What should I get my kid's teacher for Christmas?
December 12, 2011 9:45 AM   Subscribe

Giftfilter: Teachers, tell me what gifts you most like to receive from your (elementary school) students at Christmas and the end of the year.

I very much want to send a gift to show my appreciation for her teacher, but I hate thinking that I'm sending something they neither want nor need. Or worse, something they hate having around and will have to unload at next year's garage sale. My mom was a teacher when I was a kid and she got a lot of Avon perfume and scented soaps. I'm sure she was lovely to the kids, but she hated that stuff. And presumably 15 lbs of chocolate is not always welcome.

So, I turn to you, teachers of MeFi and ask what you wish they'd get you instead another World's Greatest Teacher mug.

A thousand apologies if this gets asked every year, but I've looked back the past few, plus searched keywords and the questions seem to be more about buying something for a loved one who is a teacher or for an asker's thesis supervisor.
posted by looli to Shopping (21 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
(from my mother) -- card from the kid (with no attached gift) is preferred #1 over all alternatives, Starbucks gift card is #2
posted by brainmouse at 9:46 AM on December 12, 2011

Best answer: heh, she just messaged me back with an amendment: Nothing is #2, starbucks gift card is #3. Any gift means she needs to write a thank you card, and she doesn't want to seem scroogey but the presents aren't really all that needed, and she would rather just have the time off for real (which of course she doesn't anyway, because teachers work way more than their contract hours). It should be pointed out that a) she hasn't taught elementary school in 10 years, if that matters and b) she worked for a generally well-paid district, so she was not hurting for the money on the Starbucks gift cards or anything.
posted by brainmouse at 9:56 AM on December 12, 2011

Best answer: Anything handmade by one of my students, no matter how small (even just a card) is great. I don't want food - or worse yet, money (yes, this happens).
posted by blaneyphoto at 9:58 AM on December 12, 2011

Best answer: My favorite gifts were hand-written letters by the students, often in crayon on construction paper, thanking me for something specific that I did as a teacher that they will likely not forget. I only received a handful of these.

The worst gifts are gift cards for $5 to very expensive restaurants: 1) That I will never go to anyway because I can't afford them; 2) $5 won't even cover tip or tax. I received tons of these every year. :-\
posted by TinWhistle at 9:59 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Many teachers buy their supplies out of their own pocket. A staples or local teacher supply store gift cert would be appreciated by many teachers I know.
posted by rockindata at 9:59 AM on December 12, 2011 [6 favorites]

From a good friend who is a teacher, "Gift cards to generic places, such as Target or Amazon are the most welcomed, but extremely generous gift cards to fancy restaurants that I would typically never be able to eat are fantastic - and not to sound Scrougey, but if the amount is not enough for myself and my partner to have a meal, don't bother because I don't want to have to cover 75% of a bill that I would have never had in the first place. Please dear god no candy, cookies or lotion. Or teacher-themed mugs, ornaments or frames."
posted by banannafish at 10:01 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

My mom was a teacher...I answered a similar question here, maybe that thread will have some good ideas for you.
posted by phunniemee at 10:03 AM on December 12, 2011

Some nice coffee beans? Staples gift card to fund a project the whole class can do?
posted by Strass at 10:04 AM on December 12, 2011

Best answer: I'm a teacher and in my state (MA), we can only accept gifts up to $50 per family (we can accept larger class gifts). Also, we unfortunately have to report EVERY SINGLE GIFT we receive, regardless of value.

What I love more than anything is a card from the kids; that's it. Anything else becomes paperwork. Even homemade brownies (which I will never, ever eat) have to be reported with an estimated cash value. Ugh.

But if you're really stuck, one class gift for a Target or Staples gift card is great. Then I only need to report that one present.
posted by kinetic at 10:08 AM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

If you're going the Starbucks route, make sure the teacher in question actually drinks coffee-- I don't and I always end up either re-gifting a bunch of cards or drinking a lot more hot chocolate than I ordinarily would. Amazon or B&N are way better, IMO.
posted by nonasuch at 10:08 AM on December 12, 2011

class gifts of supplies or bookstore/amazon gift cards seem to be most popular with the teachers I know.
posted by batmonkey at 10:22 AM on December 12, 2011

What nonasuch said...I always get Dunkin Donuts gift cards and I hate Dunkin Donuts, so they get regifted.
posted by kinetic at 10:25 AM on December 12, 2011

Not a teacher, but nearly all my friends are. They love bookstore and office supply store gift cards, as they end up stocking much of their classrooms out of their own pocket.
posted by anderjen at 10:38 AM on December 12, 2011

Best answer: Teacher here and definitely card or letter would be the best. In all seriousness. We have jobs, we can buy our own coffees, but having hilarious or cute memories makes the job way better!! (Although I would def happily take a starbucks card, or even chocolates if they were decent, heck even if they're bad I'll eat them. Homemade food might be dicey though.) (Also- up to 50$!! We don't get 50$ worth of gifts in a year, or ten even!!) Also dunkin donuts is only coffee place open early enough en route for my commute so I would take that too!:)
posted by bquarters at 10:54 AM on December 12, 2011

(And I meant 10 years, not ten dollars)
posted by bquarters at 10:56 AM on December 12, 2011

Observing my husband, the best received gifts have been: ready-to-bake pie from an area shop, tea, hot chocolate, basic candles, (the bottle of wine went over really well, but it was from parents he knew well and probably wouldn't have worked otherwise).

Awesome cards are also really well received.

No to homemade food, gift cards in unspendable amounts, and mugs, etc. Ornaments are OK (but we're young enough we don't yet have a ton).
posted by ejaned8 at 11:09 AM on December 12, 2011

Best answer: Awesome cards are definitely the best. Contrary to others, I've always loved getting chocolates -- whatever I can't eat becomes something nice I can share with family or have out for a holiday party.

My least favorite are gift cards. They invariably for stores I don't shop at, and often insulting -- a $5 gift card? Really?

The great thing about buying something like candy is that it can feel like a $10 or $20 dollar present, whether it cost that much or not. And if you get more than you can eat, then you've got a nice present someone else will enjoy.

(I still have leftover hot chocolate mix from a few years ago because I don't know if it has dairy in it or not, so I don't use it myself. Also gave away the scented candles and some of the mugs. I also still have a stack of Barnes & Nobles gift cards, because I prefer to shop on Amazon. Better prices, better selection, and I can do it from home.)

If you want to do homemade food, gift it to the whole school. It's nice to have yummy things in the breakroom, and then whoever wants to eat it can.
posted by Margalo Epps at 11:40 AM on December 12, 2011

I got personalized notepads as Xmas presents for our teachers and aides, the kind they can use for notes to parents. The kids picked out their favorite designs and will write the teachers a holiday message/picture on the top sheet.

I've been told by a teacher friend that teachers do not want money, anything very expensive, or anything that takes up space, so I was hoping this would be a good compromise. My oldest are in kindergarten, so this is my first year - hope it works!
posted by widdershins at 12:01 PM on December 12, 2011

Amazon or Target cards.
posted by k8t at 2:05 PM on December 12, 2011

Best answer: ...and today after answering this question, I got handmade cards and food from some students... The food will get shared but the card will get saved for a very long time.
posted by blaneyphoto at 6:10 PM on December 12, 2011

Response by poster: Wow, thank you so much. The homemade cards have taken it! And not because I'm cheap. :)

I'm also going to get her a gift certificate to the French bookstore downtown, because I can't leave well enough alone.
posted by looli at 7:18 PM on December 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

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