They may not be the hardest person to buy for, but finding a gift for your child’s teacher can be a chore. Figuring out what to buy is hard enough if you don’t know them well, and there’s always the struggle of how much you should actually spend. Plus the last thing a teacher needs is another “World’s Best Teacher” coffee mug, “Ashes of Former Students” pot, or scented candle that will never get burned.
Instead of spending your money on something that will just collect dust on their shelves, spend some extra time in giving them something homemade. It’s more thoughtful, will likely get used much more often and 9 times out of 10, is usually cheaper than getting a store-bought product. These four ideas will give you some inspiration if you’re having trouble getting started.
Class photo collage
The best gift you can get a teacher is something that involves the whole class, and pulling your resources will also be the most cost effective. Teachers take their kids to heart, so a gift that will help them remember the group of kids will always be appreciated. Coordinate with other moms in the class for pictures of each of the kids and put them together in a photo collage. If you have them, throw in any photos of the class as well, maybe from a field trip that you chaperoned. Shutterfly or Snapfish allows you to create digital photo books, or you can get a scrapbook and make your own if you have prints.
Potted plant or flowers
This isn’t your typical potted plant or flower, though. Instead of just buying a packaged one from the store, add a little touch of creativity to the mix. Get each child in the class to put an imprint of their hand on the pot in a different color of paint. Leave some extra space at the top to put the teacher’s name and year, and something like “Thanks for helping us grow.” Orchids are your best bet for flowers since they require little effort to maintain and can survive without daily watering.
Recipe collection book
Everyone likes to eat, and there’s no putting a value on a good recipe. Have each family from the class contribute a recipe and you can combine everything in a recipe book or cards. Etsy has some great options. Try to get a variety so you have a good collection of appetizers, side dishes, main courses and desserts. Stick to recipes that are easy to make with ingredients that can be easily found at your local grocery store. One-pot meals are even better.
If there’s a time crunch and you can’t coordinate with other parents in the class, whipping up one of your specialty recipes is always a possibility. The key to remember is make something in small portions, like cupcakes, cookies or brownies, because they’re easier to transport and can be shared with the entire class. It’s also a great way to get your own kids in the kitchen to help with the cooking.
When I was in school, our go-to gift for teachers was homemade Muscadine jelly. Mason jars are relatively inexpensive — pending on the size, you can get a set of 12 for $12-$20 — and we got the grapes from my grandfather’s vines, so our time was the biggest output. Plus, we always made more than we needed, even to account for my sibling’s teachers, so there were plenty of leftovers for the family.
What are some other unique homemade gift ideas for teachers?
Photo courtesy of Lisa Storms.