Holiday Gift Ideas for Teachers

The last days before my kids’ winter break are usually chaotic, to say the least. As I’m scrambling to tie up loose ends, I usually realize I forgot a very important item on my to-do list: gifts for my kids’ teachers.

Shopping for teacher gifts can be a daunting task. How can you adequately thank these individuals who are such an important part of your child’s life? You want to show them you appreciate all their hard work and everything they do for your kiddo(s). How do you distill all of their importance and all of your appreciation into one item?

I decided to go to the experts on this topic. I asked several teachers which gifts they find the most useful and meaningful. I should make it clear, however, that all of the teachers I surveyed were adamant in stating they don’t expect their students to give them gifts.

Gift Cards

Gift cards are my go-to teacher gift. They’re easy, they’re thoughtful, and they don’t require wrapping. Gift cards are flexible —teachers can treat themselves or purchase an essential item for their classroom. I typically give Barnes & Noble cards, but I’ve also given iTunes cards to teachers who use iPads in their classroom for the purchase of educational apps.

Fun lotion/soaps/hand sanitizer 

Schools are germ factories! Yummy-scented soap or hand sanitizer is a great way to encourage proper hand hygiene in kids.

Homemade Crafts 

The sky is really the limit here, even if you’re a remedial crafter like I am.

This summer when my daughter graduated from preschool, I wanted to say thank-you to the loving and caring teachers she had had over the years. My sister (also a teacher, by the way) is an avid Pinterest user and suggested this craft. The result was a beautiful, meaningful gift that captured the spirit of my daughter’s time at her beloved preschool.

Meghann- teacher gifts

Think Useful 

Teachers are always in of need supplies for their classroom, and frequently purchase these necessities out of pocket. Colorful pens, stickers, & notepads are always useful. Your child could also select a favorite book to donate to the class library.

If you’re aware of a larger ticket item on your teacher’s wish list, you and your child could organize a holiday collection drive to purchase the item with their classmates. This is a great way to get the whole class involved in the teacher’s gift so no one will feel left out.


One of the best gifts you can give your child’s teacher is something you can’t buy in a store. It’s the knowledge that they have truly made a difference in your child’s life. If your child is young, ask them to draw a picture depicting what they like most about their teacher. Older children can create a handwritten note (a great way to practice those writing skills!). Slip the note into either a hand-drawn or store-bought holiday card.

It’s Truly the Thought That Counts 

Meghann- Creating teacher giftsGifts from the heart and mind of a child are the most precious gifts of all. All of the teachers I surveyed told stories of meaningful, symbolic gifts from their students.

My daughter’s kindergarten teacher shared the story of her most memorable gift from a student with me. A little girl whose family didn’t have much brought in a holiday decoration to give her. The item was broken and faded, but it didn’t matter to the child or the teacher. What mattered was the sincere gesture of love from the child to an important person in her life. To this day, my daughter’s teacher still has the ornament.

The above story perfectly illustrates the essence of choosing a gift for your child’s teacher. It’s about expressing appreciation to the amazing people who invest their lives in not only caring for and educating your children, but hundreds of others as well. I see the professionals at my kids’ school as an extension of our family. I know they love the kids in their care very much, and I want them to know how much they mean to us.

What are some of your favorite teacher gift ideas?



Meghann is the mom of 5 kids. She is a Lecturer at the University of Iowa School of Journalism and Mass Communication and an Owner/Partner at Brand Driven Digital. Meghann was elected to the Coralville City Council in 2017 and is currently serving her first term. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Coralville Community Food Pantry (Vice-Chair) and on the DVIP Board of Directors. She is also a member of Johnson County's Juvenile Justice and Youth Development Policy Board. Meghann is passionate about her family, her community, and is a proud pop culture nerd.


  1. One year for my son’s teachers I gave them each a plate of homemade cookies – but along with that, I also gave them the recipes for the cookies in a cute recipe box. They were both so excited to not only get the cookies, but to get the recipes. His one teacher told me that it was her first recipe box she ever owned. His other teacher told me that she and her kids made some of my cookies during the holiday break and they had a great time baking.

    • I love that idea Jodi! Useful and meaningful. That teacher will probably always think of you guys when they make those cookies. 🙂 Hope you all are doing well!

  2. Those are so awesome, I’ve never seen them before! And you’re right, they would love that-all of the teachers I asked mentioned coffee as a gift idea. I can’t imagine why! 😉


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