It’s that busy time of year where we are all frazzled and are wracking our brains trying to come up with perfect gifts for everyone on our list. If you are anything like me, you want the presents you purchase to be unique for the person you are shopping for. Christmas is the perfect time to show the people who are important in our lives that we care about them and want them to feel special. And who deserves to feel the love more than our children’s teachers?!

Confession: I am a teacher so I may be a little biased here. However, because of my experience in the classroom, I know firsthand how much work my own son’s teachers are putting into helping them grow, learn, and flourish. I know how much of their own money they are spending weekly to enhance their lessons. I know how much of their own time they are using to plan, grade, and create. They. Are. Rock stars. And they deserve to feel that way all year long — but especially during the holidays!

So how do you come up with a sentimental gift that appropriately shows your child’s teacher how much you appreciate them without spending too much time on Pinterest or going broke?

Ask your child about their Teacher

Who knows your child’s teacher better than your child? They spend every day together and know that she journals about her dog every afternoon during modeled writing. They know she drinks a lemon LaCroix every day after lunch. They know she wears her Florida Gator sweatshirt on big game weeks. They know she likes to diffuse lavender essential oils after they come in from recess. They know she keeps a jar of Reese Cups on her desk. Trust me, even the youngest of students know whether their teacher always has a Starbucks or Dunkin’ cup in her hand in the mornings. Have your child help you in picking out the perfect gift for their teacher by seeing what they remember about them.

See what supplies your Teacher needs

It may seem odd to buy school supplies for a Christmas present, but I can’t think of many teachers who would be upset about getting a new batch of dry-erase markers during the halfway point in the school year. Remember that “wish list” your child’s teacher put up during Open House? Chances are that the list has grown, but parents don’t often think to check back to see if their teacher is in need of anything. Send your teacher a quick email to see what they are running low on and make a huge gift basket of the essentials. Tissues and Clorox wipes are a godsend this time of year. Pencils and glue sticks are constantly disappearing. And what teacher doesn’t love a big ol’ package of new Flair Pens?! But, if you really want to “WOW” your teacher, you can add a personalized stapler, clipboard, or paper cutter to your basket. And, don’t forget to throw in their favorite snack or treat!

Everyone loves gift cards and donations

Sometimes the best gifts are the simplest. Gift cards are always appreciated and make shopping simpler for you. And let’s face it, educators are not paid nearly what they should, so whether your child’s teacher uses a gift card for personal or professional use, it will be put to good use! Target, Amazon and Barnes and Noble are always a hit, but if you want to give a gift card that is a little out of the norm, check out Their site is full of cute, fun shirts with sayings and designs that teachers love. You can purchase a gift card for your teacher to shop online. Another teacher fave is Your child’s teacher can use the online gift certificate to purchase all kinds of resources that can be used in their classroom. Also, check to see if your teacher has a project that they need funding for. Consider making a big donation as a Christmas present or sharing the website with family members who may be feeling generous during the holiday season!

holiday teacher gift

Make it personal

At the end of the day, teachers just want to know that parents see their hard work and appreciate it. Whatever gift you give, make sure to write a note (or have your child write a note) that lets them know how important they are. Or, perhaps you have a sweet picture of your child with their teacher that you could frame with a card explaining how they’ve made a difference in their life. While I may not remember every gift a student has given me throughout my teaching years, I do remember the portrait a first grader made of me when I was pregnant telling me she loved me and my baby. I still recall the email a parent sent telling me she was grateful for the positive change I made in her son’s life. And, I love to look back on all the hundreds of cards and drawings I’ve received throughout the years from my students.

So, this Christmas, when it comes to your child’s teacher, keep it simple. Keep it personal. And, show the love.

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Karen Smith
Karen was born in Ohio but spent most of her childhood in Florida. She attended the University of Florida, where she met her husband, and she got her Master’s in Elementary Education at the University of South Florida. She taught first grade in Tampa until her oldest son was born. Her plans to return to the classroom changed when her husband’s job brought them to Pennsylvania where they welcomed another son. The following years brought them to Raleigh and then St. Augustine. After spending two years substitute teaching in St. Johns County, Karen is now teaching VPK at a local preschool. She enjoys days on the water with her family, reading “chick lit” with a glass of wine, pretending to be Ina Garten in the kitchen, and cheering on her Gators. She embraces all things #boymom and has never met a doughnut/taco/pasta that she didn’t like.