Gift This, Not That: 10 Teacher-Approved Appreciation Gifts (& 5 Gifts To Avoid)
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We ❤️ teachers!
They spend their days instructing and inspiring your kiddos, so it’s natural to want to show them your gratitude. But what do teachers really want?! We asked our Hip2Save community (specifically, teachers) about some of their favorite teacher-approved gifts – and which gifts to avoid – to help simplify your teacher appreciation gift giving.
Please note – all teachers are unique, with various needs, wants, and preferences. When in doubt, ask your teacher what he or she needs. And remember, gifts given with kindness and love are always appreciated!
BEST Gifts For Teachers
“I appreciate gift cards to Amazon. I almost always buy stuff for the classroom, but that makes me happy, so I don’t mind an ounce!” –Wendy
Hip Tip: Check out these fun teacher appreciation gift card tags to make giving a gift card even more thoughtful!
Coffee, breakfast, or lunch delivery
“Having a special lunch or coffee/drink delivery is nice.” –Jana
“I had a parent order my family dinner from my favorite pizza place!” –Melissa
Letter to the principal
“I am a principal, and I really appreciate getting positive emails about teachers! I love being able to forward them and make their day!!” –Erin
Fun and useful teaching supplies
“Colored Expo markers, colored pens, fun Post-it notes…” –Erica
“The best gift I’ve received was a laminator.” –Rachel
“Anything I can actually use in class (lamination sheets, fun pens, books, sheet protectors, etc.)” –Kelly
Hip Tip: Buy school supplies and then make this super creative school supply “cake”!
Beach towels and blankets
“Beach towels are always great! You can never have enough… unlike mugs and knick-knacks that sit around.” –Elizabeth
“I got a beautiful throw blanket once. It’s still on my couch.” –Samantha
“My most useful gift item was a beach towel embroidered with my name.” – Elizabeth
Hip Tip: Make it into a fun summer-themed gift with this printable summer tag.
Thank you notes from students or parents
“I have kept the handwritten notes from children for years. I call it my ‘warm fuzzy’ file and break it out every once in a while when I need a smile.” –Liz
“Gift cards are certainly nice, but I also love handwritten notes from parents with specific details of what their child loves about our class and me as their teacher. I keep these in memory and often re-read them. Fills my heart!” –Sherri
“Letters from students mean more than anything to me. I teach middle school, and genuine letters telling me how I impacted them during the school year mean so so very much. If the kids aren’t old enough, then letters from parents. There are so many days where you question your impact and whether you are making an impact. There are also so many days you just want to quit. On those days, I pull those letters out and remind myself why I do it.” –Kimberly
“I gave my student’s teacher a mini Lunch crock-Pot. He loved it and brings it filled for lunch regularly. Such a useful gift idea!” – Cindy
Hip Tip: Check out this post for details on how to gift these Crock-Pot Lunch Crock Food Warmers!
Small, low-maintenance plants
“I’ve bought succulents or small plants if the teacher has a gardening interest… with a coffee gift card on the [plant] stake.” –Mariah
Personalized interest gifts
“I like it when the gift seems personalized due to what they know about me. Like one of my families got us gift cards to the movies because we are huuuuge epic film nerds. Another parent gave me coordinating summer goods for my vintage camper.” –Wendy
“The best gift I received was a handmade BB8. My whole classroom is decorated in Star Wars and two of my students spent a weekend and created a paper mache BB8. I proudly display that every year. By far one of my favorite gifts.” –Ashlei
“When my daughter was in kindergarten, she LOVED her teacher’s shoes (they were apparently soooo fancy), so we got her a gift card to a shoe store, and I wrote her a note telling her how much her shoes had been admired! ” –Shelley
“One year, the parents washed our cars during the day!” –Erin
LEAST Favorite Gifts
There are certain items that (while thoughtful) don’t completely win the praises of teachers:
- Coffee mugs. Many teachers reported receiving numerous mugs even though they don’t drink coffee.
- Anything “teacher” or “apple” related. Over time, these super specific gifts lose their novelty.
- Candles. Some people have their own preferences for scents and brands.
- Lotion. It’s the same argument as the candles.
- Homemade food. Even though the treat could be totally delicious, teachers felt overwhelmed with too many sweets or weren’t comfortable with not knowing all the ingredients.
But pretty much all teachers agree…
It really is the thought that counts! While there are certain gifts they love and others that they may not go crazy for, knowing that their students and parents appreciate their commitment is really what matters, regardless of the gift.