“Socks? You gave teachers socks?” she asked. “Why not a toothbrush?”
Some Good (and some not so good) Ideas For Gifts
“I always enjoy either something very personal, like an item that was hand made by the child, or a gift card. ” ~Betty R. 1st grade teacher
“Most therapists don’t have a very big spending budget at work, so they purchase many of their own materials. A gift card to a local teacher store, or a gift certificate to an online speech/language store, such as Super Duper Publications would be great. If you know her well, you could get a gift card for a store or business that she frequents (e.g. her favorite coffee shop, or her favorite book store). I have also received gift cards to my local super market.
Another idea that I have enjoyed is a hand written letter from the parent or child expressing their thanks for a great year. One year, a parent sent a letter to the school board expressing their gratitude for the work I had done that year with their child. I was very moved that they took the time to write that letter. Often times, as parents, we are quick to call to complain about a teacher or therapist, but we don’t think to call supervisors to praise the work of a teacher/therapist.
Smiles” ~Deb MA CCC/SLP and mom of 4 amazing children
“I’ve given “a movie night” in a basket. I bought a basket at salvation army. Put in a gift card from Netflix, favorite drink (tea,coffee,wine,hot cocoa,coke) a couple packets of microwave popcorn (or specialty corn if I know they have a popper) Then some chocolates or something. My kids usually make the gift card that looks like a movie ticket or something movie related.
You could make the theme whatever her interests are and depending on what you put in it, the costs could be as low or as high as you’d like. I gave this to a neighbour who was hospitalized and found a movie that he has rented several times from the dollar bin at Wal-mart”
“Many people already have so much stuff and it’s hard to know what they need- but who doesn’t like a movie night? I used to be an art director and know that some don’t know how to be creative without seeing an example so here’s some online
You could do a Netflix gift card but for an SLP if I had to pick my favorite speech therapy movie of all times it has to be Paulie!!! It’s about this little girl with a severe speech impairment and Paulie the parrot helps her. The SLP is in the movie using flash cards when I saw that I was so thrilled that here was a movie I could relate to and the classic part for me was when the little girl dresses up Paulie as her fairy Godmother and begs her to make her talk right. I forced many people to watch that movie who had no idea how good it was until they did it will make you laugh and make you cry. There are some great actors in it too. Here’s the trailer for the movie Paulie
We own the ET DVD which was one of Tanner’s favorite movies because when he was little he LOVED when the kids teach ET to talk -as a matter of fact I posted right after we saw ET in the movies (at an anniversary showing) that Tanner, who was sitting next to me, was hysterical laughing when ET was practicing his “B” sound to Sesame Street on the TV. The people in the theater turned around to see why he was laughing so hard.
Not a movie but if the SLP doesn’t have a copy of The Late Talker that’s always a good gift.” ~Lisa Geng
“I give gifts to everyone who helps my kids, especially the therapists. Since teachers and therapists have such exhausting jobs, I have given bath products, flowers, picture frames, even food. Once, I baked a cheesecake for the teacher to take home. Some of my friends give gift cards to the movies, Starbucks, Bath and Body. I think it is important to treat these professionals in a special manner since I intrust my children to them.”~ Nancy
“The experience with our speech therapist has been wonderful but we will say goodbye to her in October. She always brings a tote bag full of toys & I noticed it was a little worn out. I found a canvas tote bag (and here’s a cheaper one) that says “I have ways of making you talk” that I thought was super cute. Something she can use daily for work.”~Jennifer
“I like to give Bath and Body Works stuff -stock up during their semi- annual sale. You can get tons of items for under $5.00, which really helps when you have so many “team” members. Their bath soaps are $1.00 and the anti-bacterial hand soap or waterless cleaners are 3 for $10, I think. (I bought a bunch of stuff the other night to have on hand for Christmas gifts : )
I have also given movie (Netflix) gift cards w/microwave popcorn and M&Ms. That’s good for male teachers/bus drivers/therapists, too.”
“The Late Talker Book was one of my gifts to the SLP and OT. If they already had it, I gave them gift certificates to Borders, a hand made card from my son with his school picture, Marvelous Mouth Music Songs for Speech Therapy and Beyond by Aubrey Lande, Bob Wiz, Suzanne E. Morris, Songames for Sensory Integration by Aubrey Lande, Bob Wiz, OTR Lois Hickman MS, OTR Aubrey Lande MS, Mouth Madness: Oral Motor Activities for Children by Catherine Orr , Blo-Pens 50-piece Creative Activity Kit by P & M Products USA. Most of the above were gifts given during the year.
At the end of the year I gave the teachers and therapists gift certificates to their favorite lunch spot. Hope this helps.”~Joanne
“I tend to go overboard with my daughter’s teacher and aid. I usually get them each a 100.00 gift card to a nice store (J. Jill, Chico’s, Nordstroms, etc.) Although, we attend a public school that does not cost me a dime. I figure they have done such a wonderful job with my child that it is a MUST to do something similar. if I had to pay a tuition I probably would not be so generous but would still get them gifts. Something outdoor and summery is usually nice.”~Natalie
“Yes I always give teachers gifts. I have about 6 teachers 1 ot, 1 pt to give to, never mind the bus drivers(4) what I do is gather money from all the moms from his class and get mall gift certificate for them. but because its his last year I got note cards with all their families first names on the front. from lillian vernon about $25. I usually get hand lotion or candles for everyone. people alway use these things. men are hard (bus drivers) I stumped for that. hope this helps”~ chris
“I am gift giver to my kids teachers. I have given Bath and Body Works gift baskets, assorted candies baskets and potted plants with little what-nots on top of the soil. Have fun and hope this helps” ~Bonnye – Faith’s mommy
“Last year I gave all of AJ’s and my other three kids teachers survival gifts. I used a Mason Jar filled it witht the items, printed labels with the content information on the computer and topped it off with a circle of fabric, a gift tag and bow. I personalized each one bassed on who it was for, PT, OT, teacher etc. You can get ideas on the internet, just search for survival kits/crafts, or use your imagination. Following are example’s of some of the things you could include. You can use a Mason Jar, coffee mug, pencil case or even a box or bag decorated by the kids. It’s not really expensive and the teacher’s really loved them.
- Crayon – to color your day bright and cheerful
- Candle – for when you are up late grading papers
- Hugs and Kisses – for when you need a hug
- Rubberband – to remind you to be flexible
- Eraser – to remind you everyone makes mistakes and they can be erased.
- Marbles – to replace the ones you’ve lost
- Lifesaver candy – you are a lifesaver to many of your students
- Jewel – because you are as valuable as a precious stone
- Puzzle Piece – without you the class wouldn’t be complete
- Paperclip – to hold it all together
- Mounds Bar – for the mounds of confidence you give your students
- Shiny Penny – to remind you, each will shine in their own special way
- Ear Plugs – when you just can’t take anymore
- Starburst – to give you a “burst” of energy when you need it
- Mint – to remind you that you are worth a “mint” to your students
- Tissues – to wipe away the tears…yours and theirs.
- Gum – to help your class “stick” together
- Bandaid – to help fix any hurt feelings
- Marker Pen – to thank you for leaving a lasting impression
- Smarties – for helping make each student smarter
- Starburst – to give you a “burst” of energy when you need it
- Chalk – to “chalk” it up to a job well done
- Sugar Packet – to remind you how sweet you are
- Ace of Hearts – for the heartfelt way you “deal” with taskes each day
- Starburst – to let you know that you are a shining star
- Mint – to thank you for your constant encourage”mint”
- A Tea Bag – to remind you how tea-rrrific you are!
- Pipe cleaner – to remember that flexibility is important to a successful school year
- Wiggly eyes – to help keep an eye on your students to discover how best to help them or when you wish you had eyes at the back of your head
- Battery – to help you keep going and going and going
- Bath salts or bubble bath – to take you away to a quiet place that is well deserved
- Animal crackers – eat these when you think your classroom is a zoo
- Jingle bell – ring this when you need a helping hand
- Sticker – we are a team and we stick together
- Smiley sticker – try hard to wear a happy face
- Life savers – for when you’ve had one of those days
- Flowerpot or a pack of seeds – encourage your students and be patient, we are here to plant the seeds of knowledge
- Clothespin – Hang in there!
- Snowflake – When all else fails, Pray for a snow day
- Playdoh – we all need some “play” time
- A hat – to remind you that you are not only a Teacher, you wear many different hats
- A Shape – Thank you for helping to “shape” the future
Hope this helps.” ~Kelly
“I’ve been giving gift certificates. I usually add something little with it like flowers or pictures from their classroom. I always include their therapists. I had a hard time with their speech therapist because she moved away. I had no idea what to give her, so I just wrote a nice thank you not and gave her pictures of the kids.’
‘I have one suggestion about gift cards. Our local mall has a gift cards that can be used at the restaurants, stores, and movie theaters at the mall. That’s the gift card I like to give because there is so much flexibility. I also like getting that gift card. I usually get gift cards for about $20 for each of the teachers and therapists. However, I have three kids, and that can add up quickly. I also do it at Christmas time.”
Speaking of teachers gifts I like to try and get them something nice we have 8 teachers/therapists and 2 bus drivers. I usually try to spend no more than $10 to $15 dollars on each. But I must share with all of you the killing I made today in Macys they had beautiful sterling silver bracelets for $50-$80 – they were 1/2 off, ($25-$40), plus an extra 10% if you used your Macys card, plus if you dont have a Macys charge card you can open one and get an additional 20%. For all of them to have BEAUTIFUL sterling silver bracelets, it cost me $120.00 and they are really nice. Something for you to think about, look for sales.”~Michele
“This past Christmas I got Joey’s classroom teachers mirror compacts shaped like apples with a leather carrier and engraved the following: ” #1 Teacher, and the teachers name. For all his therapist, I got regular compact, oval shaped and engraved their initials. I got them at Lillian Vernon.com” ~Michele
“How thoughtful of you to want to remember all of your child’s teachers and therapists. As a teacher myself, I can honestly say that a heartfelt note from you (the parents) is one of the best gifts a teacher/therapist can receive. Asking your child to draw a picture/dictate a note would be nice as well. There is really no need for parents to spend lots of money. Just the fact that the parents appreciate what we (teachers) do and say thank you for it is enough. Hope this helps!”
I had a list of teachers too who I wanted to thank with gifts, I gave them all an APPLE (Applebees) giftcard. They loved it, one of the teachers said that’s where she’ll have lunch tomorrow. Applebees gift cards, you specify the amount, I chose $10 and $15 for the teachers, assistants, therapists and regular substitutes. This is my third year doing it and I usually have a few that tell me of how they enjoyed their gift so much. I’m new to the board too, thankful for all the efforts of those who can take the time to reply and those who post so I don’t feel alone with this.”~Ann
(and the not so good)
You can’t imagine how teachers appreciate holiday gifts
By Betty Cuniberti
It is so hard to choose among all the adorable holiday gifts for teachers. If you want to stand out in the crowd, you have to make your own.
I know, I know. I make the rest of you lazy, thoughtless moms look bad. This is my goal.
My rookie year, my daughter was in a preschool program for the hearing impaired. I really outdid myself. I bought a cookie cutter in the shape of the American Sign Language “I love you” sign. I baked dozens of salt-dough “I love you” sign cookies. The fingers broke and fell off of many of them, which will make you sad if you think about it too long. About eight intact survivors were painted with a glittery, medium brown flesh tone that allegedly approximated my Paraguayan daughter’s. I attached a loop and hook, and a little picture of my darling daughter in the middle. All her teachers got one.
I never quite equaled that.
Another year, in an itty bitty craftsy town in Indiana whose name I forget, I bought a bunch of cute socks with the word “Teacher” on the cuffs. And then there was the huge, shiny apple ornament I came across at Pier One. This thing was so shiny I could see my mustache in it. I bought every apple they had left.
The key is to give a gift no one else has thought of. Well, recently, while hanging out aimlessly at the home of a teacher friend, my crazy neighbor, Sara Rice, she came upon a whole box of teacher gifts she was throwing away!
“One year,” she said, “the gifts were so bad we all traded them and regifted them as white elephants at parties. If it’s not an apple, it’s from the Hallmark store.”
“That’s bad?” I gulped.
“CASH, Betty, CASH!” she scolded.
She chuckled her way through stories of how teachers get together and compare tacky teacher gifts and have little contests. I haven’t been this shocked since I found out Des Peres was blighted. I told her about the socks, relieved that at least one of my gifts would not have been a tackiest competitor.
“Socks? You gave teachers socks?” she asked. “Why not a toothbrush?”
There are teacher toothbrushes? WHERE?
As the truth slowly sank in, I was utterly humiliated to learn that all my gifts had stood out, but not in quite the way I imagined. I am too old to learn I have no taste. Desperately I wondered (not for the first time) if maybe Sara is just crazy. She is, after all, my friend, in addition to spending all day with small children at Ellisville Elementary. But lots of other teachers confirmed her story.
A wooden basket with apples as sides. An apple desk plaque that says, “The Teacher is Busy, Take a Number,” and the numbers are on little apples hanging from a peg. A little apple with some sort of cherubic kid on top, and “#1 Teacher,” on it. You open it and inside are two more children. Apple-scented candles, bath water, soap and potpourri. A necklace made of huge wooden apples. A little statue of a snowman giving an apple to a bigger snowman. Many, many lapel pins of chalkboards, crayons, school buses and more designations of “Greatest Teacher” than there are prime numbers. And, oh dear, apple ornaments galore. One is a bell, another is gold and engraved with “A+ Teacher.”
It’s a nightmare!
A middle school teacher was once given a three-roll, hanging toilet- paper cover with an apple tatted on the front by some well-meaning, tatting mom. She had to look up “tatt.” So did I. As near as I can tell, it’s kind of like knitting, taken to the next level.
I’ve always been a little jealous that teachers have a fruit to call their own. I don’t have a fruit. When reporters write something important but dull, we call it spinach. I began to imagine spinach necklaces, lapel pins, cologne, potpourri.
I want them ALL.
But for teachers, I guess the best gifts, along with gift certificates (to Applebee’s?), are thank-you notes. A day of volunteering in the classroom. Backing them up at home.
Although, I did see these darling ruler earrings.” 😀
- 1 Teachers work hard throughout the year and aren’t paid as well as they should. Year end gifts are appreciated, but gifts from up to 30 students can be overwhelming. If you have a limited budget or a large one, here are a few ideas that are sure to be a hit.
- 2 Teachers always appreciate some kind of creative token gift that represents all of the students in the class. A tote bag that is signed by all the students with a message and a group contribution toward a Border’s gift card inside the bag is always a great gift that could be repeated every year.
- 3 Other creative ideas include a large wooden box with a lid that is decoupaged with each of the students’ school photos taken that year, or several group shots that include each student, taken secretively. Inside the box you could tissue wrap a group gift of a mall gift card, or for the spa, book store, or a favorite store of the teacher’s if you’re in the know, such as a nursery if they love to garden.
- 4 Individual gift cards to the movies, restaurants, iTunes cards, or cash gift cards are also useful and always very much appreciated. Often teachers need a new laptop, digital camera, etc. A group gift card can help them fill in the gaps in their budget and get something from their wishlist.
- 5 One year my daughter’s class took up a collection for a diamond number charm that represented their grade. It was the teacher’s second year of teaching second grade, so it was doubly appropriate and the teacher also had a charm bracelet to place it on.
- 6 Gifts that do not go over very well are candles, candy, cookies, skin care products, or other personal gifts. Most teachers feel overwhelmed by receiving these types of gifts and they then have to find space in their house or classroom. Teachers have a lot of things to take home every year after the school year ends, so these kinds of gifts makes the process even more daunting.
- 7 If you really want to buy a tangible gift, personalized stationary like a teacher caricature notecard set with their name on it usually goes over well. You could include some stamps and matching return address labels. Teachers can use these over the summer to send to the students as thank you notes for the year end gifts.
- 8 If you have a very limited budget, a hand written note or drawing from your child saying “thank you” is special and will be saved in a scrapbook or memento box.
- 9 Green gifts are a great idea these days, such as a recyclable bag with a grocery gift card. Or a Sigg water bottle, some organic fruit, or a gift certificate to a farmers market or local farm.
- 10 The best teacher gifts are things that are practical, useful, and will treat them after a year of hard work and effort!
Simple gifts can say thank you at holidays
By Francesa Dolan
“Marie Carson’s Christmas tree looks like it belongs in an apple orchard.
That’s because the kindergarten teacher’s students have given her more than 100 apple ornaments over the past 12 Christmases.
Lots of people in our lives could use a holiday thank you. Think about teachers, school bus drivers, hairstylists, day care providers, landscapers, baby sitters, newspaper and mail carriers, fire fighters — plus all the others who make life a little bit easier. Here are some tips for gifting from some of these folks:
• Gift certificates to stores, restaurants or movie theaters. Any dollar amount is appreciated.
• Holiday tins of cookies — store bought or homemade
• Candles — especially those that smell good such as Yankee Candles
• A box of candy
• A bottle of wine
• Popcorn tin
“I have so many apple ornaments there is no possible way to put them all on a tree,” said Carson, who teaches at ABC Learning Center of Fort Myers.
Carson and teachers everywhere are among the many people others want to thank this holiday season. People like the lawn care guy who keeps the grass green and the citrus trees fertilized, the stylist who never recoils when you’re having a bad hair day and the baby sitter who always also arrives on time and leaves the kitchen tidy.
The holidays are the perfect occasion to thank those who make our lives a little bit easier or more pleasant. The trouble is, most of us don’t know exactly who we should give presents to, or what to get them.
Although Carson said she appreciates and always makes a big fuss out of whatever she gets from students, she added, “Most teachers really appreciate gift certificates.”
This year candles seem to be a popular gift, said Bonnie Tillman of Rumours Hair Design in Fort Myers. She and her scissors-wielding colleagues have also received candy and stationery. And for many of their clients it’s the season to tip generously.
A simple gift of appreciation makes everyone smile, said Jackie Avery, supervisor of customer service at the United States Post Office in Lehigh Acres.
A surprise gift in a mail box brightens the rounds of postal carriers during the holidays, she said.
“I know a lot of them get handmade crafts,” Avery said. “They get little mailmen or some cookies. Some get fruit to bring back to the Post Office for everyone.”
It’s always nice to be appreciated, she said.
No one knows that as deeply as Carson. She makes sure every child knows she treasures each present.
“Some of the kids pick out the presents themselves and they’re so excited,” she said. “I’m not really a candy person, but if I get
candy I tell them it’s my favorite kind.”
To sum it up -keep it personal but not too personal. Can’t go wrong with a gift card, a hand written note of appreciation, or something your child creates for them.”