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Giving Gifts Teachers Really Want

by Andrew Roush
teacher gift

A mug with a cute message. Knickknacks for your desk. Perhaps even the traditional big, red apple, carefully polished to a waxy sheen. If you’re an educator, you’re probably familiar with the common gifts teachers receive, especially around the holidays. 

And while a handmade ornament might hang on a teacher’s tree for years serving as a cherished memento, many teacher gifts are redundant — for proof, look no further than the cabinet full of “World’s Best Teacher” mugs the next time you drop by a teacher’s lounge. 

Are you looking to find the perfect gift for your staff, your child’s teacher, or even your colleagues? Let’s take a look at some useful and unique gifts to share with the educators you care about this holiday season.

Gifts for the Whole Team

New York magazine’s The Strategist site, which runs under the rather direct banner “GIFTS THEY MIGHT ACTUALLY WANT,” suggests simple touches, like a handwritten note. They suggest fun sets of cards where you can write custom messages, with sets like this literary-themed collection that runs around $10 and are available through Amazon. Got an eye for art? Pick these colorful, unique cards from R. Nichols

In their 2020 teacher gift guide, Real Simple suggests personalized laptop cases or tote bags for your team. Consider options from promotional companies used to bulk orders, on-demand sites like Shutterfly, or you can go the handmade route if you have the time and resources, through online craft marketplaces like Etsy.

Updating Traditions

USA Today’s list of gift options, like many gift guides, focuses on interests. It also offers a few upgraded riffs on the traditional teacher gifts.

The old-fashioned coffee mug not going to dazzle? Try a high-quality water bottle or travel mug. Think the classic, grocery-store red delicious apple isn’t the most exciting healthy snack? Give a box of gourmet pears from southern Oregon. 

Self-care is always good to invest in, and at no time more than it is today. Want to upgrade from mini lotion bottles to something more substantial? USA Today recommends the Feeling Fab subscription to help your teacher relax and rejuvenate not just at the holidays, but every month. 

If a monthly subscription is tricky, especially for parents of secondary students with many teachers, consider these self-care gift items from Bored Teachers and The Whole Adventure, with options like weighted blankets, reflection journals, and much more.

Utility Can Be a Gift

Of course, thoughtful, personal gifts can carry powerful sentimental value. But when it comes to the day-to-day of working, teachers always need support. 

That’s why you shouldn’t hesitate to share practical, useful gifts, like school supplies, books for the classroom library, or an iTunes gift card to help educators pick up useful paid apps or just a few songs to jam to in between classes and meetings. Other simple but practical gift card options (they pair well with the cards listed above) include the all-purpose prepaid Visa gift card, cards for craft stores like Michaels, or office supply stores. For those looking to combine practically and self-care, consider New York’s suggestion and pick up a gift card to a local spa.

Even simple things can spark happiness. Consider custom pencils. Does your teacher have a catchphrase, common saying, or even a nickname? They’ll smile each time they reach for a pencil.

New Gifts for New Ways of Learning

It goes without saying that teaching and learning has changed significantly over the course of 2020. If you’re aiming to go big with timely gifts, consider useful remote and hybrid learning tools, like a digital document camera, drawing tablet, or even a powerful, handheld microscope.

And of course, as we work hard each day to stay safe, practical gifts might take on a new meaning. A custom mask, hand sanitizer, or other health-related items will no doubt be appreciated by teachers. 

How will you be celebrating teachers this year? Let us know in the comments!

Gift Guides for Teachers

Photo by Giftpundits.com from Pexels

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1 comment

Elizabeth January 10, 2021 - 3:00 pm

Great ideas! Very useful topic, especially when you can’t choose a good gift!


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