Best Teacher Gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week (Ideas From Actual Educators!)

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Need teacher gift ideas? Here are the best teacher gifts according to teachers. With Teacher Appreciation Week and the end of the year coming up, there’s no better time to show your gratitude!

Teacher Gift Cards and Gift Card Holders

Shop our teacher gift guide! 🎁

With Teacher Appreciation Week coming up from May 6th to May 10th, it’s the perfect time to show your gratitude for our hardworking educators. Shop the best teacher gifts to kick off the end of the year! We know what teachers really want and need, so shop our top teacher gift ideas now! These gift ideas were submitted by actual teachers, so trust us when we say these ideas are all they really want! And with all the hard work they put in, teachers are certainly worthy of receiving a little something special. 🫶🏼

Here are the best teacher gifts gift guide according to actual teachers:

Best teacher gifts for teacher appreciation 2024

  1. Amazon Gift Card
  2. Handwritten Cards
  3. A Hot Lunch
  4. Handmade Snacks
  5. Popcorn Maker Gift Basket (or other gift basket)
  6. Potted Plant
  7. Hand Sanitizer (or other essential classroom donations like books)
  8. Personalized Notepad (or other custom items)
  9. Papermate Flair Pens
  10. Mix-Matched Jar of Writing Tools
  11. Room Freshener
  12. A Letter of Recommendation
  13. A Sentimental “Thank You”
  14. DIY Drink Holder Gift

1. Gift cards are the best gifts for teachers according to teachers.

amazon gift card on table

Teachers deserve to treat themselves to something special whether it’s something they’ll treat themselves to over break or something to brighten a Monday. After hearing from HUNDREDS of teachers, it was clear gift cards were the top most requested gift idea they’ll never tire of receiving. It requires no storage and helps them afford something they want or need.

child holding teacher appreciation day gift card holder cards

Make your gift stand out. Use our FREE printables to make a witty, home-made gift card holder.

Want to go all out for your kiddo’s teacher?

Consider asking the entire class to participate in organizing one large gift card for their teacher. Just a $1-$3 per parent can accumulate into such a substantial gift so teachers can really treat themselves to something special. To get the most bang for your buck, we recommend getting discounted gift cards from reputable retailers like Sam’s Club.

Need more teacher gift ideas? Here are the top requested gift cards to consider:

  • Starbucks
  • Target
  • Gas stations
  • Grocery stores
  • Local small shops
  • Local masseuse, nail salon, or self-care service
  • Or a Visa Gift Card they can spend anywhere

Get the most bang for your buck by scoring a restaurant gift card deal from our big list of current offers!

“We’ve been doing one large gift card to Amazon. It’s so much easier for the teachers to load one card rather than 25 little ones onto their account and it feels like a bigger gift too.” Chelsea, Hip reader

Hip Tip: Teachers…did you receive a gift card you’ll never use? Here’s how to turn gift cards into cash fast so it doesn’t go to waste.

2. A hand-written card they can look back on is one of the best gift ideas for teachers. 

Girl holding up teacher thank you card with her note

Handwritten Cards – Potentially FREE!

We heard from hundreds of teachers across the country and of all the things they’ve kept over the years, the handwritten cards of appreciation (from students or parents) are the ones they have always held onto above everything else.

As some teachers mentioned… “There are only so many trinkets you can hold onto”.

On rough days, it’ll be the perfect sentiment for them to look back on when they need some words of encouragement. We know now more than ever teachers could use them. ❤️ If you’re looking for the best teacher gifts that will have the most meaning, a card is all you need! It’s truly one of the best teacher gift ideas.

Here’s how to snag a FREE Hallmark Card or mail one for FREE with Hallmarks Sign and Send!

front and inside of a Hallmark Teacher Card

Here’s what some of our Hip Teachers said: 

“Teacher here…. Have your kid write a nice card. I have saved every single one I’ve ever received from a student. I call it my ‘happy file’ and look through it on bad days.” – Emily, Hip2Save reader and teacher

“I second hand made cards from the kids. I’ve saved every one since I started teaching back in 1995! If you also want to give a gift, Amazon or Target gift cards are always appreciated.” – Susan, Hip2Save reader and teacher

“Gift cards are always nice, but a handmade card from your student will always take the cake! I have every card/note/picture my students have given me in a box in my classroom…they’re nice reminders on tough school days.” – Bailee, Hip2Save reader and teacher

“For those with tiny or no budgets for teacher gifts, I can honestly tell you, a sincere note of appreciation, especially if you can be specific about something the teacher did, is way more meaningful than any gift.” – Anne, Hip2Save reader and teacher

3. A hot meal since they never get to eat lunch out. 

two hands holding onto chick fil a bag in doorway

Teachers take their lunch to school nearly every single day of the year with zero days to treat themselves to lunch at their favorite spot. One of the most requested teacher gifts (by teachers themselves) was simply a fresh hot meal!

Whether it’s a gift card to a meal delivery service or you’re having it delivered right to their classroom, this is one teacher appreciation gift idea that will surely be appreciated by anyone. Just be sure to find out what their favorite food is and whether they have any dietary restrictions so your generous gift won’t go to waste!

This suggestion by a Hip teacher got the nod of approval from other educators:

“There is a healthy meal prep lady where we live. I gave the teachers a choice of which meal they wanted for their family, and it was delivered to school. They had to only take it home and pop it in the oven. They LOVED it.” – Stacy, Hip2Saver reader and teacher

4. Treat your favorite teacher to some homemade snacks. microwave fudge

When it comes to teacher gift ideas, many of Hip’s teachers said they loved getting snacks. A homemade dessert is gift that shows thought, time, and effort. Plus, it’s a present that doesn’t require a lot of space or long-term storage.

Treat your favorite teacher to one of these yummy recipes:

You may want to check with the teacher beforehand to find out any dietary restrictions or allergies.

plate of oreo cookie balls

 “I have a student right now and he dips Oreos in chocolate and puts sprinkles on them and brings them to me for every holiday! So good and it’s a snack to keep me going through the day at school!” – Ashly, Hip2Save reader and teacher

5. A gift basket filled with goodies is one of the most requested teacher gift ideas.

gift ideas for teachers - hotpop teacher appreciation gifts idea filled with soda and popcorn

Hotpop Popcorn Maker – $11.99 (regularly $17.99) 

Help your favorite teacher unwind during their time off during the holidays. While popcorn wasn’t a specific item that teachers requested, many of them commented about how much they loved thoughtful gift baskets with treats and foods they’ll really enjoy.

Even better, to create our popcorn gift basket idea, all you need is our favorite collapsible silicone popcorn maker, some kernels, a drink, and a little note to tie your vision together (use our FREE “Thanks for a Poppin’ School Year” printable)! You can also add in some fun popcorn seasonings too! 🤩

These baskets make the best teacher gifts and it’s a gift that will keep giving for years to come! 🙌🏻

unique campfire smores four ways

Other gift basket ideas include self-care baskets and s’mores-making kits. You can also make a summer beach-themed basket and/or use our FREE “Box of Sunshine” printable or make a nacho-making kit (thanks, Christie! 🥰) and use our free Nacho Average Teacher printable!

Check out these Hip Reader gift-basket suggestions:

“Include stuff for s’mores, telescoping roasting forks, fire flame colors, s’mores themed towel, etc. with a card that reads ‘We wish you s’more fun during the holidays! See you next year!” – Sarah, Hip2Save reader

Beach bag with beach towel, tumbler, magazine/word search, chapstick, sunscreen, GC to Ice cream place/Starbucks, sunglasses, possibly even a White Claw or something of the like.” – Amanda, Hip2Save reader

“A little bundle of summer themed paper plates and napkins with a note saying something like- “you’ve worked so hard for our kids this school year, hope you can take one day off from washing dishes this summer.” – Corinna, Hip2Save reader

“Teachers need to be pampered. They are stressed out all year round, literally.The best you can give them is something related to massage therapy, yoga class, pottery class, any activity in which the body and the mind are being soothe.” – Gil, Hip2Save reader

6. Fun gift ideas for teachers include beautiful plants they can keep in their classroom or take home.

pink planter with pothos plant and teacher gifts note in soil

Our amazing teachers help our children grow every day and showing your appreciation of their growth in the literal form will be a constant reminder of you and your kiddo’s gratitude. With potted plants on Amazon starting under $13.78 shipped and our free “Thanks for Helping Me Grow” printable, these make some of the best teacher gifts.

Plus, this is a gift idea that’s affordable and if the teacher doesn’t have room to store it at home, they can always keep it in the classroom or gift it to the school. Teachers have enough to handle, so we recommend looking for very low-maintenance plants like succulents, aloe, and snake plants. 😍

Or, try these other plant gift ideas from readers and teachers:

“ know no plants, but hear me out on this one- last year I upcycled candle jars from Bath & Body Works (short and wide jars), and grew herbs in them. Each teacher got basil, parsley, and another herb. They loved them for use at home, and when they’re done, they’re done- no guilt in getting rid of them!” – Megan, Hip2Save reader and teacher

“One year I got my kiddo’s teachers tomato plants. They loved them and it wasn’t a momento they had to hang onto. They thought it was the perfect teacher’s gift because summer was here so they could grow and produce tomatoes.” – Tiff, Hip2Save reader

Want to make your own planter?

hand holding edge of ruler planter holding succulents, one of the best teacher gift ideas

To go the extra mile, Lina created this cute and easy ruler planter. It’s one of our favorite gift ideas for teachers! It’s minimal enough to go with any teacher’s classroom theme and will look perfect on their desk. 🤩 Alternatively, Hip reader, Renee, suggests making or buying a planter with the teacher’s name on it. ❤️

7. Classroom donations such as hand sanitizer, soaps, books, or essential school supplies are always good gifts for teachers too.

up and up hand sanitizer bottle on desk, one of the best teacher gift ideas

One of the best gift ideas for teachers is a classroom donation. A LOT of teachers reported shelling out big bucks to stock their own classrooms with supplies. Help your favorite teacher save money by buying hand sanitizer, hand soaps, tissues, books, or other essential classroom items.

As a rule of thumb, it’s always best to check with your teacher directly if you’re unsure what they’re in need of most. These gifts are the best gifts for teachers and they will hopefully get them through the remainder of the year too!

children's books, one of the best teacher gift ideas

Be sure to bookmark all our book deals to shop the latest ones now!

“If someone wants to get me a gift I suggest a book for our classroom library. It saves me money and is a gift that lasts from year to year…I spend thousands of dollars of my salary buying classroom supplies each year. Something that helps me with that means more than anything.” – Lisa, Hip2Save reader and teacher 

“I have taught various levels from high school to adult education for 15 years and just a card or a classroom donation means the world.” – Meg, Hip2Save reader and teacher

“Best gift would be a Dollar Tree gift card. I can use it for school decor, treasure box toys, supplies, etc.” – Mamamia, Hip2Save reader and teacher

8. Personalized items for the classroom can make thoughtful and cool teacher gifts.

Personalized Teacher Stationery from Etsy shop BeenThereTaughtThat, one of the best teacher gift ideas

For a thoughtful teacher present, go the extra mile with a useful, personalized gift for the classroom. There are several unique items for teachers on Etsy including classroom signs, desk name plates (so cute!), personalized stamps, and personalized notepads! 🍎 You can also do a DIY project and try to recreate these items yourself!

Gather teacher gift ideas by taking a look around the classroom to see what your favorite teacher might already own. Teachers can accumulate a lot of gifts over the years, and even if they want to, it can be difficult for them to hold on to everything, especially if they have duplicates. So, use your best judgment when it comes to choosing these types of gifts.

When in doubt, the notepad above was created by a teacher for teachers and it’s useful, portable, and does not require long-term storage!

Personalized white board erasers with markers make cute teacher appreciation gifts

Personalized Whiteboard Eraser Teacher Gift – $11.65 (regularly $12.95)

Many Hip readers make custom gifts for teachers!

Kelly, one of our Hip readers, makes these adorable custom whiteboard eraser gifts that sell well every year. We think these highly-rated personalized erasers would look super cute and cheerful in the classroom!

If you’re a Hip reader who makes affordable custom items for teachers, feel free to leave your store link in the comments below!

9. Flair pens, and Flair pens only.

hand holding a light purple flair pen over pile of papermate pens and card

If you’re unsure what a teacher’s love language is, it’s Flair pens (and Flair pens only). 😂 According to numerous teachers across the country, gift a pack of Paper Mate Flair pens and they’ll be thrilled with this top-requested school supply. If you know, you know. 😉 Simply throw them in a pretty gift bag from Dollar Tree and have your child write a sentimental card to accompany them.

Shop all packs of Flair pens on Amazon.

hand holding a teacher appreciation card printable over table with flair pens

Giving an end-of-the-year gift? Attach our FREE “It’s Time To Say Flair-Well” card.

10. A jar of mixed-matched pens was the most memorable gift a Special Education teacher ever received… because there’s no such thing as perfect.

hand holding a clear jar of pastel pencils

Mix-Matched Pencils – Potentially FREE!

Well, if this teacher gift doesn’t bring you to tears, I’m not sure what will. 😭 Some special education teachers mentioned they tend to be overlooked so let us not forget to remind them just how special they are too! If you want to stock up your jar with the highest-rated crayons and pencils, I tested them all so you know just what to buy!

Even better, this thoughtful teacher gift could potentially be free if you already have a bunch of new pens and pencils lying around. That makes it one of the most meaningful and best teacher gift ideas in our book!

“I was a Special Ed teacher and the best teacher appreciation gift I ever received was a box of mismatched pens and pencils.” – Lynette, Hip2Save reader and teacher

11. Air fresheners to keep their classroom and home smelling fresh.

hand holding bottle of Mrs. Meyer's Room Freshener Basil 8 oz with other mrs. meyers

Mrs. Meyer’s Room Freshener – $4.99 (regularly $6.09+)
Clip the Amazon Coupon to save an extra 20%
Final cost just $3.99!

There’s no denying when kiddos get to a certain age maintaining a fresh classroom can be a job in itself. 😬 While some may find air freshener to be an unusual gift idea, it’s a pretty practical one. Plus, it’s something teachers are sure to appreciate! 😉 Just be sure to check with the school policies to be sure this product is allowed in the classrooms.

While there’s an endless amount of options to choose from and so many possibilities for gifting, sticking to a safe and chemical-free product is what I’d recommend gifting to appeal to all teachers. An air freshener is perfect as a beginning-of-the-school-year gift and we even made you an adorable printable card to attach, too! It also works well for teachers who plan to teach summer school!

Consider creating a gift box using all Mrs. Meyer’s products and score over $50 in freebies from Grove Collaborative when you place your first order!

12. Surprise your favorite teacher with a letter of recommendation, one of the more unusual teacher gift ideas.

A student applying for scholarships for high school students

A letter of recommendation is one of the teacher gifts that truly shows teacher appreciation! We got this clever idea from Hip2Save reader, HIdee, who suggested writing a letter of recommendation that a teacher can keep in their portfolio. Your personal endorsement may come in handy for years to come!

13. A sentimental “Thank You” are small gifts for teachers with the biggest impact. 

VIPKid Teachers

A sentimental “Thank You” – FREE

While I know I said I listed these teacher gifts in order of most requested, this one actually trumps them all. After reading through hundreds of sweet teacher sentiments, it was very clear what teachers really want is to feel valued and appreciated. 🥺

So this is a reminder to think of the teachers and teacher aids that your kiddo may only see once a week. If you can’t afford a gift at all…just say a special thanks before the holiday break. A sincere expression of gratitude is one of the best teacher gifts and one that will leave them with words that will resonate forever. ❤️

“Please remember the ‘specials’ teachers. A little thank you would be great – we may only see your child once a week but it’s nice to be remembered.” – Erin, Hip2Save reader and teacher

“Any sign of appreciation is loved and gives us joy. Yard flowers in a pickle jar! A middle School Math Teacher. ❤️ – Julia, Hip2Save reader and teacher

14. Still can’t decide? Try this DIY drink holder gift that has a combination of gift ideas…

woman holding a last minute teacher appreciation gift in a drink holder

Give your favorite teacher a gift made by you! Follow our DIY tutorial to create this cute teacher appreciation gift that includes a gift card, candle, plant, coffee, and drink holder!

Thank you, teachers! We appreciate you and all you do! ❤️

Browse all of our FREE Teacher printables that can be used year-round!

About the writer:

Sara is a self-taught blogger & photographer and brings 9+ years of experience to her craft. Her work has been featured in numerous esteemed publications, spanning building, travel, and fashion. Beyond her creative pursuits, Sara’s primary mission is to empower others to embrace a toxic-free & sustainable lifestyle.

Join The Discussion

Comments 15

  1. Darla

    Librarians! I never see librarians listed! Please don’t leave out your child’s librarian.

  2. Amy

    I think the “Teacher Favorites” lists are the golden ticket. Knowing a teacher’s favorite place to shop, their favorite drink/snack etc helps them feel known and appreciated all throughout the year. Definitely a quality over quantity situation. I very much appreciated a surprise latte on a random Monday:)

  3. Cj

    Five years from now most teachers and staff won’t remember if you gave them any gifts throughout the year, but they will remember if you were kind and appreciative. As a former teacher and para, express your gratitude rather than spend money.

  4. Cher

    Every year a parent in the classroom asks for monetary donations to go towards a teacher gift fund. I love this idea! It’s so much easier for me to contribute once to the fund and know the teacher will receive a group gift for the holidays and end of the year.

  5. Kristen

    Our school does a Google doc with all of the schools teacher info (elem-high school). Things such as favorite drinks, pop, candy, food, ect. That way if you want to ever get them anything, even small. You don’t have to guess. In their individual classes the teachers will usually tell us what they’re shot on and parents can sign up & donate items during the year. I tend to do those things, instead of something they might not want later. For bus drivers I just give him chocolate or candy with a note saying thank you for driving us safely.

  6. Christine Madrigal

    Don’t forget about the school nurse!!

  7. tia in boise

    Teacher for 30 years here. PLEASE send in those handmade cards! I have a large manila envelope full of all of the heartfelt cards I’ve received over the years–they are dear to my heart. I wouldn’t think for one second, “Where’s the gift card that should go with this?” Truly, most teachers would just love to be recognized, appreciated, thanked for their hard work.

    I think when these lists are put out, it’s because parents are asking and the school office or PTO…are wanting to be helpful.

  8. 5pink1blue

    You could get $ 1 scratch off lottery tickets and put into a card saying how lucky I am to have you as my teacher. Or you could make a bunch of muffins and package nicely with a little note. Or buy a bag of individual potato chips and give them out with a note you are all that and a bag of chips. Things purchased in bulk will keep the cost down.

  9. Amy

    A few times a school year I take bake and take about 100 (it’s a small school) chocolate chip cookies up to the front office for everyone with a cute note attached telling them all how appreciated they are. They all seem to really appreciate the thought and sentiment.

  10. Nkiser

    I bring my girl’s kinder teacher a coffee once a month. They got $15 gc for dutch bros coffee for treat during break and I’ll do the samr for Christmas.

    • Jessica (Hip Sidekick)

      That’s super thoughtful of you to treat your daughter’s teacher each month, Nkiser! I’m sure it’s much appreciated! ☕️❤️ Thanks for sharing what you’ll be gifting! 🎄

  11. Ashley

    I work in a preschool. Please stay away from anything scented unless you know your teacher likes a certain one. All the candles, lotions, etc. are a nice gesture but a lot of folks can’t take scents. We always use soaps, hand sanitizer, tissues, expo markers and sharpies and most of that comes out of our pockets. Also books for the classroom with your child’s name put on the inside is always a welcomed gift. I appreciate even just a $5 gift card. That’s enough to get a coffee or breakfast on the way to work or to grab lunch.

  12. Bmiles

    As a teacher myself, I happily accept any gift I am given whether it’s something I want or not. I am just grateful for the gesture. I don’t drink coffee, but if I receive it, I express my gratitude and then I give it to someone who I know drinks coffee. Apply that logic to scented candles and lotions. Easy!

  13. Sara

    Life is expensive for families, for mine, too. I always appreciate hand written notes or the pictures my students draw. It’s just nice to be appreciated and remembered.

  14. mommax4

    I always try to donate throughout the school year because I was a hands on volunteer for many years and know alot comes out of the teachers pockets. wish more teachers would post what they like such as candy coffee treats but many don’t. if they have a family I try to do a gift card for a night out to the movies or a restaurant I know life is busy and atleast make one meal easy or have a little family outing.

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