Tag Archives: teachers

Best and worst end-of-year gifts

Kids are gearing up for the end of the year, eagerly anticipating the start of summer vacation. And if you’re like me, you’ve been racking your brain for what to give the people who have meant the most to your child throughout the school year. First on the list is their teacher. But on that same list are their daycare providers, bus driver, crossing guard, sports coach, librarian….

What do you give the people that have been shaping your child’s life all school year long?

1. A simple thank you note. The best way to say thank you is to, well, say thank you. A handwritten card by your child (and maybe a little note from you as well) can go a long way in letting your child’s teacher know they’re appreciated.

2. Make a Scrapbook. This is fantastic for a coach or a teacher. Each child takes a page with their photo on it, and then writes a favorite memory of the year or season on it.

3. Your time. At the end of the year, teachers, librarians, and daycare providers are busy taking down the room so that it’s ready to be prepped for the next year. As you can imagine, this takes a lot of work. And an offer to help out might be much appreciated.

4. A gift card. It sounds impersonal, but it’s the perfect way for the person you’re thanking to be able to get what they need or want. A nice dinner out, a day at the spa, coffee… And for teachers who are most likely using their own money in the classroom, a gift card to the local bookstore or school supply shop will be highly appreciated.

5. Gift basket of school supplies. Along with the mention above, teachers can never have too much help in stocking up their classroom. Pens, dry erase supplies, Kleenex, paper, scissors, tape refills, paper clips, staples…. The list goes on and on. This would be a fantastic gift from just your child, or even a whole classroom.

6. Photos. If you’ve been taking pictures all year long, burn them onto a CD and give them to your teacher or coach. You can also print them out and make a photo album or collage. You can include them on a digital frame. Or you can create a book from them using the programs with Snapfish, Shutterfly, or other programs that allows you to bind them in a hardcover book. You can even create a calendar for the following year so that when your teacher has a new class, she’ll also have memories to share of her old class.

7. Growing a thank you. A potted plant can last long past the summertime. And it doesn’t just have to be flowers. It can be a start for a tomato plant, some fresh herbs, or even some seeds so that your child’s teacher or bus driver can plant their own garden. Even a gift card to the local Seed Bank can be a wonderful gift.

8. Movie Night In. Tie a ribbon around a package of microwave popcorn, a box of candy, and a gift card to the movie store. To make it extra fun, put it all in a pail with a couple glass bottles of soda. Who wouldn’t enjoy an excuse to stay in?

9. Recipe Book. Have each child in the class write out their favorite recipe on an index card and then tie it with a ribbon to a new apron. Or photo copy each recipe and bind it together in a book.

10. And don’t forget to have your child include their address in the thank you card with a few extra stamps. They may just receive a summertime pen pal from their teacher, crossing guard, bus driver, daycare provider, librarian, coach, or anyone else who has made a huge difference in their life this school year. And through the years, teachers don’t forget their students. Proof – I just heard from my 1st grade teacher who hasn’t seen me in over 20 years!

Of course, while those we are thanking would never tell you this, there are a few gifts that you should avoid giving if you can.

Coffee cups. I guarantee each teacher receives several each year. Multiply that now by every year the teacher is in the classroom. That’s a lot of coffee cups.

Ornaments. Unless you know your teacher is an avid collector of all things Christmas, there comes a point when their tree just can’t take anymore.

Gifts that are TOO personal. Skip the Victoria’s Secret gift certificate or the fishnet stockings. I’m not saying teachers don’t need lingerie too, but it probably shouldn’t come from their student.

Anything that says “World’s Best Teacher” on it (or anything else teacher related). They might just be the world’s best teacher. They don’t need 20 plaques that say it all over their home or classroom that were given to them by numerous students. Same goes for Chicken Soup for a Teacher’s Soul. I know the stories are tear-jerking. I also know that each teacher has probably been gifted this more than once.

Religious gifts. Saying thank you while saving their soul might not feel like much of a thank you, especially if they don’t share your faith. Just saying.

Baked goods. Some might appreciate it, but most just end up in the teacher’s lounge. Just like us, teachers are watching their waist lines too. And let’s face it, even if you are the best baker in the county there are plenty of others who are not. After years of braving mediocre homemade goodies, the teacher may just decide they can’t chance it even on your prize winning banana bread.

Scented gifts. Candles, lotions, body soaps… They might smell lovely to you, but they also might induce an allergic reaction in your teacher. Not only that, some of the lesser expensive scented gifts smell AWFUL. Best to skip it in favor of a gift card to your favorite bath shop.


Are you a teacher, daycare provider, librarian, coach, principal, teacher’s aide, bus driver…? What was the best end of year/season gift you have ever received? And are you brave enough to share the worst (I’ll totally accept anonymous comments if you’ll dish!)?

Gifts for teachers

I have a revelation for you. Your child’s teacher does not want a coffee mug this year as a holiday gift. They also don’t want gifts that say #1 Teach, or paperweights for their desk, or cute little bags, or even a new ornament for their tree. Sure, these are all very sweet ways to show appreciation for the person that spends the most time with your child outside of your family. But your child’s teacher also has up to 30 other students giving the same thing to him or her – every year.

That is a lot of stuff.

But that doesn’t mean that your teacher doesn’t appreciate something special from your child to them. Here are a couple ideas to get that #1 Teach, showing them just how much they mean to you and your child, and to present them with for the holidays.

#1. Something homemade.
The one gift a teacher appreciates the most is something that can be consumed. A holiday tray of your favorite cookies, a loaf of banana bread, or a tin of your homemade fudge is a wonderful gift to give to any teacher. Make it special with the Martha Stewart Crafts® Snowflake Compartment Treat Boxes found over at Michael’s (2775 Santa Rosa Ave, Santa Rosa and 1359 N McDowell Blvd, Petaluma), separating your treats into separate boxes for that personal touch.

#2. Chocolate
You cannot go wrong with this gift. A sweet gift of tasty morsels from a specialty chocolate store will be received so graciously! Try the ones over at Viva Cocolat in Petaluma (110 Petaluma Blvd N, Petaluma), a shop that carries some of the most beautiful gifts wrapped in decadent cocoa.

#3. Gift Card or certificate
Give the gift of caffeine cash with a card towards coffee. Treat them to dinner with a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant. Or send them over to a pretty stationery store, like Corricks in Santa Rosa (637 Fourth Street, Santa Rosa), that sells beautiful gifts and stationery any teacher might want. Or give them a way to buy more supplies for their classroom – a treasured gift every teacher needs, especially when they are spending their own money, many times, to be able to have a fully functioning classroom. A favorite store for teachers is Skool Daze (806 Piner Rd, Santa Rosa), a store that has everything a teacher might need.

#4. A new children’s book
When buying books for your kids this year, buy an extra copy and wrap it up for their teacher. It’s a safe bet that if your child loves that book, the kids in their class will love it to – for years to come. And a new book is always welcome on a teacher’s bookshelf. Check out the selection of books over at Copperfield’s Books, located in many Sonoma County locations (like 176 N Main St, Sebastopol).

#5. Keep it clean
Pretty soaps or lotions are great for a teacher to either use in the classroom, or to enjoy at home. Tuscan Garden in Petaluma (316 B Street, Petaluma) has some lovely soap by Pre de Provence in all sorts of delicious aromas.

Are you a teacher? What are some gifts that you’ve been given over the years that you especially love?

P.S.  If you need more gift ideas, be sure to visit ShopSoCo.com.  Every day they are coming up with new ideas to wrap up in a box and give to those you love.