Life

22 Gifts For Teachers, Because You Can't Thank Them Enough For All That They Do

It's hard to find good, creative holiday gifts for teachers. In most cases, the hands and faces responsible for making sure your children grow up to be the smartest, most intelligent, self-confident, socially-aware, and responsible version of themselves aren't exactly the people you know best. Sure, you two spend 15 uninterrupted minutes together twice a year for parent/teacher conferences, but that doesn't exactly translate into a stunning friendship.

But you still have to get them a little something this holiday season — a little "thank you" for teaching Tommy not to bite; for showing Vanessa how to read; for coaching Nathan through long division, and for waiting patiently every time Sarah took an extra 15 minutes at the tail-end of lunch to tie her shoelaces. They may not have wanted to, but they did it all with a smile, an encouraging voice, and a vote of confidence.

So, what do you get for the teachers in your life? Here are a few helpful hints. (And in the event you thought you could skip the classroom gifts this year, need I remind you that teachers watch your children do gross stuff day in and day out — pick their noses, readjust their wedgies, spit when they're talking, accidentally pee their pants, talk with their mouths full — and never judge them. At least... not loud enough for you to hear.)

Amazon Gift Card

From homemade to housewares to books to bathroom accents, teachers are much more than just the people sticking smiley faces all over your daughter’s fifth grade book report. So it shouldn’t shock you that maybe their Christmas lists include a little bit more than just pens and pencils.

Amazon Gift Card, Prices Vary, Amazon

Calming Scents

Even on the best days, teaching takes a toll on a person’s mental health. Say “thank you” a little differently this year by stock piling your little learner’s teacher with the tools she (or he) needs to take care of themselves after the last bell rings. This Amber Fig scent from Cold Spring Apothecary is a pretty good place to start.

Calming Candles, $20, Cold Spring Apothecary

Good Luck Charm

Getting 25-plus kids through third grade requires a hell of a lot of skill — but a little added good luck never hurt, either. This Elephant Wishing Bracelet is the extra oomph of confidence a teacher could use.

Elephant Wishing Bracelet, $19, Stella & Dot

Cheeky Coffee Refills

This adorable little note is the perfect pick-me-up every teacher needs heading into a long winter. Fill the reusable cup with tons of gift cards to all their favorite spots, and you’ll be Mom of the Year in no time.

Coffee Refills, $8, LisaKaydesigns/Etsy

Reusable To-go Mug

This personalized day to night mug shaker from Mark and Graham comes with two different lids — one for sipping, and one for shaking. So when Mr. Jones is off the clock, he has the mug to match… if you catch my drift.

Personalized Day To Night Mug Shaker, $42, Mark and Graham

Personalized Stationery

It’s a little bit cheesy, but also really adorable. Plus, it makes getting notes sent home with your kid a bit easier to swallow. (Kinda.)

Personalized Stationery, $16.95, ChevronSmiles/Etsy

Barnes & Noble Gift Card

Doesn’t matter what they use this for, a gift cert to a store that sells just about everything literary (from picture books to photo-free and lengthy memoirs) will mean a lot to someone who spends their days making your flesh and blood a better learner.

B&N Gift Card, Prices Vary, Barnes & Noble Bookstore

Chic Tablet Sleeve

This Fairbault for Target Tablet Sleeve is a great gift for every teacher. Since lots of teachers are using their devices for work and play, they’ll get a ton of use out of keeping their gear protected when they’re not in the office.

Chic Tablet Sleeve, $19.99, Target

Mugs For Work and For Home

OK, so they don’t have apples on them, but isn’t that cliche getting a little old these days? Buy two of these adorable mugs so that your child’s teacher doesn’t have to worry about lugging them back and forth every day.

Heart Mugs, $29, Mark and Graham

Book of the Month Membership

Some teachers loathe reading on their free time while others love it. For the latter group, a kid-free book club membership will help them de-stress during their down time.

Basic Membership, $12.99/month, BOMC Club

A Handful of Hand Sanitizers

For many teachers, sanitizer isn’t included in the classroom budget — which means they’re stocking up on germ-free goodies out of their own pocket. Come to their (and your own) rescue this year by splitting the cost and helping keep your kids healthy.

Hand Sanitizer, $5, Bath & Body Works

iTunes Gift Card

Whether it’s movies, games, apps that help with classroom skills, time management, or even an easier way to see whether it’s going to snow, who cares? Teachers love gifts they can give themselves. Hell, everybody does.

iTunes Gift Card, Prices Vary, iTunes

Yoobi Mini Highlighters

Brighten up a teacher’s day with these colorful (and cute!) mini highlighters. Plus, every time you purchase something from Yoobi, they donate a Yoobi item to another classroom in need.

Yoobi Mini Highlighters, $2.49, Yoobi

Craft Coffee Subscription

You know what it’s like to deal with your kid before 10 a.m. — and now, so does your daughter’s teacher. So, give the gift of caffeine this year. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.

Craft Coffee Subscription, $25/month, Craft Coffee

Stylish Vase

You know, for all those flowers you intend on filling her desk with after Little Tommy passes Algebra.

Vase, $14.95, Anthropologie

Cold Hard Cash

Uh, need we say more?

Image: Philip Taylor/Flickr

Tickets to the Movies

No, it’s not tickets to Schoolhouse Rock. No, it isn’t reruns of The Magic School Bus. No, it’s not Frozen on Ice. Tickets to shows they want to see? There isn’t really a better gift.

Movie Ticket, Prices Vary, Regal Entertainment Group

Magazine Subscriptions

Guy teachers are admittedly harder to shop for. But there’s no denying they’d love a sports magazine subscription sent directly to their classroom. Hint, hint.

Image: Sean Winters/Flickr

Prepaid Lunches

Sometimes, it’s just really nice not to have to pay for your lunch. A few paid-for lunches to all the local hot spots save on cash — and a full belly is basically the best gift there is.

Image: Paul Mayne/Flickr

Everyday Supplies

Expo markers, pencil sharpeners, extra pens, and highlighters… it might not seem like the world’s most thoughtful gift, but teachers are always in need of extra classroom supplies. A little bit goes a long way, so even if you don’t spend a fortune, it’s the thought that counts.

Expo Dry Erase Markers, $12.39, Target

Chocolates

It’s perfectly OK not to know what to get a teacher — or even what they like. The fastest way to solve the entire problem (and get them something they’ll enjoy) is to go with what always works: chocolates.

Assorted Lindor Truffles, $50, Lindt Chocolates

Make-at-Home S'more Kit

An activity to do outside of class that doesn’t involve 25 over-sugared second graders? Yes, yes… so much yes. (Also, how cute is this packaging?)

Image: Creature Comforts Blog

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