom supplies out of pocket.A gift card toa coffee shop, department store,movie theater, spa or restaurant is a great way to tell the teachers in your life to treat themselves.

lentil soup mix in mason jars

2. Homemade Food Gifts.

Food gifts are nice, because there’s nothing to store once they’re eaten. Bonus points if your kids help make these! Cookies, hot cocoa mix, chocolatebarkand soup mixes are all great ideas for teachers.My mom’s feedback on this one was, “anything in a mason jar is good!” Even ifthey’re set for mason jars at home, they can reuse them in the classroom for storage.

Related: 10 DIY Holiday Food and Craft Gifts

Good tea or coffee are great holiday teacher gift ideas!

3. Store-Bought Food Gifts.

Good chocolate, coffee or tea all make great gifts. You might be tempted to package that coffee or cocoa mix in a cute mug, butlong-time teachers don’t want mugs. When I pitched this teacher gift idea to my mom, I originally wrote “with a cute mug.”Mom said, “No cute mugs. We own mugs. Really. Except maybe first year teachers.”

Potted plants are lovely teacher gifts!

4. A Potted Plant.

A pretty plant brightens up the classroom or a teacher’s house, but you want to be sure you’re not just giving them a chore. Choose something that’s easy to grow, like rosemary, a succulent, a cactus or one of the houseplants listed here, and includecare instructions.

Related: 10 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Make Today


5. Cash.

This might feela little bit lazy or tacky, but a little bit of cash to spend on whatever they want along with a thoughtful note is a great way to thankyour kid’s teachers for their hard work.At my son’s preschool,the parents all throw in cash so the teachers can go out for a nice lunch.

Related at Care2

Image Credits: Soup Mix image by Becky Striepe. All other images via Thinkstock.


Pasty M
Past Member 6 months ago

Cash is King?

Ann B
Ann B8 months ago

good ideas NO JEWELRY

Thomas M
Past Member 8 months ago

thank you

Sue H
Sue H8 months ago

Helpful suggestions, thanks.

David C
David C8 months ago


Yến Giang T
Yến Giang T8 months ago

That's good

Ruth S
Ruth S8 months ago


Winn A
Winn Adams8 months ago


Winn A
Winn Adams8 months ago


John W
John W8 months ago