How to Save Money » Simple Living

One Teacher’s Best Teacher Gift Ideas

One Teacher’s Best Teacher Gift Ideas

As a teacher, I have been fortunate to receive gifts from students and their families. These gifts are never expected but always appreciated. If you are looking for just the right present for your favourite teacher, here is my list of 25 best teacher gift ideas.

A Handwritten Note

The best teacher gifts I have ever received were heartfelt handwritten notes. Sometimes as a teacher, it can feel like things go in one ear and out the other. Hearing from a student or family, the impact you have made makes such a difference.

The handwritten note can be on a card or just written on a piece of paper. And it can be written by the student or a family member. Taking the time to tell the teacher how much you appreciate him/her goes a long way.

School or Classroom Supplies

So many teachers pay out of pocket for things for their classroom and students. If you are looking for a practical gift that will surely get used, think about giving school supplies like scissors, glue sticks, highlighters, hand sanitizer, a good pencil sharpener, books for the classroom library, or age-appropriate board games.

These classroom supplies will save teachers from spending money from their pocket and continue to benefit future students.

Personalized Teacher Appreciation Gifts

The sky’s the limit on personalized gifts. Here are some suggestions for that perfect personalized teacher gift.


Personalized pencils come in all different colours with tons of options available through Amazon. Nobody will wonder who the pencil belongs to when the teacher’s name is engraved or printed right on it.


Having personalized stationery created for that special teacher will help them make perfect notes for their students. There are many options for personalizing stationery, so you can choose the perfect thing that fits your budget.

Teacher Stamp

Some personalized teacher stamp options:

  • This book belongs to Teacher Name.
  • Teacher Name thinks you’re fantastic.
  • From the library of Teacher Name
  • Teacher Name says, “Great Job.”

Or use your imagination to come up with something that will be the perfect teacher appreciation gift.


Online you can order some very unique and creative notebooks that are personalized. Pick a pattern or design that matches the personality of the educator in your life. They will be continuously grateful as they use the notebook throughout the year.

Crayon Wreath

If you (or the students) are creative, why not make a personalized crayon wreath for the classroom door. Pinterest has tons of inspiration if this is what you’re thinking. You can get most of the supplies at your local dollar store, making this a gift that won’t break the bank. But the time and effort you put into creating it will make this gift priceless.


Consumables are some of my favourite teacher gifts to both give and receive. If you want to go the extra mile, give a consumable that you made yourself – pickles, jam, preserves, and cookies are all great options for this.

Is your teacher a coffee or tea drinker? Beverages also make great consumables. You can get a teacher a bottle of wine or another adult beverage for a more grown-up gift.

A unique spin on a consumable gift is to fill a mason jar with the teacher’s favourite gum, chocolate, or candy. That jar can then be kept on the teacher’s desk and accessed as needed.

New Lanyard

Teachers often keep their keys or school ID on a lanyard. Why not get them a new one? You can use your imagination or shop around for the perfect one for the teacher in your life.

Sturdy Tote Bag

As a teacher, I am often hauling schoolwork back and forth between home and school. A sturdy tote bag will help with this and be a daily reminder of the thoughtful student who gifted it.

A Book

If your teacher is an avid reader, why not get them their next book to read. Not sure if they are a reader? Then a recipe book or Richard Benson book are great universal gift ideas for teachers.

Something to Add to Their Collection

Is the teacher in your life a collector? Why not get something to add to their collection; a figurine, stickers, book, or anything else that would be the perfect fit for their collection.

Sticky Notes Set

What teacher doesn’t love and use sticky notes regularly? Why not show your appreciation by getting your teacher floral or funky sticky notes sets for them to use in their classroom.

Checklist Notepad

Are you a checklist person? Chances are your teacher is too. Why not get them a unique checklist notepad that fits their personality?

Daily Planner

The majority of teachers I know use a daily planner. Christmas time or the end of the year are great times to look for a new daily planner for that special teacher. You can often find ones that start at the beginning of the calendar year and others that start at the beginning of the school year.

Basic Tool Kit

In a classroom, there are always things that need to be tightened or adjusted. And a basic tool kit can also be repurposed as an at-home or in-car tool kit during those summer months away from the classroom.

Recipe Box Filled With Each Student’s Favourite Recipe

This gift may take a bit more planning in advance and is probably not a great last-minute gift. But if you can take the time to prepare a recipe box filled with each student’s favourite recipe, this will be a class gift remembered for years.

Surprise Lunch Delivery

Pizza anyone? As a group gift, why not have lunch delivered as a surprise to the school? The students will love watching the surprise on their teacher’s face when the surprise lunch arrives.

Funky Socks

For the teacher who seems to have everything, funky socks can make a great present. There are so many different designs out there that chances are you will be able to find something that your teacher doesn’t already have. And the students can make a game out of checking out the teacher’s socks to see which ones they are wearing.

A Plant

A small plant or succulent can change the feel of a classroom. If you give a plant to one of your teachers, try to find something hearty and doesn’t need a lot of attention. There are enough other things to worry about in a classroom than keeping a high maintenance plant alive.

Gift Basket

There are endless possibilities of personalized gift baskets you can put together for the teacher in your life. This can be as easy as buying a prepackaged one. If you have a high school student, get them involved in putting together a movie night basket with popcorn, snacks, and their favourite movie.

Or get an idea from any of the other items on this list and compile them as a class gift from everyone.

Something for Them to Pamper Themselves

After a long day with students, every teacher could use a little pampering. Some suggestions that teachers can use for self-care or self-pampering are scalp massagers to relieve muscle tension, cotton spa slippers, or spa comfort eye pillow.

Thanks for Helping Me Grow Kit

Are you looking for the perfect gift for a kindergarten or elementary teacher? Buy some seed packets (maybe of the student’s favourite things to grow or eat). Bundle them together with a lovely ribbon and write a cute note that says, “thank you for helping me grow.”

Teacher Sign

Etsy has lots of downloadable sign ideas for teachers. You can get one that gives a funny or quirky definition for the word teacher. Or one that states the name of the teacher. With a digital download, you can print it off at home or take it to your local print shop for the best quality.

Pick up a unique frame and your local secondhand store, and this gift is ready for the walls of any school classroom.

Personal Laminator

A personal laminator is great for a teacher to laminate student work to put up on the walls to last a little longer. If you are thinking about giving this as a gift, I recommend including extra lamination sheets.

Reusable Metal Straws

Not sure what to get the teacher in your life, and nothing on this list is sparking you into action? Why not get the practical, inexpensive gift of reusable metal straws?

Touch Screen Gloves

If you want to buy a gift for a teacher who is often outside on supervision, touch screen gloves are a great option. Touch screen gloves will allow the teacher’s fingers to stay warm while they checking the time on their phone or using it for any other reason.

A Gift That Changes Lives

Maybe you don’t want to buy a physical gift for the teacher in your life, but you still want to show them that you care. One idea is to donate in their name to a relevant charity. The donation could be to a child-related charity, like the local children’s hospital or something else dear to the teacher or family’s heart.

A Gift Card

And if all else fails and you want to purchase a gift for the teacher in your life, but you’re not sure what they really want, why not get them a gift card? You really can’t go wrong with gift cards. And you can often get them for any denomination and most shops and stores. Bonus if you buy a gift card to support a local vendor.

Teacher Gifts to Avoid

There are some gifts that you may want to avoid when shopping for that special teacher. It is not that these presents are not appreciated, but instead, they usually are overly-gifted or not necessary.

Coffee Mugs

You won’t often find a teacher who doesn’t already have more coffee mugs than they can use. Like you, teachers often have their favourite mug that they drink from all the time while others sit on the shelf collecting dust.


Candles and lotion are difficult to give to a teacher. Even though it seems easy and universal, it is often impersonal and may cause allergies for the teacher if they are sensitive to certain scents.

Apple-Themed Gifts

Contrary to popular belief, not all teachers collect apple-themed tchotchkes. When I think of all the teachers I know, very few, if any of them do. If you ask me, those apple-themed presents are better left on the store shelves.

Gifts That Break the Bank

One time in my teaching career, I received an extravagant gift that made me extremely uncomfortable. As a teacher, I’m not looking for anything expensive; that is not why I am in this profession. Most teachers would much rather a heartfelt handwritten card than a gift that breaks the bank.

Gifts That Expire Soon

Although consumables make great teacher appreciation gifts, ones that expire right away may not be your best option. Look for things with longer shelf lives, or opt for something that doesn’t expire at all.

It’s the Thought That Counts

Most teachers will be grateful for any gift from their students.

Whatever gift you pick, you can go that extra mile by adding a personal touch by including a handwritten note or cute poem instead of a card. It is the thought behind the gift that makes it meaningful.

And remember that giving during the holidays isn’t mandatory. One way to stand out is to give a teacher something outside of traditional holidays.

Some of the gifts that stand out to me the most are ones that my students gave in unique times; the start of the school year or the parents who bring a chocolate bar or other small treats to parent-teacher-student conferences.

A gift shows that you are thinking about the teacher, want to say thank you and that you appreciate the work they do. It’s not about spending the most money or buying the most extravagant thing. Use this list of best teacher gift ideas as inspiration to find that perfect meaningful gift for the educator in your life.


  1. Jess

    I’m about to rain on the parade here, but it comes from wanting to spare you all that time and effort…
    As a teacher with a lot of teacher friends, I can tell you most of these things end up in the garbage. Imagine having to bring home and then find space for 30 “things” every year (sometimes twice a year w/ Christmas). It’s sweet, but most teachers would prefer just a card, maybe a small food item (homemade cookies?), something small like a $5 Tim’s or Starbucks card. Trust me, they don’t need more mugs.

    • Callie

      I grew up as a child of a teacher, and not one present in our household got thrown away before it was used or displayed. There was a lot of chocolate, lots of mugs, and lots of pictures, cards, etc. Eventually things were thrown away, but at least the effort was recognized. Receiving gifts is not a right, it’s a privilege.

    • Sandi

      We get the teachers each a bottle of wine. I bet they need it after the school year!

      • Erica Ashley

        We sure do! Heck I’m enjoying a nice glass of wine right now!

    • Louise

      My husband is a teacher and never expects a gift and appreciates anything that he is given. His favorite gifts are hand written notes or things made by the kids. One year he got a crocheted trivet with a mix for a cranberry bread where you just add eggs (or whatever). Equipment/material he can use for his classes is always appreciated and when he receives a gift card he usually spends it on something for his class (if he can). I would be inclined to get teachers something consumable (tea, coffee, chocolate, fruit bouquet, cookies) or a gift card for scholar’s choice, staples or chapters where they can buy books, toys, posters, whatever they want for their class – especially since so many of them spend money out of their own pocket to have material for their classes.

    • Nicola

      Jess, I think that you and your friends are few and far between! As a teacher I love to receive gifts that I know the child was involved in choosing! It makes me proud to think that they went to the time and effort to thank me for doing my job! Sure a gift card will be used, and no I do not NEED to receive anything – but seeing how excited my students are to give me something makes me truly appreciate it – especially the homemade gifts!

    • Dawn

      I can’t believe someone would say they throw away gifts that’s just wrong..really would it be that hard to display the items even if its for a short length of time and then pass on to a teacher would would appreciate you can always find someone who would love to have come on now. I sub in my children’s elementary school and the kids draw my pictures and I bring those home and hang on my frig. My kids love seeing them as well as myself! I can honestly say your post makes me thankful there aren’t teachers like you in my child’s school. Or if there is we don’t know it cause they show appreciation for each and every gift!

    • Kandra

      Wow, that is so sad! I think your post says a lot about you! People put a lot of time, effort and thought into teacher gifts because we appreciate them more than words could ever say! Maybe you should learn to do the same!

  2. Kelly

    These are great ideas, this year I am going with LCBO gift card for my daughters grade 8 teacher as well as a nice bottle of wine for my other daughters JK teacher. For the ECE teacher also in the JK class we are doing the “Thanks for helping me grow” but with seed packets, that way if they won’t use them themselves next year for Mothers/Fathers Day they can save themselves the cost out of pocket and do that. Then for the other 3 teachers in the JK class (I know a ton of teachers!) we are just buying a box of chocolates. For my son’s Grade 1 teacher he has said that her nails are always painted so going to buy a cute little nail file and some nail polish 🙂

  3. Nancy

    I agree with Jess. As a teacher I don’t like clutter and don’t need a bunch of stuff. I prefer a handwritten note from the heart. No gift needed.

  4. jo

    thnx for the link to the dollarstore house, great ideas. 🙂

  5. Dawn

    I don’t care what the teacher thinks. If she wants to throw out the gift my babies made for them so be it. I care about how my children feel spending the time making them and learning about being grateful for the education they have had throughout the year. The looks on their little faces when they proudly present them to the teacher is totally worth it! Hey, maybe she is disappointed she didn’t get a gift card, but the kids are happy and proud! And to me, that’s what school is all about! May the teachers enjoy a well deserved summer off.

  6. Jenny

    I am a teacher and a ton of my friends are teachers and we all LOVE to get presents like these. I think they are cute and I appreciate the effort put into them. I am at a school in which parents can’t afford gift cards and things of that nature but they can take the time to put together a cute present that does not cost much. To me, that is way more important than a gift card.

  7. Lalis

    I guess you will throw away or not depending on who you are, in my country and specially in my school, people cannot always spend money on a present, but most kids, try to find the way and give you something, sometimes they are even strange things with no use but that are real cool because you just can see them growing up, so I keep them, just because I appreciate their effort yep sometimes I am overflown but what the heck?
    I think we cannot theach what we do not know or understand!! So if we teach them that we prefer five dollar cards, or starbucks instead of heart given gifts, they will learn that their effort is not good enough, that money will always be more important than even them. This is what I think but well we all were born free.

    P.S I think stationary supplies are always great and handy, and I aggre to Louise must of the time come from your pocket, so I really love them. Sorry for bad grammar or my spell my first language is not Englis so if you have any observations please let me know.

  8. millie

    I think it depends on the teacher. I’m in the classroom and around the teachers enough to tell who likes homemade stuff and who doesn’t and give accordingly. My kids always create something by hand whether it be a home made card, thoughtful note or a picture. I am sure these end up in the trash as much as I am sure that the sentiment stays with the teacher forever! I can see why someone would post that most of what she gets ends up in the trash while another teacher would post, I cherish everything I receive. Both are ok responses to gifts. Gifts should be given with this in mind and it is not too hard to figure out which side of the fence your teacher falls on. Honestly, I don’t think either response is bad. I always end the year with a nice gift card to a store (usually clothing) where I think the teacher would shop. We are not a wealthy family but we try to spend between 30 and 50 per gift card. Its something I plan and save for all school year from cash I set aside every month. Its important to me. Teachers are important to me. It’s also important to me that people like the gifts I am giving. I figure you can’t go wrong with food, kind words and shopping.

  9. Teasa

    My daughter made homemade pickles one year for her teachers. She had learned from her girl scout troop and thought her teachers would love them… and they did! It was very easyand inexpensive. We put a note on them not to open till Dec 25.

  10. Nina V

    What I can’t stand is ungrateful people they are children for goodness sake if you are a teacher just to get gift cards and things that you like you shouldn’t be a teacher. One more thing why don’t you go out and buy your own things that you want. And someone that actually post something like this you are a disgrace.

  11. Cheryl

    I just can’t get over the fact that kids or parents would actually want to get a Christmas gift for the teacher. When I went to school in the 60s and 70s that wasn’t a thing at all. If it was, my mother would have been all over it.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*