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No gift—big or small, extravagant or practical—can fully demonstrate how grateful we are for our children's teachers, whether in kindergarten or high school. Still, we try. Showing our kids' hard-working teachers a token of appreciation during the holidays or at the end of the school year is a must, for first-time teachers to educators that have taught in the system for decades.
A nice teacher gift can range from practical picks they can use at school, to thoughtful items for their time away from work. Gift cards are always welcome, of course, though chances are they'll receive plenty of those. That's why we've rounded up a handful of gift ideas that are more creative, thoughtful, and memorable. Whatever you gift them though, it's a great idea to include a handwritten card from your kiddos.
Though no gift can truly say "thank you" enough, scroll on for the best gifts for educators to show your appreciation.
Pottery Barn Mini Faux Potted Orchid
Buy your favorite teacher a beautiful faux arrangement that will stand the test of time. This pretty potted orchid isn’t real, so it’ll remain on her desk throughout the entire school year and beyond. Not to mention, it won’t spark any allergies. The small potted “plant” won’t be distracting on her desk, but is eye-catching enough to make her space feel a little more upscale and serene. If you’re feeling extra creative, get out a little paint and some stencils, and personalize the pot with the teacher’s name.
Etsy Personalized Male Teacher Rubber Stamp
There's just something about a personalized gift that makes everyone feel special. This custom rubber stamp features an image as well as a short phrase of your choice. Customize the look of the person, including their hairstyle, tie, facial hair, or even a few choices of eyeglasses. You can purchase the stamp alone or even throw in an ink pad for a few extra dollars.
Lunya Washable Silk Sleep Mask
Lunya is a brand known for great robes and loungewear, and this sleep mask is also a winner. The silk mask fits snug against the eyes without being restrictive, so there are no annoying gaps or light peeking through. The elastic band also aides in comfort. When it needs to be cleaned, the mask can just be thrown in the washing machine.
Room Essentials 12"x 12" Letterboard
Whether he uses this message board for classroom announcements or as a place to post a rotation of inspirational quotes, it’s a fun addition to any learning space. The one-inch plastic letters slide easily into the grooves on the board, making it easy and quick to change out the message on a daily basis. Kids will love walking into the room and seeing something new each and every day. It’s the little things that count!
Knock Knock Why You're the Best Teacher Ever Fill in the Love Book
What better way to honor a teacher than with a completely personalized book? The small hardcover book, which is protected with a clear plastic jacket, has 112 pages of prompts for your child to fill out about his or her teacher. Examples include “The best thing about our classroom is…” and “You are the best…I’ve ever known.” If that still seems like a lot for your family, why not get the whole class in on the present? Each child can fill out and sign one or two pages for a gift any teacher will cherish for a lifetime. It’s the perfect end-of-year gift for a teacher who really made a difference.
Fresh Prints of CT Gandhi Quote Inspirational Pencils
These clever inspirational pencils may just replace a teacher’s favorite red pen. Even if they can’t use them to grade papers, these hot foil stamped no. 2 pencils will find a permanent home in the pencil cup on his desk. With phrases like “thoughts become words,” “words become actions,” “actions become habits,” “habits become character,” and “character shapes your destiny,” this set of five pencils pass on an important message that’s just right for an educator shaping young minds.
Yeti Rambler - 36 oz
For those with a slightly bigger budget, gift a sturdy and high-quality tumbler that your favorite teacher can easily bring to and from school everyday. This Yeti rambler is made from stainless steel and keeps drinks cold until the last sip. There are over 15 colors to choose from to customize the gift to the recipient (or match the colors of their classroom).
Esker Plantable Candle
Those looking to splurge on a favorite teacher or professor that's an advocate for sustainability will love this plantable candle from Esker. At first glance, the sleek terra cotta makes a beautiful addition to any desk or classroom. Once all the wax is burned, add water with the included seed paper and soil pod and watch your new plant grow.
MECO Desktop Vacuum Desk Dust Cleaner Mini
Crumbs naturally seem to find their way to desks and into the tiniest crevices, but this genius product rectifies that. The small, but mighty desktop vacuum fits in the palm of their hand and operates with the push of a single button to suck up any small particles on a desk or even a keyboard. This is seriously one of those simple gifts that they'll probably use daily.
Williams Sonoma Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods, Set of 12
Chocolate is a universally beloved gift for any occasion. Williams Sonoma has endless choices for gourmet chocolate that are simple and delicious while also elegant. These playful but decadent chocolate covered pretzels come with a variety of toppings for sharing and sampling. And the best part about gift baskets is they can be sent anywhere as a token of love.
ArOmis Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser
Essential oils are known to have multiple healing powers, making them a perfect gift option for teachers to implement in their classrooms or through their daily life. Choose between calming lavender for nap time, energizing orange for activities, or rosemary for concentration during tests and quizzes. No matter how they use this thoughtful gift, this classy and interesting essential oil diffuser will fit perfectly with any decor.
lululemon x saje The Recovery Kit
All teachers deserve a moment for themselves to practice self-care. This recovery kit from lululemon and Saje would be perfect for physical education teachers, coaches, or other active educators that need an excuse to relax. The set comes with an essential oil roll-on, bath salts, body butter, and a wooden massager all in a convenient carrying case to work off the stresses of a hard day at work.
Etsy Personalize Teachers Appreciation Coasters
These adorable coasters will add a bit of color and whimsy to any teacher's desk. The resin coated coasters are filled with push pins, crayons, paper clips, and other school supplies. Just add in your teacher's name and the Etsy shop AScopriosInnerBeauty will add it on top in beautiful script. It's a great way to show your appreciation to the educators that shaped you while supporting small businesses and artists.
Winc Gift Card
While an alcohol subscription may seem strange coming from a child, college or graduate school students may opt for this personalized wine gift card. Winc offers a custom experience and has over 100 wines to choose from so your teacher can relax with a bottle shipped right to their door every month. Note: It may be helpful to know the alcohol preferences of your kid's favorite teacher before purchasing.
Here for the Burn World's Best Teacher Candle World's Best Teacher Candle
Candles are a great, relaxing gift and this one from Here for the Burn has a burn time of 60 hours. Choose from a variety of scents, like mango guava, Moroccan amber, or bergamot, green grass, and tonka bean. Even after the candle has burned, the nine-ounce glass with "World's Best Teacher" is sure to be something they keep and upcycle for other uses.
Uncommon Goods Teas of the Boston Tea Party
A history teacher or just a tea lover will get a chuckle out of this present. The set includes five glass vials of teas, specifically varieties that were thrown overboard during the Boston Tea Party. The package comes with brewing directions and even a few fun facts about tea. The cherry wood display would look great on a countertop and is perfect for a traditional English tea party.
Uncommon Goods Library Card Tote Bag
A sturdy tote bag is something everyone needs, but especially a teacher who has books, graded papers, and more to lug around. This 100 percent cotton tote isn't just useful, but the library card design is super fitting. Measuring 18 inches long, the bag can hold quite a bit and the interior pocket keeps smaller items (keys, phone, etc.) from getting buried.
Etsy Teacher Enamel Pin
The concept of giving a teacher an apple might be a bit outdated, but this small accessory is kind of along those lines. The apple-shaped enamel pin comes in colors like black, white, or red and the gold lettering reads, "I am a teacher. What is your superpower?" This is a small gift—it's less than 1.5 inches, but a way to show appreciation and your teacher is sure to wear it with pride.
Trade Gift Coffee Subscription
Coffee lovers will absolutely love this recurring gift. Trade's subscription allows the java lover to take a short quiz based on their preferences, and then they can choose the frequency with which they'll receive deliveries. The company has a selection of more than 400 coffee varieties, so there's always something new and fun.
Simple Houseware Mesh Desk Organizer with Sliding Drawer
It can't be easy keeping tabs on a range of classes, paperwork, and even supplies, but a desk organizer like this can at least help. The organizer, which comes in black or silver, holds a range of items, without taking up too much desk space. The bottom features two shelves, one of which has compartments (great for supplies), and the top has five letter organizer slots for paperwork.
Papier Demi Daily Planner
We're in a tech world, but writing things down never goes out of style. This Papier daily planner is perfect for busy teachers because it helps them organize life in and outside of the classroom. It makes it easy to track daily to-dos, along with habits, goals, and more. Plus, the pages aren't dated, so the planner can be started at any given time—no need to wait until fall.
Ostrichpillow Mini Handy Pillow
Snoozing on the job is a no-no, but for those quiet moments when your overworked teacher can take a nap? This pillow, conveniently called the Handy, will come in handy. The material is soft and the interior is packed with micro-beads. It slips on over the hand or forearm to create a compact nap pillow and offers great head support.
Amazon Waxed Canvas Lunch Bags
Even adults can use a great lunch bag—and while this may look like a brown paper bag, it's actually a washable and reusable bag made of cotton and beeswax. The waxed canvas is waterproof and any internal spills can easily be wiped away. It's spacious enough to fit food containers, drinks, and any yummy snacks.
Core Meditation Trainer
Help your child's favorite teacher embrace moments of zen with Core's meditation trainer. The handheld device sends small vibrations to keep the user focused as they follow along to the app's guided meditations and breathing techniques. The sensors also measure heart rate. The app features a variety of sessions, as well as soundscapes, to suit all needs.
Artifact Uprising Wooden Tabletop Frame
A lot of us are guilty of snapping a ton of pics on our phones, but never actually printing them. This photo frame just might encourage your teacher to display their favorite image. Simply upload the pic and it's set in the wood frame, which ranges in size from 5 x 7-inches to 10 x 8-inches. The detachable metal stand means the frame can be placed on a tabletop or even hanged.
What to Look for In a Teacher's Gift
Before dropping serious dollars on a teacher's gift, check your school's policy to see if they limit how much you can spend. If not, you could consider pooling with other parents on a larger gift. Otherwise, $50 is usually an appropriate maximum, though as long as it's heartfelt, any gift of any dollar amount would be appreciated.
Remember, the teacher needs to get this gift home, likely on a day when he or she is receiving many gifts. Consider the convenience of carrying your present to their car or on public transportation. For instance, everyone loves flowers, but does the teacher have a vase to get them into water until school lets out? It's a great idea to keep the gift on the smaller side.
Nothing Too Sensible
While we all know teachers deserve the best school supplies available, and unfortunately sometimes foot the bill themselves, but it might be more thoughtful to gift something for the teacher, and not their classroom. Keep the gift personable and not too practical.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This roundup was written by Julia Fields a lifestyle writer for The Spruce covering all things surrounding toys, gifts, and the holidays since October 2021. Before that, she covered similar topics including toy reviews, product round-ups, expert-focused articles, and more. Additional reporting was done by Patrice Williams, a NYC-based writer specializing in lifestyle hacks, home decor, and product recommendations. She writes about the latest and greatest products for The Spruce.