This article was written by Jane Morris — Bestselling author of Teacher Misery and Crap My Students Make.
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Let me start off by saying that most teachers are grateful to receive any kind of gift for any reason. We don’t expect it. But if you’re going to spend money on something, shouldn’t it be something we actually want or find useful? Here is a list of the best and worst teacher gift ideas.
1. Teachers don’t want: Any more mugs!
Especially holiday or winter themed mugs. Yes, most of us drink coffee or tea to get through the day but we have enough mugs! Trust me! (P.S. if it’s between a Dollar Tree mug and nothing then I’m grateful to have something to re-gift to my in-laws!)
Try instead: A wine glass!
Buy it here: TEACHER OFF DUTY
Even if the teacher doesn’t drink alcohol (which is unlikely), they can still feel fancy pouring their beverage into a glass with a funny quote on it!
2. Teachers don’t need: lotions or soaps or candles.
We all like different scents and it’s rare that I get one that doesn’t give me a headache or make a funny gag sound emit from my throat.
Try instead: Anything from Bath & Body Works.
If you must give a scented gift, get it from Bath & Body Works because we can exchange it for whatever scent we prefer!
Buy it here: Amazon
3. Teachers definitely don’t want: anything home baked.
It’s not that we don’t like baked goods. It’s just that we don’t really know what your kitchen is like. And I’m sure most of your kitchens are perfectly sanitary, but a small percentage have a scary amount of cat hair or are just plain filthy. Plus, there are too many urban legends about teachers getting baked goods with added ingredients such as hallucinogens, ex-lax etc. Also, we’ve all seen that chocolate pie scene in The Help.
Try instead: COLD. HARD. CASH.
I’m not trying to be greedy and crass but teachers need money. How about instead of baking things, you just give us the money you would have spent on the ingredients? Any amount is appreciated!
4. Teachers don’t want any more: candy.
Most people love candy, and sure, we do too. But you can’t imagine how many packages of Ferrero Rocher we get! I imagine this is the gift that gets regifted the most. How many hands has this one pack of Rocher passed through? God only knows.
Try instead: A gift card to anywhere that sells caffeinated drinks!
Via: Homespun Hostess
You can never go wrong with a giftcard to Starbucks, Panera or Dunkin Donuts. Even if it’s for the cost of one cup of coffee, that’s one day that will run smoother because of you!
5. Teachers definitely don’t want: random things with inspirational quotes.
“To teach is to touch a life forever.”
“Teaching is a work of heart.”
“Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.”
These are adorable quotes but we don’t need anymore paperweights or pencil holders!
Try instead: A funny book!
This hilarious collection of authentic student work is a perfect gift for teachers of any age!
Buy it here: Amazon
6. Teachers don’t want: scarves.
I get a lot of these felt scarves and I find it very comforting that people want me to stay warm but… they’re usually kind of ugly.
Try instead: A cozy blanket.
I would much rather receive a cozy blanket for all the napping I plan on doing over the winter break.
7. Teachers don’t want but sort of appreciate: strange homemade crafts.
Via: Recycle Art
These are weird items that we don’t quite know what to do with but honestly, if you’re going to go this route- the quirkier the better! It’s something fun to hang up in the closet!
Other things teachers would love to have: student loan forgiveness.
I’m sure there is nothing you can do to help with this one, but if you are related to any CEOs of any major banks and could pull some strings…?
8. Gift cards- YES to gift cards! To anywhere!
Even though the National Retail Federation says the least wanted gift cards are to Sears, Rite Aid and Staples- I’d be thrilled with any of those! Having some choice is better than having to exchange something. You can’t imagine how grateful we are for gift cards! Even $5 to Starbucks is a ray of sunshine on a cold school day!
9. One more great gift idea for a teacher: Megaphone with bottle opener!
Get it here: Amazon
I’m not sure who this item is intended for but in my mind it is perfect for a teacher! It allows me to save my voice on days when students are particularly rowdy, AND I’m ready for happy hour at any time! The best $14.99 I’ve ever spent!