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Gifts for Teachers: What They REALLY Want

School’s (almost) out for summer, and I need gifts for my kids’ amazing teachers. Who knew that picking out gifts for teachers could be so darn HARD.

I searched for ideas on Pinterest, but I felt bad about myself almost immediately and gave up. The printables, the hand-made crafts, the candy, the highlighters – what do teachers REALLY want?
Luckily, I have several friends who ARE teachers. They gave me the low-down, and will remain ANONYMOUS because I asked them to be brutally honest. Their answers will surprise you!
First, ALL of the teachers said they don’t expect a gift at the end of the year. Remember – they were speaking anonymously, so I actually do believe them.
If you’re going to be awesome and get something anyway, here are some tips.

What Teachers DO NOT WANT

  • Candy: “Every year, one of our teachers collects all the unwanted chocolate and takes it down to the drop-in centre to donate to the homeless.”
  • Mugs: “Our staffroom kitchen is overflowing with coffee mugs.”
  • Candles and other trinkets: no one needs more of that.
  • Perfume, bath stuff, and anything smelly: I have done this. I have given smelly stuff to teachers. I should have asked sooner!

What Teachers REALLY Want

A nice note

A Note

One teacher said, “It’s the notes from parents and kids I treasure. I keep some every year to pull out and read when I’m having a bad day.” Be specific and sincere:
  • Talk about a time when the teacher did something exceptional or special for your child.
  • Try: “I’ll always remember the time you…”
  • Or: “It meant so much to us when you…”

Gift Cards

  • Safe bets are gifts cards from Starbucks, Tim Hortons, or Indigo.


  • Parents are apparently hesitant to give wine, but let’s face it – your kids’ teachers probably need a drink.
  • Don’t worry – they won’t crack it open until the kids are gone.

Hand-made Cards

  • Home-made cards from the kids are treasured for years.
  • One teacher said, “I have a pick-me-up file filled with cards and notes.”
One of the teachers I spoke to had this to say: “Ending the year is actually hard for most teachers emotionally. We’ve come to know and love our students really well and we will never share their lives in the same way again. Seeing them move on is somewhat bittersweet: you’re happy for them to grow up and move on to bigger & better things, but you’ll miss them, too.”
SNIFF. Now I want to buy teachers ALL the presents. They are awesome. Any other great ideas?
 Gifts for Teachers What They REALLY Want


Tuesday 11th of December 2018

This is amazing! And SOO true! As I sit here and try and plan out my sons 3 teachers (1 male, 2 females) Christmas gifts I got that amazing reminder... they have saved every one of my thank you cards, they’ve told me and they have them around the classroom! Which makes me so happy! Thanks so much for the reminder that it really is the simple things in life that matter 🙂