Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Teacher Gift Ideas - Do's and Don'ts

As the countdown to Christmas ticks on, many of us are left to scramble for last minute gifts. Often times those last minute buys are Christmas gifts for a child's teacher. Please......coming from a teacher, step AWAY from the teacher gear (I will give you other ideas below)!!!!

I feel bad saying this because it was kind of the families to remember me yet, there are only so many apple figurines and pencil ornaments one can stomach. I was only a classroom teacher for three years before I began to stay at home to be with Madeline, but in those three years I received enough teacher stuff to last a lifetime. I kept a few special items for home, I am storing a boxful of items for when I return to teaching to use as classroom decorations but I also sold a bunch of stuff at a garage sale. As I write this, I am continuing to feel guilty about this but seriously, WHAT am I going to do with it all?

As I am Christmas shopping, I have overheard people oooohhhhing and aaaahhhhing over some trinket. These shoppers said that they could purchase it for their kid's teacher. I was so tempted to tell them, "Don't do it!" So, what should you get?

Rule of thumb DON'Ts
- back away from anything that has an apple, chalkboard, pencil or ruler on it or anything that says "World's Best Teacher".
-Don't gift homemade foods. Although I (over)indulged in the treats, I know that many teachers do not eat any homemade treats unless they know the family well.
-Don't buy candy. Unless you know the teacher is a chocoholic, there is soooooo much of that floating around this time of year. Last thing anyone needs is 20 boxes of chocolate. I will admit, I have re-gifted a box or two.
-Don't buy any Christmas decorations (even if they are not teacher themed). Don't *you* have your own sentimental ornaments at home that you pull out from year to year? Don't *you* have an overload of generic ornaments? I am sure your child's teacher does too.

Rule of thumb DOs
-I know people don't want to spend a lot of money on teacher gifts and you can actually get nice items for the same cost or less than what you might pay for the "teacher gear"....but, THINK PRACTICAL!
-If you absolutely *must* buy apple gear, get note cards or notepads. Teachers use tons of them for notes home, etc. And worst case scenario, the teacher can use them at home too.
-Think of items that people can use more than one of.....don't worry about it being impersonal. No matter how nice the teacher is, it is in fact still a professional relationship.
-Don't snub the dollar sections at Target. They have nice items that can be paired with something else to make a nice gift. For example, what about a pair of fuzzy, warm stay-at-home socks that can be paired with a lotion from the dollar section.
-Consumable items are always good because they are practical and don't need to be stored. Example - monogrammed or festive comical beverage napkins that can be bought in the party supply store paired with something else that could be used for entertaining during the holidays.
-Bath and Body Works often has sales 4 for $10 of the fancy pump hand soaps/lotions. You can't believe how dry your hands get from handling chalk all day and from washing your hands a billion times.
-Pair a chapstick, hand lotion,and magic gloves in a nice gift bag (all of which could probably be found in the Dollar Store).
-Another idea that some teachers benefited from is that sometimes room-mothers often organized to pool gift $ donations from parents. The room-mother would shop for one gift from the class (such as dinner/movie certificates that would be good for an evening out)
-Finally, don't for a second think that a gift certificate would go unappreciated. Even if you are only willing to spend $5, I would much rather receive a $5 gift certificate to Tim Horton's rather than a $15 personalized apple ornament. With my Horton's gift certificate I could treat myself to a coffee and donut on my way to work.

Also, I like to catch sales after Christmas. It's not only picked over crap that is left behind in January. If you are a shopper at heart, you can find great deals after the holiday. Pick up some pretty mittens, cozy socks, candles, etc and store them and tuck them in your "future gifts" corner in you closet. Certainly there will be someone that you can gift them to in the new year.

Happy Shopping!

1 comment:

Jaylyn said...

Interesting post..! Christmas is coming up quickly and I am so excited.