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Frugal Valentine's Day Gift Idea for Teachers…

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(Thanks to Disney Family Fun for the photo above!)

If you are looking for an inexpensive yet thoughtful Valentine’s Day gift for a teacher, check out this email that I received from reader, Lynne…

I used to teach before I stayed at home with my children. I would have LOVED to get this hand lotion card idea for Valentines from my students instead of chocolate or candy. Plus, there are always great deals on hand lotion. You could even get it FREE after RR at Walgreens this week. You might even have some in your stock pile. This FREE valentines day gift would be sure to warm any teacher’s heart.

For directions on how to create this gift, head over to Disney Family Fun. In addition to hand lotion, consider purchasing the Veripur hand sanitizer 3 oz from Walgreens this week for $3.99… you’ll snag a $3.99 Register Reward making this free!

Need more Valentine’s Day gift ideas?! Check out these posts here and here!

Join The Discussion

Comments 72

  1. Alea

    Super cute idea!! 🙂

  2. Cathy

    Or, how about using a bunch of the little samples that we all get free in the mail! Sometimes it’s fun to try something new without having to commit to a big bottle!

  3. blfrana

    Such a cute idea!! But I have to admit…I am envious of the person who thought of it!

  4. Ann

    I just got back from Wags with the Veripur thinking I would give it to teachers for Valentines. Now I know exactly how to do it – very cute! Thanks Collin.

  5. Lisa

    This is a really cute idea! Snagged it for my kids and their teachers. Thank you!

  6. amy

    I am going to use this with a bottle of this months free hand lotion from bath and body works!! Great Idea!!

  7. Maureen

    Awesome idea! Thanks!

  8. Dawn

    As a former 1st grade teacher (and one year 5th grade) I have to say that I received lotion OVERLOAD as gifts from holidays, etc. and actually gave MOST of them away (especially the smelly ones I didn’t like from Bath and Body Works or generics from other stores, etc.) because I had too many I would never use. Just a thought……….I always look for something inexpensive that a teacher would actually USE, like a Great Harvest Bread w/Jam, or I earlier mentioned the bunch of bananas in another post a few days ago. Of course, obviously many teachers would like smelly lotions, too, so maybe it’s just me 🙂

    • Jennifer

      I was wondering about how teachers felt about bath and body gifts. I was still going to go with chocolates–who can ever have too much chocolate–lol. Still a cute idea!!

    • michelle

      I used to be a teacher too. I got SOOOO many lotions and bath gels and stuff. It is the thought that counts. I know how much work goes into educating kids so when my kids are old enough for school I plan to just bite the bullet and ask the teacher at the beginning of the year what stuff she/he likes and go from there to spoil them. I have no problems buying gift cards and stuff for the people who spend their lives investing them in my kids! No one cares if what you give them is free or cheap as long as it is something they will use! (personally I dont like chocolate so my husband made out like a bandit when I taught on vday!)

    • meganph

      what was the banana one again?

      • christina s

        handing out bananas to the kids/teachers and the tags said “i go bananas over you valentine”

        • Dawn

          Or, “I love you ‘bunches'” or “I’m ‘bananas’ over you” or something similar

          • L. W.

            FYI, my daughter did the banana bunch idea with a hand-made card. It was so cute. Well, her kindergarten teacher rejected it and said she didn’t like bananas, and promptly put them into my daughter’s backpack. I could not believe it.

            • paulemay

              Wow, that’s awful. She should have accepted them regardless and if she wanted to toss them or give them away later well then so be it, but don’t hurt a child’s feelings like that!!!!!!!!! I would have been offended.

    • Bee

      I can see where more than a couple of bottles would really be too much. Plus, it seems that the teachers of younger classes always get more stuff because the kids are still gung-ho about giving gifts and many of the parents are not jaded to the educational process, etc.

      We give small gifts at Christmas and if there is a specific teacher appreciation week I send a small donation or what is asked for the event. Otherwise, we are just extremely limited financially on what we can do. I tend to give gift cards because I don’t want to have to interview each teacher (with three kids and multiple teachers per kid) as to his/her specific tastes. As the kids get older, it really is the kid who has a relationship with the teacher, so with the ones in middle school I tend to ask them about gift choices and whether they want to give a certain teacher a gift.

      I also make sure I come in if a teacher sends notes about needing volunteers for specific events, etc. I feel that each parent who volunteers usually relieves some of the teacher’s burden (especially in the younger grades). Other times I will fulfill an item on a teacher’s classroom wish list such as a specific book, etc.

      A lot of work really does go into teaching that I am sure is not compensated, just as a lot of work goes into many jobs that is neither appreciated nor compensated. I really wish teachers could receive higher pay (here at least, it’s nothing to brag about). I would gladly pay higher property tax if I could be assured the money would go straight to teacher salaries. That way we could retain the really good teachers. Problem is, there are so many people living here who do not have an immediate interest in the school system (baby boomers and retired) that they will never vote in adequate salaries.

      I am sure that many teachers would forgo all the kitschy gifts if they were assured competitive pay and adequate funds for books, etc.

      • Dawn

        Oh, and yes, of course!!! It’s totally the THOUGHT that counts, and I NEVER expected ANYTHING from any of my students! I always loved doing things for them! 😉

  9. :)Jennifer(:

    I got 4 free Nivea lip care products from CVS this week, can anyone think of a creative way to give this as a valentines gift? Two big lips surrounding the lip balm instead of hands, ha ha??

    • Anonymous

      lol that’s cute

    • Rebecca

      Your smile brightens our day?

      • Melindatx3

        Love this idea. I got the Nivea too and its my favorite lip gloss. I think I will do something like this for my girls teachers.

    • Penny

      I gave the Nivea cherry lip balm to both of my son’s teachers.

  10. Barb

    I made these one year for my kids teachers, I did notice the one sat on her desk the rest of the year, don’t know if she didn’t like it or because she thought it was clever.

    This year we are doing toothbrushes with a note attatched that says “You make me smile”

    • Rebecca

      As I teacher I did use the lotions like Aquafor and Neutrogena and that type that were specific to dry hands. The smelly ones can aggrivate cracked hands. I know handling papers and washing my hands a lot they were very dry. So maybe a small bottle of a non scented but soothing lotion?

    • Takako

      I like the toothbrush idea. I have FREE several coupons of Reach toothbrush so I may to do that.

  11. christina s

    My sister is a teacher and she passes on lots of “smell goods” to the family.

    How about sticking some of those free Staples sticky notes from last week and a few pens/pencils in the hands. All teachers can use those supplies! 🙂

    • Corrine

      That’s what I did! Tied up some packages of post it’s and had my boys make a little tag. So cute and I hope they could use them!

  12. Crystal

    I would love to give the Venipur hand sanitizer but my local Wags has had none since Monday. Evidently there has been a huge surge of coupon people in the past month and they are doing some major shelf clearing. My fav Wags manager was telling me that they were rude and not anyone they had seen before. I have been noticing the deals are gone quicker and people are stealing the peelies off products and tearpads. Newbies are going overboard and they are ruining the deals for everyone. Sad.

    • Kate

      Does anyone know if the veripur deal is rolling by chance?

    • anonymous

      That’s not as bad as the lady I met at Walgreens this week. She was buying several of the hand sanitizers and I said something about register rewards and she told me about how she lives in a different town and buys stuff and then sells it to her friends and people from her town. She said she bought 94 things of icecream last week from riteaid. I asked her how she found 94 and she told me she went to all of the riteaids we have (3) and bought it. Somebody bought all of the toilet paper a few weeks before and I wondered after talking to her if it was her also. It makes me mad when people do this. I wish they would just buy what they need so that we can all get some.

      • Bee

        How entrepreneurial of her. Apparently she is selling to them at a competitive price or they wouldn’t remain her customers.

        Only solution I can think of is to beat this woman to the store and buy up all the stock yourself, therefore making her return to her little town without the goods. Okay, that’s a little devious, but it’s likely to happen to her sooner or later.

        I have had people offer to pay me for stuff I got for free but I thought that was just weird. I just give it to them if I have the time to pick it up and it really didn’t cost me any money.

  13. lucy

    Just ask my niece who is also a teacher. She said that the hands idea was good (creative and sweet) but the lotion is kinda one of them things you just dont use or gets tossed. She said for christmas alot of her students give her $ 5.00 starbucks and walmart gift cards and that was something that she really liked and used. Just saying…..

  14. Kate

    What about the airheads at Target – what can I put on the airheads as a “wrapping”/gift for m sons preschool teachers? They have cute valetine theme boxes forr $1.06 (and in Iowa the ones at the register are .94 which is still a great deal with the .50 off I think… any ideas my creative friends??

  15. jennifer

    I found some really cute picture holders at Kirlands on sale for $3.99. They have a cute pink heart base and a silver picture holder at the top. I’m going to have my kids make a sign that says “Thank you” and I’m going to take their picture holding the sign to put in the picture holder. I also made some of those flower pens to go with it!

  16. Christy M

    As a current kindergarten teacher, I am with the previous posts on the overload of lotions (and candles!) that we get. I give the ones that I don’t like away. (I hate to admit it, but I know several teachers who just throw things away that they can’t use).

    If someone is going to give me something that is free, I would prefer a sweet little note from the child about how they like me and school. I got the sweetest little card the other day and it touched my heart! On the other hand, if you feel like giving your teacher something, I would suggest a gift card. Even a $5 gift card to Starbucks will be well received!

    • michelle

      AMEN! (c:

    • Bee

      LOL All the teachers should get together and have a lotion/candle/bath product yard sale each year.

      • Christy M

        Too funny!

  17. sarah

    I am a teacher and I LOVE getting lotion… our school is so dry and washing my hands over and over…yes I pass some on for my daughter or keep extra in car but STILL loved it!

  18. Takako

    I really love the cute idea of banana! I already got cards for my daughter’s classmates so I guess need hit a store for bunch of bananas. 🙂

  19. Janice

    Thank you thank you thank you!!! My daughter JUST started preschool 2x a week and I didn’t know what to get her teacher and her assistant since she JUST started! This is perfect!

  20. Lacy

    My mother in law is an elementary teacher. She gets a ton of lotions and body gels at Christmas, as well as candy. She lets us go through “the box” she brings home because there is no way she can use it all. She still appreciates the thoughtfullness of the gift. My husband is a teacher but he teaches high school…so there are never any gifts for any holidays. When he taught middle school he’d occasionally get a $5 gift card to subway which made his day.

    • Leslie

      So sad that there are no gifts for high school teachers. I will have to keep that in mind when my 7 year old gets into high school

  21. Anonymous

    I am an elementary teacher who appreciates each and every token of appreciation I receive from my students! However, I would agree that I receive more lotion than I really know what to do with. I don’t know if all schools do this, but our office manager has each teacher fill out a “my favorites” list at the beginning of the school year. We write down our favorite snack, drink, hobby, etc. I think this info. must be passed to parents if they ask, because many times during teacher appreciation week our favorite items show up. The teachers also use these lists when we do Secret Santa, etc.–I would guess most schools have a list of teacher favorites if you really want to give a favorite item.

    • Kate

      When is teacher appreciation week?

      • ALS

        normally it is the first full week in May

    • Tracy

      If teachers get so many lotions and candles why don’t you suggest leaving some in the teachers lounge. If you are just gone to throw them away or never use them pass on the love to another teachers.

      • Anon

        They should put them in the high school teachers’ lounge since they don’t usually get gifts from students.

  22. Marcee

    My boys and I got their teachers (2nd, 4th and 5th grades) the labels free from vistaprint at Christmas time. I got SO many thank yous from them that I will do it every year. We had the label’s say “Property of Mr. or Mrs. _______ Classroom” and they have school backgrounds like pencils or crayons. My kids had fun picking them out and the teachers LOVED them. I wish I could think of something like that for Valentines day. I do, however, love the bananas idea. 🙂

  23. brittney mathew

    I use to be a teacher before I started staying home. Nad I send this and thought how cute. I always enjoyed getting stuff. It makes you know your doing your job.

  24. Penny

    I gave a pack of colored Sharpies to my son’s teacher. It was from the RA deal in January, so they were basically free and who doesn’t love a nice set of Sharpie markers?!?!? 🙂

  25. DML

    I appreciate everything my sweet first graders give me. I received the cut out hands holding lotion two years ago. It is an adorable idea, and the gift is still in my desk drawer, but like someone else said, I get so many little lotions, I really can’t use them all. My daughter’s kindergarten teacher is getting a vistaprint set of personalized pen, notepad, and notecards with envelopes. All I had to pay is shipping, and I know those are things she would use. (I always need paper to jot things down on and thank you cards for gifts.)

  26. LeAnne

    My daughter has given this gift to both preschool teachers & her kindergarten teacher. It was a huge hit! Great way to use up those free lotions & hand sanitizers!

  27. Alli H

    For my daughter’s K teacher, I went to Kohl’s and got the “Kohl’s cares” $5 book of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and the matching stuffed animal that goes with it. I figured it is win win. The teacher gets a new book/stuffed animal for her classroom collection and the proceeds go to a good cause. So only $10 total. Not bad for all she does for my daughter all year. 😉

    • Christy M

      As a Kindergarten teacher, smart idea! I love new books for our classroom!

  28. Tracy

    I don’t have a child in school or am I a school teacher but why don’t you make a candy bouquet. Use up some of that free candy and it would be a great way for the teacher to share it with her family. They are very simple to make and we always get tons candy for free. I am gone to do small candy bouquet to for my lil kids (i’m a nanny to 2 two year old lil boys) to give to mommy and daddy.

  29. Raven

    We send our teachers glass candy container’s, with her name in vinyl lettering at the start of school. Each season or holiday, we send her candy to fill her container. Most teachers, love their candy container & the students, too!

  30. Jenni

    I think it would be great to organize a class gift and lotions would work perfect as donations to a local homeless or women’s shelter. Any tolietry items would be great and we all get alot of free lotion and shampoo, etc free with our couponing. Even if it wasnt organized a big colorful decorated valentines box full of all these items would be truly from the heart!

  31. Jen

    I should have read all these comments before I traced my kids hands and helped them cut them out for their teachers! Darn it, they are already excited! Oh well, I guess their teachers will be getting another lotion! Maybe I’ll pick up some gift cards too. Ha ha!

    • lucy

      Jen, I posted earlier what my niece (teacher) said. But that is not how I feel. I think its a great idea. I think the gift comes from the heart. If they dont use it then they can pass it on or donate it. I think it nice that the kids are excited and I think there teacher should like it very much. Besides its so so so much better than candy. Hats off if you let them trace there sweet hands and I hope there teacher enjoys her gift.

  32. chrissygwhite

    Does anyone know which lotion = free with rr’s right now at Walgreens? I’m out of the loop…

  33. Tracey

    Treasure boxes of classroom supplies (stickers, stamps, pens, pencils, etc) have always been well receive by my kiddos teachers. All the goodies the teachers hand out as incentives to the kids really add up fast. Plus the box is reusable as a treasure chest.

  34. Maman A Droit

    Along the lines of a similar Christmas post, I’m wondering if this is really expected/standard practice? I mean, seriously, teacher gifts for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Teacher Appreciation Week(noticed it in other comments), end of the year, beginning of the year, Halloween…where’s the line of what’s expected of a polite parent & what’s just overkill? Normally I don’t do anything for Valentine’s Day other than for my husband!
    Anyway, my kid isn’t school-age yet so I figure now’s a good time to find these things out!

    • Anon

      good question. When I was a kid, we just gave our teachers a valentine very similar to the other kids (it was usually the bigger valentine included in our box).

      I can’t imagine teachers expecting gifts for every holiday. At our kids’ school, they usually don’t exchange valentines because the teachers prefer to have the time teaching. They put a lot of emphasis on education and patriotism (they still say the pledge of allegiance and have other patriotic ceremonies). However, they are giving them 15 minutes at the end of the day this year to exchange valentines. I imagine they won’t have time for cupcakes and other treats.

  35. chrissygwhite

    omg please disregard my question. I see the lotion in the post.

  36. katie

    I want to give some of my free deodorant to some of my high school students. What would be a cute, funny tag I could put on it. Some of my students are quite poor so I know they could use it but I don’t want them to feel like I think they smell or something 🙂

  37. Stephanie

    My daughter loves her teacher and loves finding things out about her. We know her favorite candy, snack, and soda. For Christmas, we made her a movie night box with the Groupon Netflix codes and all her favs for a date night. She also just got engaged. (He proposed in front of her class.) so, I’ve also given her gift cards to the craft stores and such.

  38. Lpmousse

    So today I got the sweetest gift from one of my students. I’m a private music lesson teacher, so I often don’t get gifts for the off the beaten track holidays and don’t always get gifts at Christmas from my kids. I’m fine with this- I spend 1/2 an hour each week with the kids, but I feel that I make a big difference in their lives. Trust me- I do enjoy the gift cards and good quality chocolates that my kids do give to me and write thank you notes for every gift I get.

    Now back to the present. It was so sweet when my student came up to the school holding a red heart plastic container with 6 chocolate covered Oreos and 4 Hershey’s hearts in it. I love chocolate, and it was such a sweet gift. Thanks Sam and Sam’s mom! You made a big difference in my life today.

  39. Sandra

    You can always use hand sanitizer.

  40. Jennifer

    Thank you for this idea. My daughter and I made three. One for her Kindergarten teacher and two for my Valentine’s Day party sitters.

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