I don’t know about you, but I do not have the mental space to craft an elaborate, handmade gift for my kids’ teachers this year. And, as adorable and delicious as it may be, I can’t do yet another mason jar full of hot cocoa mix.
Instead, I’ve been shopping for some clever, creative but still practical gifts that will be really useful for our teachers. And of course, don’t forget to include a sweet, personal note from the kids letting your teachers know they’re appreciated.
Because really, that’s what they want the most.
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Related: 6 DIY holiday gifts for teachers from the kids that will get an A+
1. First, we’d suggest, browsing your teacher’s Amazon wish list — so many teachers have one these days — to see what would really be appreciated. Whether multi-packs of pencils or a big new whiteboard easel. Especially considering that teachers spend an average of $500 of their own money on school supplies, and the proposed tax bill in congress would prevent teachers from taking a $250 annual deduction on supplies they buy themselves. Grrr.
2. Chances are pretty good that your child’s teachers like to read. So a gift card to your local bookstore (like the wonderful Politics & Prose in D.C.) or even to Amazon would definitely be put to good use..
3. A one-month subscription to a meal-kit delivery service would be an amazing group gift from the classroom, because it takes the workload of shopping and cooking off a busy teacher’s plate.
4. Hand sanitizer in the classroom can be the difference between staying healthy and getting sick, and our teachers are always asking for it! But this Olika hand sanitizing dispenser we discovered this year is such a cute way to dole it out, it makes it way more gifty than a regular old store-brand pump.
Related: 11 of the best teacher appreciation printables for homemade food gifts
5. Put together a fun night-off basket packed with popcorn, her favorite beverage, and a RedBox movie code (or iTunes gift card) — like this terrific one we spotted at The Crafting Chicks complete with a cute free printable.
6. Have lunch delivered from her favorite restaurant during that last week before the break — or even the first week back in January — when it’s hard to focus on much, let alone lunch-planning. This is one of the favorite gifts for teachers according to teachers themselves when we asked them!
7. With all the messages from parents and students that teachers field each day, grab a phone charger to keep her device powered up. I love this one that doubles as a makeup compact, since trips to the bathroom are few and far between for teachers but really any phone charger would do.
8. Also, check out our list of our top 5 essential portable battery chargers which is great for commuting teachers, tutors, and basically everyone mobile, right?
Related: Free printables and cards for teachers that make for awesome last-minute teacher gifts!
9. Teachers with blank walls will love a gift like this free printable poster for the classroom that you can download at Eighteen25. We’re thinking our ELA teachers will especially appreciate the message!
10. Older school buildings can be dark on wintery afternoons, so a modern desk lamp could be a great idea, especially when accompanied by this sweet “thank you for being a light in the life of a child” printable gift tag at The Crafting Chicks. What a mood-lifter!
11. The grocery is the last place a teacher wants to go after a long day in the classroom, so consider a membership to Instacart Express or Shipt or a popular local grocery-delivery service as an unexpected, practical teacher gift.
12. If teachers are allowed to wear school gear while they work, then a school sweatshirt (for the cold winter months) or a t-shirt from your PTA or school store would be a great way to help show off school spirit! You can even get each of the kids in the class to sign the back with an indelible fabric marker.
Related: 6 brilliantly easy ways to make inexpensive teacher gifts more special
13. We can never have too many Moleskine notebooks, and we imagine lots of our teachers would agree.
14. An essential oils diffuser — along with a good quality citrus or peppermint essential oil (we’re in love with Aura Cacia) — not only makes the classroom smell great, it can help kids focus better in the classroom. What a gift for any teacher!
15.Get the whole class together pitch in on this school supply cake from Bouncing Diaper Cakes on Etsy, especially mid-year as some of those supplies are starting to run low.
16. Teachers tell us they don’t need any more candles, but a nice jar of relaxing bath salts can be a small, thoughtful and yes, practical gift. Because some days as a teacher are loooooong, regardless of when the bell rings.
Related: 7 great ideas for making gift cards more personal teacher gifts
17. We’re obsessed: The Yeti insulated cup keeps that cup of coffee warm all…day…long. (Stuff a Starbucks gift card inside, or one for a local coffee shop for a little extra love.)
18. A Lightbox or felt letter board like this one can a really fun way for her to leave empowering messages for the class. Or you know, homework reminders.
19. Whether your teacher is old school or has a little bit of edge, these literary tote bags are a fun way for a teacher to lug their papers back and forth to school.
20. A great hand lotion like the Bliss High Intensity Hand Cream is a gift anyone can use, especially in winter. And this one is 30% off right now! If you’re shopping for a man, check out the affordable Jack Black Industrial Strength Hand Healer.
Related: 60+ cool gifts under $15 for adults. Because, budgets do exist.
21. While teachers tell us they really don’t need another coffee mug, maybe something to fill it? Like this sampler of gourmet teas in a box that looks so perfectly gifty.
22. If you give nothing else, a sweet handwritten note from your child is always something that will be meaningful and appreciated.
23. Of course, if your school allows, it can’t hurt to add a bottle of wine too. No doubt she can find a good use for that.