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Unique Teacher Gift Idea (+ Be Sure to Watch My Video with 4 Quick & Easy Christmas Crafts!)

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Are you still looking for a fun and affordable gift for a teacher?! Check out this picture and email from Hip2Save reader, Sarah…

I was a teacher for 12 years, but I am now a stay-at-home mom. Financially, things have been tight. You have been such a help to me and have allowed me to contribute to my family’s needs in such a special way! When you made the video with unique gift ideas, I decided to give my son’s teachers the reindeer drinks! I sent a little form to school for each of them and asked what their favorite cold drink and hot drink was. So, for their Christmas present this year they are getting a gift bag with four of their favorite drinks inside — decorated as reindeer! I’m so thrilled because the drinks turned out so cute! Thanks, Collin!


And if you haven’t yet, be sure to watch my holiday video! If you are looking for super easy and frugal holiday gift ideas or if you just need some comic relief, this video is for you! 😉 Enjoy…


(If you can’t see the video, go here.)

Join The Discussion

Comments 61

  1. Denise

    Teacher gifts-r candles a dumb idea? Everything I’ve read, suggests ‘no candles, no mugs.’ My mom’s a teacher and she LOVES anything a child gives her; yes, she does have a ton of mugs, but wondering what others thought….

    • Chris Beach

      I’m not a teacher, but I imagine if the teacher gets 10+ candles for Christmas and maybe 10+ candles for end-of-year gifts, that it may be too many. How about a $5 or $10 gift card to the local teacher supply store.

      • Tia

        I guess it depends on where you teach. My husband is VP at a school in a very urban area (anyone watch The First 48?) and getting a gift is rare. Those teachers appreciate ANYTHING a student gives them. Even if my husband doesn’t need it/like it, he just smiles so much knowing a student and their family thought of him.

        • karol barber

          Tia I totally agree with your post.

      • Sweety

        I agree with the comments above. Wish I had come across such comments last week. I gave my little one’s first teachers candles! Not sure if they will like it. 🙁

    • CW

      i am a teacher and not only do I get a lot of candles and bath stuff, I’m severely allergic/asthmatic to almost all scents. I like the drink idea Collin it is cute!

    • Misty Nicole Overstreet

      My husband teaches and he goes through wipes and hand sanitizer like its the end of times. He also likes to get things he can easily do with the kids when class is over but the period may not be, like the bands to loom bracelets, juggling balls (as he teaches them to juggle), and magic tricks from the dollar tree; the simple things keep the kids amused, even his middle school classes.

  2. Melinda

    I did this with the empty Frappacino bottles and filled them with homemade spiced nuts. Super cute and inexpensive!

  3. Nicole Z.

    Super cute!

  4. Betsy

    I ordered personalized note cards for my kids teachers from Shutterfly. I used the code for free cards, so I just had to pay shipping. It’s practical and inexpensive. We’ve also given gift cards to a local grocery store or gas station in the past.

    • Mary

      I did this at the end of the year as well!

  5. Betsy

    A $5 gift card to the local coffee shop is always appreciated too 🙂

  6. Meg

    Collin, you are too adorable!!

  7. Jennifer

    Thanks for the cute ideas Collin. I laughed so hard! Thanks for that. I have been feeling under the weather today. And needed a good laugh. 🙂

  8. Tia

    My neighbor teaches at a charter school in a well-to-do part of town and her class got her a 40″ flat screen tv last year! Can you imagine?! Lol I love the drinks and would love to receive them!

  9. Brianna

    I don’t have school age kids yet, but is it required to give teacher gifts for Holidays or end of school year? I notice a lot of people do, but what is the significance behind it? Is it because you or your child really liked the teacher? Do you give to every teacher or do you pick and choose? I don’t want to have the only kid in class not giving the teacher a gift, so I was just curious on protocols you use.

    • Ava

      It is not a requirement. You make the call, mama. It is a nice gesture, but I don’t believe teachers expect to receive a gift from every one of his/her students.

    • FuzzyPeach73

      Usually depends on your budget and what-not, some families can afford nice gift for their kids’ teacher as well as for the others (music, P.E., art, etc.), whereas others simply give a cute homemade card from the child. Teachers just appreciate them, but don’t expect them, and I would say most teachers do not judge kids or families any different if they get a gift or not. Most families save gift-giving for teachers until Teacher Appreciation Week (usually in May, I think).

    • JA

      I do it just to show the teachers that I appreciate them spending so much time with my kids. I volunteer in the school, so I know all of my kids’ teachers personally. And my daughter bonds with her teachers like family, so she wants to give them gifts. I also give to the bus driver, because she rocks! I plan on giving her a nice end of the year present next year, because that will be her last time driving one of my kids. 8 years straight!

    • adrienne

      They’re definitely not requirements, but they are always appreciated if you feel that the teacher is doing a good job. I teach middle school and get the occasional thank you gift, while my hubby teaches elementary and gets something from almost every child. It makes sense, since he spends the vast majority of his day with his class, whereas I only see my students for one period a day. Gifts range from homemade to store bought or $5 gift cards to $50+ gift cards. We never have expectations, and we appreciate every gesture since we work hard no matter what!

    • Nikki

      It is definitely up to you. My sister is a kindergarten teacher and I see first hand just how much time, effort, and her personal money she puts into her classroom and her students. I feel she goes far above and beyond the expectations, but I think there are a lot of teachers that do. Having said that, she has received varying gifts at the holidays and end of the year – from gift card trees to handwritten notes. She is typically blown away by the material generosity of some and equally impressed by the thoughtful words of others. So just do what feels good to you. Nothing is expected, but many teachers really pour their lives into working with your children.

    • Kat

      My daughter is a teacher….she loves the gifts her students give her but has said if each child would just give a buck a piece (a parent would have to organize) that would be a 25 or 30 gift card..would relieve the parents haveingto figure out a cheap gift that the child wants to give

  10. Kate Robare

    THAT’S NUTZ Tia!!! My oldest is a Freshman in HS & (don’t tell him I said this) but can’t stand 3 of his teachers but 3 others (esp one) I just LOVE! Can u give gifts to HS teachers at a smaller school (200 kids total) to just the ones u like or shld I just give a lil something to all 6? Thankfuly 2 of my 4 are not little for school (although I think I think I hld get the teacher gift for them lol)

    • Tami

      In highschool, I think it is acceptable to give just to the teachers u feel have gone up and above.

    • Tia

      Totally give to the ones you like. I personally wouldn’t give to junior/high school teachers. It just seems like more of an elementary school thing since they spend more time with one teacher and have better relationships.

  11. Smith

    Sephora $15 off $50 email is expiring tonight. If u are not using yours I would love to have it. Socalsaver85@gmail.com

  12. lovingandlaughing

    When I was a teacher I really appreciated any amount on a gift card. Some parents gave me restaurant gift cards and that was AMAZING! I have given small amounts on gift cards to a local place for a treat that would cover a cup of coffee or tea and a cinnamon bun along with a little something else like a fancy chocolate bar. I agree that the mug and candle gifts are probably given way too often. Who has room for lots of extra mugs? I also had some difficulty with receiving Christmas decorations/ornaments because often my taste and the families taste on decorations was different and I did not want to just hang on to the decorations that I did not care for because realistically space is limited for storage. I did keep some very special holiday decorations form students though and I do love to see those at Christmas.

    • Sandra

      I had to smile when I read your reply about ornaments because I remember last year when this topic came up on Colin’s site, one teacher said one year after she hung all the ornaments kids had given her over the years, she asked her husband what he thought of the tree. He said “Well, honestly, it looks like a teacher’s supply store threw up on it!” I know most teachers appreciate anything they get, but sometimes we forget they might be getting 20 to 30 of the same thing every year 🙂

      • lovingandlaughing

        Love that honesty from the husband! Funny story! Yes, in my opinion there are only so many #1 teacher kind of gifts that one person can have and use or display! Oh I forgot to say, bookstore gifts were always great and useful since there are always books that could be bought for use in the classroom or as a treat the teacher could order a book for his or her enjoyment that is absolutely unrelated to work!

  13. Steph

    I’m an assistant principal and I agree that the teachers get mugs and candles often. Things that are useful usually is anything edible and or a small gift card… Also depending on the area and socioeconomic area gifts are rare.

  14. Ashley

    How cute! To those asking about gifting “rules” I would say if you really have a teacher you don’t like I wouldn’t feel obligated to give them anything (gifts aren’t obligations!) But when I was in middle school (I’ll never forget) I got the two teachers I liked gifts and the one I didn’t mind and the other I couldn’t stand lol I don’t remember what I gave the two I liked, but they were the whole grades fav so they got alot…one was thankful, the other kind of pushed my gift aside for the next one. The teacher I didn’t like I got an ornament for, because I didn’t want to leave him out…he was SO unthankful I thought about taking it back (Lol!!) The teacher I didn’t mind I got him a box of chocolate (I know, but what do you buy a man in his 60’s you hardly know?) And he was pretty disliked by the grade and my chocolate was the only gift he got…I’ve never seen someone so grateful! He thanked me three times for thinking of him AND wrote me a thank you note! We also got along better the rest of the year 🙂 so maybe the grumpy teachers would appreciate a little Christmas cheer! Happy holidays! 🙂

    • Angie

      Great story! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  15. K

    That’s a great idea. I’ve given out gift baskets, but I like giving teachers gift cards to Panera. I think food and drink will be appreciated.

  16. Shannon

    It would be too late to do for this Christmas, but I take up a collection from the whole class for a class gift. I have the teacher fill out a sheet at the beginning of the year with questions about things she likes- restaurants, etc. As soon as December starts I send a note home to parents asking if they would like to pitch in for a gift. All kids names go on the card either way…I go out and buy a gift card for one of the teachers favorite places from the class. Most parents appreciate not having to run out and buy something on their own.

  17. FuzzyPeach73

    Another fun thing would be to get a little something for substitutes, especially if it’s a “long-term sub” (1 week or longer). I was a sub for almost 7 years, and was considered a “regular” in about 3 schools (I knew all staff and most kids by name), and I noticed most subs never got a Christmas gift or Teacher Appreciation gift. I did a long-term stint (about a month) at one of my “regular” schools, and we put together a lovely Christmas gift basket for the teacher. A couple of the kids noticed I didn’t have anything, and made me cards during recess–the sweetest gift I ever got! (I still have their cards) Even something as small as a candy cane and a note would be lovely, since most subs don’t get anything, yet may be working in your child’s school pretty regularly in their class or in different grades. Just a thought…

  18. Terezia C.

    I was going to do candles for my daughter’s pre k teachers, I may have to revise that now. :/ I’m sure they will appreciate anything, but I don’t want to get them something they can’t use.

    • JME

      Whether they get a lot of candles or not. Who can’t use another candle?.? It’s special because it’ll be from your daughter and you thought about them! Don’t second guess yourself. There is no right or wrong gift just the kind thoughtfulness behind the gift!

  19. Shell

    Anyone have a cute saying or ideas for milk chocolate bars?

    • KL

      You deserve chocolate–thanks for all you do! Google it, there is a fun printable you can download and just cut out.

  20. summer

    We did a gift card “tree” for our k/1 teacher….asked parents to send in a gift card to target, Publix, fresh market, restaurant, etc. We are going to hang them on a rosemary tree because she loves herbs

    • lovingandlaughing

      That is an amazing gift! Wow!

  21. Emmi

    Here’s a nice idea since most teachers spend out of pocket on supplies. If you have any pens, pencils, highlighters left over from August you can throw them in a Christmas tumbler (4/$1 at Walgreens) and have each student sign it. I did this in Jr. High and went back to visit and all of the teachers I gave them to still had them on their desk.

  22. adrienne

    I appreciate anything and everything! But my personal favorite teacher gifts to receive are Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, or Target gift cards, even just $5. A little can go a long way in treating myself at those places. Next would be homemade baked goods, which I prefer to store bought treats, although we do tend to get A LOT of sweets over the holidays.

  23. Sheila

    Love all the ideas Collin – thanks so much for sharing!

  24. Heather J

    I love these ideas. In my son’s class this year we are doing a 15 or 20 gift card from each kid on a plant.

    • lovingandlaughing

      That is an awesome gift! The teacher will love it!

  25. Irene

    Another cute idea is to do them for a beer bottle pack..obviously not for teachers but this would make a good gift idea for men who drink or to bring to a party. REINBEERS! Haha

  26. JC

    I bought the William Sonoma molds you suggested (November -ish this year) for $4.99 with free shipping. I made tags to go with them that said “thanks for helping to mold our children” with a local specialty jam store gift card.

  27. horshamd

    Hi Collin! Love your video with the Angry Orchard “adult beverage”! That drink is my new favorite and with the jazzing up the bottle to be all reindeer… Well, what a cute bonus! 🙂 I’m a 3rd grade teacher and love and appreciate all gifts from my students. It’s a joy for them to give and a joy for me to receive… Merry Christmas H2Savers!

  28. trace

    I was going to just do coffee, etc. as gifts for the teacher but recently found out they are desperately out of some school supplies already. So instead I’ll probably still do the coffee but will also concentrate on needed supplies for the classroom.

  29. dawn

    Sorry, but those look so cheezy. I would much rather give/receive a thought out hand written note then some bottle of juice wrapped with pipe cleaners. And I don’t think that a child giving his teacher a bottle of alcohol is sending the right message either.

  30. VictoriaF

    I have a question for teachers. What do you think is better to give to preK teacher, assistant, and bus monitor a $10 Target or $10 Starbucks gift card? I am debating. Thank you in advance.

    • Emily

      $10 Target gift card would be better in my opinion. They could get coffee, supplies, books, or anything they would like.

  31. Rachel

    ThIs is a great post! I just wanted to add though that many teachers will not eat homemade treats, so keep that in mind while thinking of teacher gifts. We’ve heard to many kids comment on their cats climbing on the kitchen cabinets, licking the frosting off cupcakes, plus we have watched the kids pick their noses in the lunch room while eating lunch. Sadly those types of experiences often leave us grateful that Johnny brought cookies he helped mom eat, but the cookies probably will end up going to the homeless man passed on the way home from work.

    • adrienne

      That’s unfortunate! My hubby and I are both teachers and we eat almost everything that’s made for us.

  32. Tracy

    Very Cute Video!!! I love your site Collin!! So many cute ideas!! PS–I didn’t think the alcohol was for the teachers, although they probably desperately need it 😉 Happy Holidays!

  33. Jessica

    I ordered personalized hand sanitizer’s for my little ones daycare providers (he has two that take care of him more than the other rooms and then the owner, each one have the teachers name “ms. Name’s class has clean hands” “ms. Name’s office has clean hands), then I added a $5.00 Target card and a greeting card that my son who is four added some drawings and his name to. I am wondering if that is enough? This is the first year I have had to buy for multiple care providers as my son use to be in a in home daycare so we only had to buy for one person and we can’t afford to spend what we did on one for three different people. I was thinking of doing the starbucks drinks above… I don’t want to seem cheap because these ladies take care of the most important thing to me but as most people I am on a budget. TIA for any advise.

    • me

      I would say $5 along with a thoughtful note on the sanitizer is plenty…I was brainstorming with a few friends of elementary kids and they thought i’ was nuts when i said I was going to get $10 gifts for each teacher in daycare/4k…
      I think even just a $1 bottle of reindeer coffee and a thank you card would be appreciated so you’re doing great.

  34. me

    I ordered one of these for each of the teachers in my kids’ daycare/4k rooms and for the cook. We use a Christian center that has been a huge answer to prayers as far as outside influences on what our kids are exposed to.
    Anyway, I’m going to write a thank you card to each and say how thankful we are that our kids are around other adults who exemplify the fruits of the spirit on a daily basis. http://www.thequietwitness.com/bracelets/4030715-fruits-of-the-spirit-christian-bracelet-religious-cross-bible-scripture/15126/

    • me

      or is this a better end of year gift? yikes, now I’m rethinking…

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