Insider Tips: The Holiday Gifts Teachers Really Want!

As an Amazon Associate, Hip2Save earns a small commission from qualifying purchases in this post. Read our full disclosure policy here.

Give the best teacher gifts according to teachers.

glass snow globe jars on counter with gift cards inside

Shop our teacher gift guide! 🎁

Shop the best teacher gifts to kick off their holiday break! We know what teachers really want and need so shop our top 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.

Be sure to check out our Christmas Shopping Challenge – it has a gift guide for everyone on your list this year! 🎁🤩

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

gifts for teachers gift guide collage with various stock photos

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

Starbucks Gift Card

Starbucks Gift Card – 10 x $5$48.98 ($4.90 each) 

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.

Check out our easy DIY snow globe gift card holders to gift the most special gift card ever!

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

christmas themed glue

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. We recommend getting discounted gift cards from reputable retailers like Sam’s Club.

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

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. 

woman sitting at coffee table holding phone writing 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!

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

hand holding white envelopes with christmas bow in front of door

Here’s what some of our Hip Teachers said:

“Special Education teacher here. I love to get a homemade card! Even a little flower they picked from the garden. We are often forgotten. A hug and a smile are always welcomed too!” – Roxanne, Hip2Save reader and teacher

“A thank you card! I love getting notes of affirmation from students and parents that are heartfelt. I don’t need things, just really hope for respect for what I do for others’ children!” – Ann, 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

A hot lunch (Grab this DoorDash promo for your first order!)

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!

4. A gift basket filled with goodies.

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

Hotpop Popcorn Maker – $15.99 (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! 🤩 These baskets make the best teacher gifts and it’s a gift that will keep giving for years to come! 🙌🏻

Other gift basket ideas include this s’mores gift basket idea from our Hip reader:

unique campfire smores four ways

“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

Hip Tip: Is your teacher following a keto lifestyle? Head to our sister site, Hip2Keto, to read about our favorite keto chocolate!

5. Tissues…and more tissues. 

hand holding a light brown leather tissue box with cover on it in front of green plant

8 Boxes of Tissues – $13.49 ($1.69 per box) 

There are NEVER enough tissues if you ask any teacher what’s needed most in their classrooms. In many cases, the school-provided tissues are harsh on noses and some schools may even require your child’s teacher to supply their own which means they’re completely dependent on donations. Regardless, finding a cute way to gift a bunch will always be appreciated…especially during the cold season. We especially love the value pack we shared above because you could even potentially gift a few boxes to a few different teachers!

Hip Tip: Bookmark this page to shop the best deals on tissues year-round!

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 printable below, these make some of the best teacher gifts. Even better, they currently have some Black Friday deals on a Hoya Heart and Aloe plant too.

Plus, this is a gift idea that’s affordable and easy to take care of! 😍 As a recommendation, opt for a low-maintenance plant such as aloe or a snake plant so it won’t mind a little neglect over the long holiday break.

“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

Download our FREE “Thanks for helping me grow” printable

Want to make your own planter?

hand holding edge of ruler planter holding succulents

As another idea, 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 to start the new year. 🤩

7. 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 idea 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 gifts in our book!

Bookmark this deal on Ticonderoga pencils – the #1 brand on the market!

“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

8. You can never go wrong with a new candle during the holidays. 

hand holding top of festive candle on stack of holiday scented candles on store shelf

Candles always make excellent gifts and it’s something that will make teachers feel warm and cozy on days they’re not in the classroom. We love the idea of gifting a special teacher one of these festive candles to bring to her home during the long break. They have many fun and festive scents like Holiday Hustle, Santa’s Sleigh, and Baking Spirits Bright just to name a few. 🤩

Bookmark this post to find out when the expensive Anthropologie Capri Blue candles go on sale again!

“Each year I always give a nice candle with wishes for a wonderful year ahead. It’s inexpensive and sends a nice message about relaxing and enjoying the break.” – Lori, Hip2Save reader

9. Air freshener to keep their classroom smelling fresh.

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

Mrs. Meyer’s Room Freshener – $4.95 (regularly $6.09+) 

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!

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!

10. 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 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, 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!

Stock up on holiday hand soaps at Bath and Body Works for just $2.95 per bottle – that’s the lowest price of the season! 😍

Christmas Books at Costco

Bookmark this post to know when the next children’s book sale is happening on Amazon. Last time, they were offering Buy Two, Get One FREE! Plus, 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

11. Flair pens, and Flair pens only.

person holding package of multi colored papermate pens with two more packages in background

Paper Mate 36pk Flair Felt Tip Pens – $19.99 (regularly $39.99)

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 Papermate 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 spruce them up for the holidays.

Shop all packs of Flair pens on Amazon.

12. 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

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

About the writer:

Sara is a self-taught blogger and photographer with 8+ years of experience having work featured in various building, travel, and fashion publications, most notably Bassett Furniture and Fossil.

Join The Discussion

Comments 11

  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! 🎄

Leave a Reply

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

It's not your Grandma's coupon site!

Sign up for a Hip2Save account (it's free) to access all of the awesome features!

Forgot Password?

Don't have an account? Register

Forgot Password

Don't have an account? Register

Become a Hip2Save Insider

Don't Miss Out! Join our large community of insiders - it's totally free! Once you join, you'll be able to save & share your favorite deals, rate posts and recipes and add items to your HipList and Cookbook! What are ya waiting for?!

Already have an account? Login

Thank you for rating!

Would you also like to leave us a comment?