Teachers are always happy to receive a gift as a token of appreciation for their work, although it is absolutely not necessary. Ask any teacher and they will tell you that a card with kind words or a simple thank you email is worth much more than any gift. Nonetheless, if you want to treat a teacher you know, here are great ideas that will really make them happy. (But don’t forget the thank you —it’s the most important part!)
Let’s start with some things to avoid
While these gifts are still thoughtful, if you are looking for something original or to avoid missteps, here are potential presents to avoid:
- Mugs (yes, most teachers are fuelled by caffeine, but we get so many mugs each year that our shelves risk collapsing under the weight!)
- Chocolate boxes (here’s a small secret: some years, we get so many we have to regift them)
- Strong-smelling products, like candles and body creams (unless you know the teacher’s preferences or you chose subtle smells).
Gift cards: a sure bet
Gift cards will undoubtedly make any teacher’s day. Since we usually don’t personally know our children’s teachers, it can be hard to know what they like. This option is great for every budget, since even the smallest amount will be appreciated.
This leaves choosing what store to get the card for. It could be interesting to select a store connected to the teacher’s specialty (for example, a bookstore for an elementary school homeroom teacher who has a passion for literature, or a sports store for the gym teacher). When in doubt, you can choose a more common option, like a coffee shop, pharmacy, liquor store, restaurant, or a large big-box store. Since teachers have a tendency to spend a lot out of pocket for their classroom, a good idea would also be a school supply or stationery store.
If you are looking for a specific meaningful option, why not chose a personalized gift? Many boutiques offer items such as pencil cases, tote bags or notepads with engravings such as “Best teacher ever!” or “Teacher of the year!” Some craftspeople even offer the option of adding a name to the item. A quick search on websites such as Etsy will help you find the perfect customized piece.
A Christmas ornament is also a splendid idea, whether it’s handmade or purchased, as the teacher will think of your child each year when they put up their Christmas tree. If you know one of the teacher’s passions outside of school - for example, a sport they like or an art hobby of theirs – an item related to that is a nice touch. It has the added benefit of showing that your child listens to their teacher and knows them well!
For the epicurian
If you go for this category, make sure that the teacher doesn’t have specific allergies or dietary restrictions. Aromatic olive oils, local products such as jams or sea salt caramels, beautiful maple syrup bottles, or specialty cookies are all great gourmet alternatives to the classic box of chocolate. For comforting drinks, opt for tea or hot chocolate sets, or even a good bottle of wine! It’s also the perfect time to share a typical sweet from your culture with the teacher. They can discover new culinary treats and broaden their horizons!
In the end, regardless of what category inspires you the most, do not forget that the most valuable present you can give a teacher is a thank you, an appreciation of their daily efforts, and the recognition of how important teachers are!
Ariane Lefebvre holds a degree in early childhood and primary education from UQÀM and is passionate about her career as a kindergarten teacher. Children’s literature and fostering a welcoming environment both hold a very important place in her heart. She is also currently completing her advanced graduate diploma in Educational Institution Management.