The 30 Best Teacher Gift Ideas

Whether it be a holiday, Teacher appreciation week, or the end of the year – there are plenty of opportunities to search for the best teacher gift ideas. 

There are lots of directions you can go with educator gifts: homemade vs. store-bought, practical vs. sentimental, classroom supplies vs. relaxation treats. The sky’s the limit! But is one better than the other? 

If you’re looking for a Christmas gift specifically, we more festive holiday teacher gift ideas here.

We’re here to find out what makes the best teacher gifts.

Let’s start unwrapping. 

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What Is the Best Gift to Give a Teacher?

We asked teachers a simple question – what is the absolute best gift to give a teacher? 

And the number 1 answer was…

A Thoughtful Note

Teachers chose their profession for the students (believe me, it’s not for the paycheck!). 

They have extremely tough and often thankless jobs. A note of appreciation from a student or parent goes a long way. 

Write a note that thanks your educator and shows them how much you appreciate everything they do. Personalize it by adding something specific your child has enjoyed in their classroom. 

A thoughtful note is a wonderful gift in and of itself, but if you want to up the ante a bit you could add…

A Gift Card 

Everyone appreciates gift cards, teachers are no exception! The more versatile, the better. 

Some great teacher gift ideas include Amazon, Target, Walmart, and Staples. 

Books and candles are great teacher gift ideas

More Great Teacher Gift Ideas 

For a great teacher gift, the best ideas are practical, consumable, or things you KNOW they want. 

Here are some of the top teacher gift ideas: 

School Supplies

Most teachers end up spending their own money on supplies for their classroom, so they often appreciate any help in this area they can get. 

Items like nice pens, dry erase markers, post it notes, and Sharpies are winners. 

You could also get them personalized pencils as students tend to keep the ones they “borrow” so making them say the teacher’s name or something like “Ms. A is the BEST!” is a cute idea. One benefit of going this route is that you can go all cutesy gift basket, if you choose, but no pressure!


Their Favorite Drink

Coffee is a common choice among teachers, but they could have a different favorite. 

Have your student pay attention since most teachers aren’t exactly hiding their fav drink. Do they always have a Mountain Dew or a Diet Coke on their desk all day? 

A 6-pack of their drink of choice is a sweet way to show you notice and care!

Book Of The Month

The Book Of The Month Club is a subscription service for books which is an awesome gift for any book lover! 

So if your teacher is a reader, you can gift them 3, 6 or 12 months of books. Picking books for someone else can be challenging, but with this service they get to pick which book they want from a selection of choices each month. 


A Spa Day

Give your teacher some rest and relaxation with a spa day. 

Get a gift card to a local spa for a massage or facial. Another great option is to give a manicure or pedicure which can be easier to find as many salons offer them and are often more budget-friendly options.

Or you can create a DIY spa kit with face masks, bath bombs, and a fancy candle.

Jewelry 

If your children’s teacher is a jewelry fan, looking for a unique piece from a store like ten thousand villages would be a fun and practical gift idea. 


Disinfecting Wipes

Ask any teacher, you can never have enough Clorox disinfecting wipes in the classroom. 

While it may not seem like the most glamorous gift, trust us that it will be one of the most appreciated.
To make it feel more personal, you can include a cute note that says something like, “I’m coming clean, you’re the best teacher!” or “thank you for infecting the kids with the desire to learn!”. 

Movie Tickets

Give a night out at the movies! 

Yes, this is technically also a gift card (perhaps you’ve noticed a common theme in many of these gift ideas), but it is a great gift especially for a movie lover! 

You can also dress it up some with a popcorn tub and some extra movie snacks.

Toolkit 

Having a small, multi-purpose toolkit in the classroom is one of the most practical and appreciated teacher gift ideas. 

Find Out What They Want

Have your student do some recon work and find out what they like, for instance are they into traveling, sports, baking? Or you can simply ask the teacher if there’s anything that they need or want. 

Plenty of teachers need things for their classroom and end up buying it themselves. Asking what is needed doesn’t have the appeal of a cutesy gift, but you know for sure that it helps the teacher.

Check Their Amazon Classroom Wish List

Some teachers create classroom Wish Lists on Amazon with things they need. This makes it super easy for parents who want to help out to donate to the class. 

It is also a perfect place to find a teacher gift that you know is needed and will definitely be put to good use!

Long haired cat with bow

What Gifts Can Teachers Accept? (And What They Can’t!)

Keep in mind that there are certain gifts that teachers are not permitted to accept (or items that are not allowed to be brought to school in general). 

It’s important to always check your school’s gift policy before giving. 

Here are a few items you should NOT give to your child’s teacher:

Alcohol

While gifting them a bottle of wine or tequila might seem like a kind (and much needed!) gesture, alcohol is not permitted on school grounds. 

This is especially true if you’re having your child transport the gift to school since minors should not be in possession of alcohol. 

Instead, try…

Cocktail mixes, a wine to-go cup, liquor store gift card, or ship the wine directly to their house if you know the address. 

Checks 

Large monetary gifts over a certain amount (specified by the school, often over $100) have to be reported to the school administration. 

Reporting to the school means lots of paperwork which is something teachers do NOT need. While the money is appreciated, there are better ideas. 

Instead, try…

Items from your teacher’s amazon wish list or a donation to the school dedicated to the teacher. 

Before gifting, always check your school’s policy on cash gifts. 

Animals

While it may seem like a great idea to give your child’s teacher that puppy she’s been asking for, animals are generally not allowed gifted. 

Instead, try…

A stuffed animal and an IOU for pet food if they ever get that animal they’ve been looking for. 

Nicotine

While a cigar may seem like a cute idea to celebrate the end of the school year for an aficionado, think again.

Nicotine products like cigarettes, cigars, vaping items, and lighters are not permitted. 

Instead, try…

A classy cigar holder, ashtray, or cigar tasting notebook (if you know they’re a fan). 

Weapons

Okay okay, this one may seem obvious. However, it happens more than you would think. 

Swiss army knives, a kitchen cutlery set, and craft kits containing razor blades and/or box cutters are all items that teachers have reported being gifted that have resulted in kids getting in major trouble. 

Instead, try…

A gift card to Amazon or Bed Bath and Beyond with a note suggesting what you intend it to be used for. 

A white mug makes some of the worst teacher gift ideas

What Gifts Do Teachers Not Want?

And finally, there are the items that teachers are allowed to receive… but simply would rather not. 

Here are a few teacher gift ideas to skip. 

Mugs

That “World’s Best Teacher” mug may seem like the perfect gift for your child’s favorite teacher, but trust us when we tell you to leave it on the shelf. 

Teachers receive SO MANY mugs over their career. Most of them end up donating out of sheer abundance. 

Think you found a clever one they haven’t seen before? Think again – they’ve seen all the teacher mugs ever made. 

Homemade Food 

While homemade Christmas cookies may seem like a thoughtful gift, it’s best opt for something store-bought and sealed. 

Every teacher has their own taste preferences and allergies, so it’s helpful to see the flavor and list of ingredients. 

Plus, it’s impossible for a teacher to know when homemade items were prepared, how long they are good for, if they were handled properly, etc. 

Candy

Even for teachers with a big sweet tooth, it’s best to skip candy as they already receive a TON as gifts throughout the year. 

A nice substitute for candy when searching for teacher gifts ideas is a variety pack of gum.  

Trinkets 

Educators have received every variation of teacher-related Christmas ornaments, desk decorations, and cute wall hangings. Their classrooms and homes are full of trinkets!

Instead of a generic teacher-related item, search for personal teacher gift ideas they really want. 

Teacher standing beside a whiteboard

What Do Teachers Actually Want for Gifts?

Most teachers appreciate any gift from a student, but what do they actually want?

Well consider that teachers might get gifts from several students, so it makes sense that even awesome gifts would quickly become overwhelming if given by multiple students every year. So what sort of gifts would you want to get 10 or more of each year?

As we mentioned – hands down, the most common thing teachers say they want is gift cards. In particular, gift cards to Amazon, Target, and restaurants are teacher favorites and any amount large or small is appreciated.

For tight budgets, a heartfelt note from a student or parent is the next most common answer teachers give when asked about teacher gifts ideas.

What other teacher gift ideas have you discovered that were well-loved and appreciated?

About Author

Jo & Rachel

Jo and Rachel first had the idea for 'The Moms At Odds' in 2016 when our babies were turning 2 and we realized that we were very different parents.

As a mom, Rachel immediately felt this strong connection to her son and instantly decided she wanted to become a stay-at-home mom. Though Jo obviously loved her son as well, she counted the days until she could go back to work and interact with other adults.

They both struggled over getting their babies to sleep and while Jo believed in sleep training, Rachel looked for alternatives like dream feeding and no cry methods. As time passed and their children grew older the differences started to really add up – pacifier use, drinking during breastfeeding, organic foods, screen time, diaper brands, and on and on.

During this day and age, it’s so easy to look at our parenting differences as a bad thing. After all, we’ve all seen jokes and articles about “Mommy Wars” over one subject or another. Instead, we choose to embrace our differences and show you that in many areas there is no wrong answer. What works for one family may not work for another, and that’s perfectly fine. We can still all get along and raise perfectly healthy, beautiful children.

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