Great Teacher Gift Ideas!

Mary Cornforth Cawood

This article, entitled "Teacher Gifts," comes from Mary Cornforth Cawood.

The end of the school year is quickly approaching and students and teachers alike are counting the days until their release. How best we thank the teachers, coaches and special people who tirelessly give their time and efforts to help our children learn, grow and develop?

Over the years I have seen many crafty ideas from magazines and other parents for teacher gifts, ranging from simple to extraordinaire, but I still think the most meaningful gift is a heartfelt “thanks” from both the parent and the student. That said, it always nice to receive a little something with that thank you!

My philosophy is teacher gifts need not be pricey or require dusting! There are only so many knick-knacks that fit on a desk, so I tend to gravitate towards gifts that can be used. I also try and choose something that my children are able to help make or assemble, and I ALWAYS have them write (or when they were little) sign a thank you note.

Some of my favorite teacher gifts include:

  • Gift cards – personalized to teacher’s interest whether it is a bookstore, coffee shop, restaurant, or hobby, give them an opportunity to treat themselves. One year my girls decorated mugs and included a coffee card with a note that said, “Thanks a latte!”

  • Flowers – fresh or potted, they always brighten someone’s day. When my girls were in preschool, they painted clay pots that we filled with annuals and wrote notes that said, “Thanks for helping me grow!”

  • Themed containers – fill with fun items to enjoy over the summer. I just love the dollar section at Target! I have found popcorn containers (they go great with a Red Box certificate and movie candy), spa items and summer housewares. This year I am taking a page out of a friend’s book and filling a large beverage dispenser with coasters, napkins, drink stirrers and Popsicle makers for summer gatherings.

If you are able to personalize your gift, all the better! If your child has had a student teacher, a basket with school supplies for their new classroom would be greatly appreciated. A young teacher who is getting married? Fun summer housewares for entertaining will get much use. A teacher with young children would appreciate a summer fun basket or a trip to the local ice cream shop.

Often at preschools or small schools many parents and teachers develop close relationships and form their own little community. In these situations, it is nice for everyone to chip-in and present a gift as a group. A pedicure, restaurant certificate or a round of golf is a welcome surprise for summer.

Group gifts are also a great idea for that special teacher who is retiring. With a little planning, their time and dedication can honored in a way they will never forget. Digital technology can turn students’ artwork, writing and pictures into quilt blocks, framed wall hangings, books and much more.

Whatever you choose, be sure to include your children in the process, it is more meaningful for both them and the person they are thanking. Don’t feel pressured to extend your budget with your gifts; buying for multiple teachers, coaches and special helpers can really add up! I guarantee a handwritten note from your child with a single cut flower or bouquet from your garden will mean more to them than a pricey gift.

Thank you teachers! By the end of July we will be counting the days until the kids go back to school!

Mary Cornforth Cawood is a Fruita mom who is married with two daughters. Read her Tuesdays on Fruita Moms.

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