Think Outside The Apple

By Teresa Iqbal

October 8, 2015 5 min read

Teachers put in hard work, day and night, to educate and enrich the lives of hundreds of kids every year. If you are hoping to show appreciation for your child's teacher this holiday season with a gift, then it may be wise to have some insight into what teachers do and don't look forward to when it comes to receiving holiday gifts from students. So rather than contributing to the massive collection of mugs or ornaments that likely already adorn your child's teacher's desk, you may want to keep the following suggestions in mind when shopping for an appropriate gift this holiday season.

It's common knowledge that many teachers often invest in school supplies and materials for their classrooms with their own money once funding runs out. By gifting teachers with things that can be used in the classroom, you can ensure that they won't have to dig into their own pockets as much this holiday season. Shopping for school supplies doesn't need to be tedious, either. Get a little whimsical and have your child help you pick out fun gifts such as stickers or colored markers. Books for the classroom library are another thoughtful gift for those hoping to contribute to their child's classroom as a gift this year. Having your child choose the books themselves ensures that their fellow classmates will enjoy reading them as well.

Since most teachers are considered underpaid for their hard work, many teachers cite small ways to treat themselves among their favorite holiday gifts. A gift card for coffee, a sweet treat or lunch is a great way to show your child's teacher some appreciation by letting them treat themselves after a long day of teaching. Another option is a gift card to a local bookstore, so that your child's teacher can choose some recreational reading of his or her own after a long day of teaching "Hamlet." One memorable gesture that some teachers recall is when an entire class pulls together by contributing small amounts of money, such as $5, to purchase one gift card to be used at a local spa or hair salon.

You may be hoping to make a truly sentimental gesture by sending your child to school with a personal gift this year. Just as their teacher does, advise your child to pay attention in class and take notes. Have your child be on the lookout for any recurring drinks or snacks that happen to make their way to their teacher's desk on more than one occasion. By gifting a six-pack of a favorite soda or a bag of candy, your child will easily make the statement that they truly care about their teacher's likes, and also ensure that the teacher really will enjoy the gift as well.

While it's clear that gifting teachers with food items for the holidays is a good move, it may be wise to avoid gifting homemade food. This is because many teachers admit that due to hygiene and food-safety concerns, home-baked brownies and cookies often go straight into the trash. If you don't want to risk all of your hard work going to waste, then your best bet would be store-bought food items, such as chocolate, tea or gourmet popcorn.

If you're hoping to give a particularly useful or practical gift to your child's teacher that they can use in the classroom, there are plenty of options to consider. Canvas bags can be used to tote essays, tests and homework to be graded back and forth from the classroom to the teacher's home. There are often plenty of inexpensive options, and they are very easily customizable. A reusable water cup is another gift option that is an excellent way for your child to show that they care about their teacher's health by encouraging a daily, healthy habit. Hand sanitizer for a teacher who works with young children is another great practical gift.

If you're still feeling conflicted about what to give your child's teacher this holiday season, consider that the most simple of gestures may perhaps be the most treasured of all. There is a general consensus among teachers that homemade greeting cards made by students are some of the most memorable gifts that they have received, even looking back years later. It seems that it really may be the thought that counts the most when it comes to holiday gift giving for your child's favorite educators.

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