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Beyond the Gift Card: Great Gifts for Teachers

Stumped for the right way to thank the teachers in your life? Forget candles and mugs: Here's a list of gifts that really make the grade.

It’s always appropriate to thank a teacher. After all, these men and women go beyond academics to help our children with everything from loose teeth to college application anxiety. Our teachers work hard all year long (yes, even during summer and winter break, there’s lesson planning and classroom preparation galore), so let’s get them a little something to show we appreciate all their hard work.


But with the holidays approaching, you’re probably stumped. A gift card, again? Nope, and drop the candle idea, too. Here are some gifts that are as special as the teachers in your life — for now, or at the end of the school year. 

Classroom-Proof Water Bottle

Teachers are on their feet all day, talking to students, staff, and parents. They need to stay hydrated, but they need a durable vessel, and the classic ceramic mug often doesn’t make it too long before a spill and a break. Mug, weary teachers will love this fun and creative BPA-free plastic water bottle. Spill proof, smash proof, and customizable equals love for years to come.

Custom Notepad

Let’s be honest, teachers could single-handedly keep the sticky-note makers in business. From reminders to call parents, grade tests, and donate money to the school fundraiser, it’s likely a teacher’s desk is filled with quite a few of these little notes. A custom notepad like this one from Shutterfly is great way to thank your teacher for staying on top of everything, and is most certainly a gift that will get lots of use.

School Supply Basket

If you want to guarantee your gift will be used, get teachers more school supplies! This may sound lackluster, but teachers often have to pay for these supplies out-of-pocket, and they’ll be delighted to find that you want to help them give back to their classrooms. Grab some glue sticks, pencils, crayons, markers, and hand sanitizer and organize it in a little basket. Remind the teacher that you hope his or her future students have just as much fun as your kids did this year.

Class Thank You Notes

This gift takes some sneaking around, but is sure to be a favorite. Slip in on a day when there is a substitute teacher (with the school’s permission, of course), and pass out note cards to the students. Have them write about their favorite experience from the year, and what they appreciate most about their teacher. Seal them up and give them to the teacher on the last day of school. These notes are something any teacher will cherish for years.

Class Autograph Frame

This gift is another that may have to be prepared on a teacher’s day off. Find an autograph frame and have all the students sign it. Use a class photo from a field trip, school concert, or picture day. You bet a teacher never forgets a student, even years later, but a sweet remembrance like this is sure to be loved by anyone.

Flowers and Custom Flower Pot

Remind your teacher how much he or she has helped your children grow with a beautiful plant and a custom flower pot. Teachers love having a little something to brighten up the classroom, and this tin pot won’t break if it should happen to get knocked over in a class full of active children.

Custom Tote Bag

This adorable customizable tote bag from a local artist will be loved by any teacher! Fit to carry laptops, textbooks, and much more, teachers will make sure tote bags never go out of style. Wonder why teachers love custom accessories so much? Imagine sharing your office at work with 20 children. This is what teachers do every day — a little something that is just theirs means a lot.

Key Ring 

Make sure teachers know they were your child’s “key to success” this year! Key rings may seem generic—but everyone uses them. On those long days where they can’t wait to get to their car, teachers can look at their keys and be reminded why they do what they do each day. This one is super sweet and can be customized with an initial.

Photography by Scukrov via Canva. 



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