education,  gift and learning

Not Your Usual Teacher Gift Ideas

My feelings on school starting ping back and forth at least 400 times an hour.

Summer is the best. Why does it have to end?
HOW long until summer ends?
Lazy summer days are amazing.
Crud. It’s only 8:07 A.M.! 11 hours and 53 minutes until bedtime. 
I’m soaking up every moment with my babies.
You JUST had a snack!

And so on and so forth.

The one feeling that remains constant is my profound appreciation for the teachers and support staff who teach, nurture, protect and inspire my children.

At some point in the year, I know I will be giving a teacher gift or participating in a classroom gift for a teacher and it is a pleasure to do so.

In my experience, it seems many teachers would really prefer to receive gift cards. I completely understand! Especially if you end up receiving 30 of the same thing…year after year after year! I get it.

If I’m not participating in a pooled gift with other parents, I usually split the difference and do a combo where I get a gift card I know the teacher will be able to use and something small to go with it that my kids can help select or make. It might even be a handmade card. I’m trying to teach my kids the importance of thinking about someone other than themselves and gift giving is one way to do that.

Here’s a list of not-your-usual teacher gift ideas gathered with help from the informal polling I’ve taken this summer. This is basically so I can reference my own post later. It’s how I roll these days, folks. Plan now while I’m thinking about it, so I can (hopefully) avoid a panic later.


This teacher necklace is simple, pretty and has a great message. The best part is when she takes it out of the packaging, no one will know that it was a ‘teacher’ necklace, so it’s great for everyday wear.

It’s by Dear Ava Jewelry.

(image: Dear Ava Jewelry via Etsy)

This shop has jewelry with awesome sayings for most anyone and any situation: friendship, birthdays, rough times, anniversaries, pregnancy, etc.

MAKEUP (or whatever) BAG

I can always use cute makeup-sized bags. How about you?

This bag by Moon Wake Designs would be a great gift to tuck a gift card and note inside.

Plus, you can blow your child’s mind by letting them know their teacher has a FIRST name! Anyone else find that weird as a kid?

(image: Moon Wake Designs via Etsy)


For the teacher concerned about eco-friendly products, how about a set of 10 reusable glass straws? These are under $10 on Amazon making it a low cost, high impact gift. You’re saving the planet, after all!

I have a set of stainless steel spoon straws, which I love because of the spoon part, but glass straws would be easier to see if they are clean.


Can’t forget about the art teachers! This paintbrush holder is a neat idea.

This shop makes a version for pencils too.

In addition, you can get a plain block and the kids could decorate it/sign their names for a classroom gift.

(image: Mooville Handcrafted via Etsy)


I like receiving a gift I might enjoy using for a particular season or holiday, but wouldn’t necessarily buy for myself. I figure that applies to other folks too!

Something like these fall coasters from Pier 1 are a small gesture that will bring a big smile.


I don’t know if this one falls in the category of not-your-usual, but I’m holding out hope that handwritten communication is not dead.

Personalized notepads are around 9 bucks and this one is from Pink Apple Parties.

(image: Pink Apple Parties via Etsy)

These personalized typewriter notepads from Curio Press are a little more ($14).

(image: Curio Press)


I’ve given scarves at least three times for teacher gifts and they always seem to go over well. I give the scarves at the end of the year after I’ve gotten to know the teacher and can guide my kiddos on what colors and styles the teacher seems to like.

It’s one of those low commitment gifts that are fun to receive and most everyone uses. You can find great deals on them from $5 – $15 at places like TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. Even Target.

This one is from The Loft.

By the way, I also like to use scarves or pretty tea towels as ‘wrapping paper.’


A stamp would be helpful in a classroom too, but definitely check to see if your teacher already has one.

This would also be cool if you lend out books from your own home library. I know a few homeschooling mamas who could use this!

This stamp is from iTeacher Stuff and is around $11.

(image: iTeacher Stuff via Etsy)

If your teacher wouldn’t use a stamp, he or she might use these labels instead.


The dreaded RED PEN! This one is funny!

These socks are by Nanny Goats Kids Plus.

(image: Nanny Goats Kids Plus via Etsy)


If you have to wear a badge, might as well make it match your outfit!

West Market Design makes these cool beaded lanyards in different colors and their shop has 5 star reviews! I don’t need a name badge, but I’d take off the metal clip and wear this string of beads.

(image: West Market Design via Etsy)


I have no idea how air plants work, but I love how this one by Air Friend is presented. Plus, there’s a learning opportunity in here somewhere, right?

If you are giving the gift for a birthday, select the gemstone that corresponds with the teacher’s birth month.

(image: Air Friend via Etsy)

I know this post is all about teachers, but my kids are obsessed with gemstones and trying to grow things right now. I need to remember this idea for Christmas.

Speaking of my kids, they are both starting new schools this year. I don’t know what the local gift-giving customs are in these places. It’s been different in every area we’ve lived.

I do know that no matter where you live or how old your kids are, kindness and thoughtfulness go a long way. And those things don’t cost a dime.

I hope you and your kids have a happy, fulfilling, productive school year.

To all the teachers and school support staff out there please don’t correct my grammar – thank you.

I really enjoy a theme, so here are a few more posts for you on the subject of education. Enjoy! 

A Year Without Grades

Teaching Kids Life Skills Takes ALL the Patience

How I Accidentally Got My Kids Excited for College

Tips for Paper-Mache School Projects

Cooking with Kids. Did I Survive?

Living in Ireland: Primary School 101


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