There are certain times of the year when teacher gifts are kind of the thing to do. Think: Teacher appreciation week in May, end of the school year and the Christmas/Hanukkah/winter holidays.
You don’t have to, but it’s good etiquette to do so. Even if you don’t love your child’s teacher or teachers, it’s nice to thank them for putting up with your kid.
We hear from our teacher friends about what they are given and what they’d really like to receive. Here are some ideas;
Not food. Why? You might not know if your kid’s teacher has an allergy or is trying to lose weight or be healthier, or just doesn’t like the food item you have provided. (Confession: We break this rule every year when my kids show up with Girl Scout chocolate covered pretzels in December. So, let me apologize right now. The pretzels are doing a good thing, though: This year, the money raised by us buying the pretzels has helped my daughter build a butterfly garden at her school as her Girl Scout Silver Project, which is akin to the Boy Scout Eagle Project.)
Gift cards to something that is not school-related. Think about opportunities for them to pamper themselves. Find out what their favorite restaurant is or favorite store. Try not to make it something utilitarian. The teachers in our life have a tendency to do things like buy supplies for their class rather than pamper themselves.
A pamper-yourself basket. Try to avoid hand lotion and candles because like the food items, teachers get a ton of that and they can be really smelly. Think about some fuzzy socks, a fun magazine, some playing cards or a game — anything your teacher likes to do.
A germ-protection basket. This is the time of the year when your kids are germy and think about that times 25 in a class. Plus flu season is expected to be bad this year. Fill a basket with some antibacterial wipes or gel, a funny mug with some tea and honey, cough drops, Airborne gummies, some oranges, tissues, a gift card to CVS or Walgreens. Include a funny apology note in advance if your kid makes them sick.
A thank-you note from you and from your child. That means even more than any material item. Make sure it’s sincere, though. Highlight all the ways they have helped your child and all the things your child has learned. They will keep these notes forever. My mom still has many of the ones she received. The dearest ones to her: The ones that came from the especially difficult child or parent — especially the ones that came years later. These notes are a reminder of how much of a difference she made to that child.
Bonus: If you know your teacher’s favorite charity, consider making a donation. She’ll know you thought of her; your gift will be doing a lot of good for a cause she supports.