Teacher Gift Ideas – Over 50 Real Teachers
Share What They Really Want

I am a huge fan of teachers (how can you not be?) and I know that every holiday, I want to find a way to show my appreciation and say thank you, but I also struggle with gift ideas for teachers.   So instead of asking my Magic 8 Ball for answers (and I have one – it’s pink – truth!),  I decided to ask teachers what it is that they really want.

I have three teachers in my own family, my brother and his wife both teach high school and my other sister in law teaches middle school.   I decided to also reach out to my daughter’s awesome teacher (3rd/4th Grade), friends I have that are teachers, as well as my awesome readers on Facebook who are teachers, and ask them – what is it you really want when it comes to gifts.   This is not a post about ideas that I have for teachers.  Or what I think teachers want.  This is what teachers themselves have shared.   So I hope this can help all of us who are looking for gift ideas for teachers.

I am going to add a disclaimer that some of the answers might not be the ones we want to hear.  I always tell my daughter, when giving a gift we want to think about what the recipient really wants/needs/likes, not what we might want them to like.  :)   I will also add that every teacher said they are incredibly appreciative ANY time anyone thinks of them or gives them a gift of ANY kind.  

So what is the number one top answer by a landslide of every teacher that I asked?

1. Teacher Gift Idea – GIFT CARDS.   You basically can not go wrong with a gift card.  It was the number one answer, and for some teachers, it was the only answer.   I know that I always feel like gift cards are impersonal.  Almost too easy.  Like I’m not putting any effort into it.   But, every teacher said that they are thrilled to receive a gift card – no matter what the amount, even that $5 gift card will be put to good use.  Visa, American Express or Target Gift Cards are all great, and teachers added that Spafinder.com, bookstore, Starbucks, office supply and restaurant gift cards are also great (nice in that those can’t be used on school supplies, as I’m sure many teachers do use their gift cards – this really makes sure that your teacher treats her or himself!).

I am working on another post (hopefully up in the next day) with some ideas for cute ways to wrap/give those gift cards, so that those of us who so badly to do something personal or “special”.

2. Teacher Gift Idea – A HAND WRITTEN NOTE OF APPRECIATION.   Most teachers mentioned that a touching letter or card about the positive impact that they have made on a child is a wonderful gift.  Teachers also added that sending a copy of this to the school principal makes it even better.   Teachers work so hard, and often for little money or thanks, so sharing your true appreciation is a gift that costs nothing, but will absolutely be appreciated.

3. Teacher Gift Idea – BAKED GOODS.  Now, let’s talk about all of the other gift ideas and comments teachers shared with me.   Since this is a baking website, let’s talk about baked goods.  The majority of teachers, while appreciating the sentiment, basically say pass on the baked goods.   The comments came back with a variety of thoughts and opinions.   Some say it makes sticking to diets incredibly hard.  Some say that due to allergies and food issues, they often don’t know or can’t eat what is made (my daughter’s 1st Grade teacher couldn’t eat gluten – a big one in baking!).   Many said they simply take the baked goods to the teacher work room and put them out for anyone who might want them.    I know fellow bakers, this is hard for us to hear.  

Apple For The Teacher Cupcakes & Ice Cream Sundae Cupcakes

What some did share is that a single, nicely packaged baked good is by far the best way to go.  One beautifully decorated cookie.   A single fancy cake pop.  One freshly made cinnamon roll.  My daughter’s teacher shared how she liked the individual cupcakes I have sent in before – they were nicely packaged and presented (always makes food more appealing) and being a single cupcake, it could be a dessert and wouldn’t go to waste.    Another baked good that has gone over well is chocolate covered pretzels.   These have a much longer shelf life than say cookies or cupcakes and ingredient wise are pretty straight forward and apparent.   I have a tutorial with a video of how I make chocolate covered pretzels if you want to try making some.

4.  Teacher Gift Idea – MAKE IT PERSONAL.   As with most people, something personal seems to go over well with most teachers.   This may not always be the easiest thing, depending on how well you know or don’t know the teacher.  In 1st and 2nd grade, I volunteered in my daughter’s classrooms weekly, and was very fortunate to get to know her teachers.   I knew her first grade teacher was planning her daughter’s wedding and in second grade the teacher had her baby at the start of the year.   For both teachers I thought more of in terms of what would I buy a friend, than a “teacher”.    At the time I ran a personalized jewelry business, and I think the necklaces that I gave out tended to be the talk of the workroom – they were always personalized with the names of the teacher’s children – something personal, not teacher related.    Given I ran the company, I could make necklaces at cost, but I did have other classes chip in to buy necklaces as a class gift for their teachers.   My daughter’s current teacher adores her dogs and the kids know that – and she has loved gifts that are centered around her dogs.   Personal, personal, personal is key.

Other personal gifts that teachers have shared that they enjoy include – personalized stationary, personalized book labels, personalized thank you cards and the like.   Last year our class gift for our teacher was a framed Wordle word cloud, where each student shared a word about the teacher (and on the back was a word cloud with the kids names on it).    Some of the latin stems and vocab words they worked on ended up in it, and our teacher says she really got a kick out of it.    From what teachers told me, I think it’s important to think of the person as a person and not just “teacher”.

5.  Teacher Gift Ideas – ORNAMENTS.  This one was very split in the answers, about half of the teachers like them, the other half can do without.  I think newer teachers enjoy them and those with decades under their belt, might have had their fill.  Some people are more sentimental than others.   I think this is once again a time when it’s nice to think of the person and not just the teacher.  A personalized ornament with their own children’s names on it might be great (my sister-in-law has a one year old son, so I’m sure that would be a hit with her), or one that speaks to their hobbies or interests.   My brother and his wife are very eco-friendly, run the recycling club at their school, green lifestyles… so a recycled materials DIY ornament project for them would probably be a huge hit, because it speaks to them as people, not just teachers.

All that said, I did make a personalized ornament for our teacher last year (each year I have a handmade gift that I make personalized versions of for many of our friends and family, and that was last year’s gift).   The ornament had each child’s name on it, the year, the school name and mascot and was done in the school colors.   While it was not expensive, it was very personalized, and hopefully captured her class for that year, in a single ornament.   (I actually love these ornaments and will do a how to post on making them – they take some time but are really fun – and can be personalized with anything, names, dates, wedding info, song lyrics…).

6.  Teacher Gift Ideas – LOTIONS, MUGS AND CANDLESWhile a few teachers mentioned these are nice, overwhelmingly, these all got a thumbs down.  I think one can only use so many mugs, and lotions, candles and their scents are really personal.   If you are in the classroom from time to time and see or know what a teacher uses, than maybe that’s a good choice.  Or possibly a Bath & Bodyworks type of gift card, but I would say these items received a “no thank you” from probably about 90% of the teachers who replied.

7.  Teacher Gift Ideas – CLASSROOM SUPPLIES – I think it goes without saying that supplies are always a very welcome gift.   My brother very specifically shared that he wanted EXPO Markers (ha, as his sister, that may be what I get him this year!).  I actually had quite a few teachers reply with “white board markers”.  Post-It’s, highlighters and other classroom supplies were all popular choices.   Our teacher has an Amazon Wish List that we can go check out – it’s great – we can see what she can use in class and get just that.   You might want to see if your teacher has one (or even suggest- hey room mom’s, that could be a great project to help out with).

8. Teacher Gift Ideas – APPLES.   Most teachers are kind of over the whole apple theme it seems.  I do like how one teacher suggested that if you want to give something “Apple” related – an Applebee’s Gift card would be great.  Or even an Apple Gift Card (so many teachers now have access to iPads and technology in class, but not always the funding for apps or cases).    So you can do apple, but maybe think more in what could be useful than what could be decorative.

I will wrap this up the apple topic with this…   My brother has always said that he is waiting for the day that a student brings him an apple.   Just a ready to eat apple.   Now, knowing him, if it’s organic and locally grown, he’d be over the moon, but it doesn’t get much simpler than that – and I can guarantee whatever kid in the Vail School District outside of Tucson that gets to that idea first, will forever be remembered by him.  :)  Sometimes it really is the simple things.

And my final thought… if you have kids that are middle schoolers or high schoolers – remember that their teachers probably see the least amount of appreciation and might spend most of their days feeling quite “unliked” by students.  Many of the elementary teachers have kids who think they walk on water and probably run up to hug them most mornings.  Parents are involved and in the classroom and know the teachers.  That falls off as kids get older.   Maybe just take a minute and write a quick thank you note to each of your teachers, and mail them to the school (in case that whole handing a card to the teacher when you are 13 is just too embarrassing).    I think something that simple and inexpensive would probably really make their day.   I watch my brother and his wife, both high school science teachers, put in unbelievable hours, volunteer their time with clubs, coach sports, mentor, tutor, do anything and everything possible, and then some.    Even if your child is 18 and a senior in high school, know that his or her teachers are working hard each day to help prepare them for the future, and try and find some small way to say thank you.  It doesn’t have to cost a thing, but might just be worth gold to those teachers.

Wait, I have a second final thought, sorry, I do that a lot.   Don’t forget the support staff!!!!   Seriously.  Is there anyone who works harder than the janitor at a school?   The lunch ladies?  The nurse?  While I know that our findings show that baked goods don’t go over well (or get eaten), but I gave them to the support staff at our school the past few years.  It was a way to do even a little something just to recognize these people who make our schools run.   Last year I made pretzels (they are my go to), and packaged them two to a bag.  I had “treat” stickers made up (through my awesome family photographer) with my kids photo on them and dropped them off at the front desk (I called a few days earlier to make sure I had a good head count on support staff).    Really, it’s such a small thing, but it’s safe to assume that a lot of duty aides, custodians, speech therapists and the like aren’t included in the teacher gifts.    I’m guessing even if someone doesn’t really want to eat someone’s baked goods, hopefully it at least brought a smile to be thought of.   So again, even if it’s a note that says “Thanks for all you do!” – please, try and do something for the support staff.  Okay, off my soapbox and back to my oven.  :)


  1. says

    Thank you so much for this incredibly helpful post! It opened my eyes for sure, even though I am a former teacher myself. I am off to rethink my gift ideas for this year.
    One thing I’d like to ask- what do teachers feel about a contribution to a class gift vs. individual gifts? Both my children’s classes are doing a big class gift (AMEX gift card) for anyone who wants to contribute. I’m unsure whether to contribute or just do my own thing. Or even both?

    • says

      Valerie – that is a great question. I find I always seem to do both, as I don’t want to say no to the group one, but I want to do one on my own as well. I think most teachers are so happy to get anything, and who wouldn’t love an Amex gift card in any amount this time of year (I’m particularly fond of Amex, hubby works there!).

    • Melissa says

      I have been a middle school teacher for 18 years and think that any teacher would be appreciative of a group gift. It really is the thought that counts…no matter what the gift!

  2. Liz N. says

    I have been waiting for a post like this for a long time! I appreciate how you touched on each gift idea thoughtfully and thoroughly. I am definitely re-thinking what gifts I give to our daughter’s teacher. Thank you for reminding me about the support staff too! Their work is equally important!

  3. Kat says

    I taught for a year before having our kids, so I knew the gift cards would be top priority and apple themed things/candles/mugs would be out. But I have to admit, I’m a bit surprised about the lotion. I’m over the moon if I’m ever given anything from Bath & Body Works, although it’s partly because they have such a great return policy I know I can exchange it for anything I want. 😉 I’m wondering if Bath & Body Works was specifically mentioned, or if it’s those cheap terrible smelling lotions from Walmart/Dollar Tree that everyone hates? I would be interested to know.

    Love your idea of room parents helping a teacher set up an amazon wishlist of supplies they need. I’ll store that away for next year when my oldest starts Kindergarten.

    • says

      Kat, some did mention B&BW. I think fragrance is so personal, that if you know what someone likes, that’s one thing. If I got anything vanilla, I’d be thrilled! If I got anything floral, I’d be re-gifting, immediately – migraine city for me, so I think it’s a matter of knowing their tatstes. Plus (and this is just as a person, not a teacher) I have eczema as does my daughter, and we can’t use most of the lotions and creams we’d like to, instead it’s the big tubs of Cetaphil (which is a kind of boring gift!). I saw a cute idea of a little one of the travel size B&BW lotions tied to a gift card for B&BW – that would be darling.

      Yes, the Amazon gift list is AWESOME. Our teacher has hers on her website. We are a close knit class (it’s a combined grade with less than 15 kids total), and it’s great o see if she needs things. They have a class hamster, and really she shouldn’t have to pay for the stuff for him, so it’s great that we can just go order what she needs. I would highly recommend that, if the teacher doesn’t have a site or one, a parent could always offer to set it up, and I’m pretty sure any teacher would be thrilled. Ours has books on hers, supplies, iPad cases, all kinds of stuff. :)

  4. says

    My daughter is in 7th grade and I still bring treats for her teachers. I’ve actually become well known for it and her teachers often ask when they’re going to get some goodies from me! One also mentioned that as the kids get older… the crafty things the parents used to send to teachers in Kindergarten and elementary school stopped. This reason is the exact reason why I will ALWAYS send in treats for my daughter’s teachers. I even told my daughter that I just might show up in college and give treats to her professors! Anyone who has a hand in educating my child deserves a THANK YOU!

    With that said… my favorite thing to give them is an individually wrapped goodie. The cupcake is a favorite of mine… but next week before they get out for Christmas break, I’ll be putting together mini plates of cookies for them. 5-6 cookies…. one of each kind I’ve made. Attached with be a little note thanking them for all they do for my daughter and wishing them a Happy Holidays. This year, one teacher told me she can’t do gluten, so I’m on a quest to find her a special gluten free treat.

    So…. although the teachers you talked to said they preferred not to have baked goods… In my experience, my daughter’s teachers love them…. especially when accompanied by a special, personal note of appreciation!

    What are you sending to your teachers this year Christi?

    • says

      Betsy, quite a few teachers mentioned that with the baked goods, knowing who they come from (and maybe different standards of cleanliness to be honest) made a difference. Mine always seem to be very well accepted, but people also know that I basically bake for a living (as well as that I have a food allergy kiddo, so I’m very aware and mark allergens as needed). So I’m thinking that there is a sliding scale when it comes to baked goods. I have no doubt yours are welcomed with wide open arms!

      Gluten free – for B’s first grade teacher I found the gluten free pretzels and made chocolate dipped pretzels. She was pretty excited, as she can never partake in the baked goods that are sent in. I also questioned another teacher who was a good friend of hers to know if I was on the right track. The gluten free Oreo type cookies are a nice option (dipped in chocolate or made into truffles). Also the gluten free Rice Krispies make a good starting point.

      I decided to go with the gift cards. I’m honest, I don’t love it, but I know they will. I did find some super cute little stockings at Target to spruce them up a bit.

      And I would love to join you in showing up at college. Right there with you! :)

  5. says

    These are great ideas, and having been a high school teacher myself, I appreciate the note about the older kids! I never got anything from my students. And I love doing one single treat. The teachers get SO much food at the holidays, it’s nice to give them one thing just for them.

  6. Melissa says

    @Valerie….class gifts are great! But often there is a legal limit on what teachers can accept. In my state we cannot accept any gift over $49, look into this first before you make any decisions :) .

    • says

      Melissa, say what??? I’ve never heard of such a thing! Wow. I guess the rebel in me would be giving my “Friend” who happens to be a “Teacher” a gift in that case. For all that teachers do and give of themselves, if someone has the means to thank them (esp if it’s a class gift card – we’ve participated in those many times) than geeze, who is to say no.

  7. Lauren says

    Thanks for writing a bit about those who teach middle or high school students. I do teach older students, and we don’t see gifts. That being said: I don’t need them (I feel blessed to have the job)–so like you said, even a written note from a parent would be a gift. Even when parents email a word of appreciation–it definitely brings joy! Thanks & have a blessed holiday!

  8. joanne says

    edible gifts (truffles, pretzels, cookies, peppermint bark, etc) that can be brought to a party or served at a holiday gathering I would think would be appreciated. I wonder how many teachers end up having to bake at all when they receive lots of edible gifts. I know I haven’t had a chance to bake YET (xmas is in 4 days!) and I would gladly take a collection of edible stuff right now just to save for Santa!

  9. marci says

    I have worked in the school for 9 years now and am glad you included the support staff as i am the secretary at our school. Which also means that i am the nurse and the janitor at times. I appreciate it so much when i am remembered at christmas time with a gift card to the local coffee joint or to a restaurant so i can grab a soda or a quick lunch. Another idea that would be helpful would be a big can of coffee for the staff lounge. We are always running out of coffee! If you are concerned about home baked goods not being eaten a deli ery from the local donut shop has always been a favorite in our building. Thank you for the great post!

  10. Brenda says

    Thank you for the post! As a former teacher, present administrator and mom of Kindergarten twin boys, I still had a hard time with ideas that meant something. I have always said/known that gift cards are the way to go. Also don’t forget during the year, the box of Joe dropped off in the office for the team at a non-holiday or expected time can be the biggest “gift”!

  11. Brandi says

    Thank you for compling this great list! Afer reading some of the other comments I wanted to add Homemade Marshmallows as a great goodie that has no allergins! I call them my Allergey Cookies and jazz them up with diffrent sanding sugars on the outside!

  12. Natalie says

    I do appreciate all the work you did trying to help us out finding the right gifts for teachers, but at the same time I think that teachers should take everything they get and appreciate it. I was a little offended by some, since I am taking the time to find the perfect gift for the teacher and spending my hard earned money on it. Teachers complain about not being recognized, but then complain about it when they are.

    • says

      Natalie, it certainly is hard to hear that what we may want to do for or give to a teacher may not be their ideal, but I think it is great that so many teachers were willing to be totally candid and honest about what they would like. I don’t think any teachers were complaining at all, simply answering the questions of what they would most like to have. I know I love to bake for teachers, but learning how much they love (and probably can really use) gift cards, it’s given me a new perspective of how I can give them what they really want, and save myself some time (though it does pain me a bit to not bake as much as I used to, it does give me time to maybe bake for someone else!).

      • Suzanne says

        I imagine that all teachers truly do love and appreciate each gift they are given. But, I am in the camp of people who only want to give a gift that someone really needs or wants. I don’t want to waste my time or money on things that someone doesn’t need or like. I actually sent an email to each of my kids’ teachers asking them specific questions (favorite stores, restaurants, colors, do they like jewelry, etc). This list is wonderful! Thanks for taking the time to put it together and for asking all of the teachers their personal and honest opinions!

  13. says

    Thanks for the ideas! As the kid of a teacher, I remember the large box of treats that came home at Christmas. My mom never touched them (didn’t like chocolate), but us kids looked forward to it. :-) She was always appreciative of the thoughtfulness. But I learned from her that classroom supplies where always a good choice. I am always clicking on these teacher gift links, looking for fun ways to package them . Thanks for all the help!

  14. Marilyn says

    I taught for. Thirty years. Now I sub and love it. A BIG bowl of candies or m and m’ s or a sweet and salty mix left in the break room can be enjoyed by teachers, administrators and staff alike. A nice note of gratitude can be placed beside it. I have done white candy popcorn, cranberry, pretzel and pecan trail mix and even animal crackers and instant hot chocolate mix. It is amazing how quickly it disappears. Really, teachers are just overgrown kids, they adore treats.

  15. says

    Every year we ask our teachers to fill out cards answering the following questions. Then we assemble a teacher tree with the teacher’s names on it and cards under their names with the answers to the following questions. When a parent or student sees something under that teacher’s name that they want to get for that teacher they tear off that card.
    The questions are:
    Favorite snack, favorite drink, classroom supplies they wish for , classroom supplies they need, favorite places to eat, favorite places to shop, hobbies, things they would like for their hobby, a book, movie, or music they would like.

  16. says

    What a fantastic article! I love all of these ideas! Every year I try to come up with a cute knitted gift that I can give with a handwritten note for our teachers about how special they are. It’s also great if you can just randomly give in those quiet times when teachers aren’t actually getting bombarded with gifts, but those long months of testing or report card craziness that really taps them out.

    I just shared this with our Facebook community! You are awesome!

    • says

      Thank you so much Amy! I seriously can’t say enough about teacher and the school staff. Where would our kids be without them. And I think you are so right, that sometimes those quiet times are wonderful for sharing and showing our appreciation. I see how hard my daughter’s teachers work and the hours and dedication my brother and sister-in-law put in, and we all know that it’s a labor of love because the pay certainly doesn’t match what they do. So any way we can say thanks, I am all about. Thanks so much for sharing Amy!

  17. Linda says

    You mentioned support help, but didn’t mention Paraprofessionals (para pros). Please don’t forget them. They actually work with your children just as the teachers do. They make very little money, but have a hugh impact on your children. And don’t forget the media center or library workers. They also work with and help your children tremendously. Thanks!

    • says

      Linda, absolutely. I think it’s probably impossible for me to get every name of everyone (thus “support staff”) but every single person in our schools makes a tremendous difference. Thank you!

  18. Amy H. says

    As a high school teacher, I must agree with just about everything your teacher participants said! I know for me personally, just a nice note means so much. I never expect gifts because doing something for every teacher a high school student has can get pricey. It’s always nice to be remembered and appreciated by the kid and their family around the holidays!

  19. says

    Don’t forget the support staff…Special Education Teachers, Speech Therapists, OT/PT, RTI Teachers, etc. While these people may not work directly with your child, they may come into your child’s classroom weekly or daily to work with the whole class while providing therapy to a handful of students. I taught special education for 4 years and received 1 gift. I know it’s not important that I got anything, but being recognized as a valuable member of the staff (especially when the administration doesn’t always do so) is VERY important. My husband is a special education teacher in the middle school. He works on a team of 6th grade teachers, and often all of the other teachers on his team receive gifts, but he is left out. Always check to see who works with your child’s class!

    • says

      Wow Whitney, that makes me sad! I almost think that if your child has special needs (both of mine do) that it should go with out saying that if you are buying gifts, that gifts for the therapists/teachers/aides are right there with gifts for the teachers, because they are a crucial part of our kids education. Between my two kids we have three SLPs and two OTs, and there are no words to express how much we value them. I almost don’t think of them as teachers, they’ve darn near crossed the line into what I would call my friends. Granted, my little one is still in preschool, but I can’t imagine as years going by that we’d forget a single one of them. Our special needs staff makes my world go round and are the biggest support system I have with my kids, so trust me, I value what you and your husband do more than I can say!

    • Melissa says

      Last year I received two gifts… one from a student whose mother was extremely upset with me a week prior to Christmas. She gave each of her middle school teachers a mug (most like the ones found at Big Lots) with 2 individual packets of hot cocoa mix and a candy cane. The student and Mom were extremely happy while delivering these after school on the last day before break! Did I need another coffee mug? – No, but I was so appreciative of the thoughtfulness. I teach in a low income school and so any gift or card given is acknowledged with gratitude!

      The other gift was a homemade mini cake which was made by a Mom who happens to also be a teacher in our district. I’ve taught in several schools over the years and, sadly, you do have to consider the source when it comes to homemade treats. With that said, homemade treats (or crafts made by the children) are some of my most memorable and favorite gifts!

  20. Sarah says

    PLEASE teacher’s be grateful for what you receive from your students. I have read so many posts over the years from teachers astoundingly complaining about yet another candle, bottle of lotion, stationary etc. and just wanting gift cards. Gift cards are boring and I find asking for them rude – might as well ask for cash.

    All these “don’t get me this” lists online about a gift given to someone to show appreciation – I find it sad. It makes parents and students feel awful to see their “don’t get me this” items on all these websites from teachers. I have seen women really worried that they gave the wrong gift to a teacher and that the teacher just dumped it into the trash. Yes, you’d be shocked at the number of teachers online who have admitted to throwing gifts into the trash- mainly food related items and re-gifting lotions etc. So, nope – not baking teachers anything.

    What I find interesting is that most of the approved items above are the same exact items I have seen on teacher websites saying they don’t want. As a parent, you can’t win! All I know is that I have lost the desire to give anyone anything due to teacher complaints.

    • says

      Wow Sarah, it makes me sad you feel so strongly against teachers giving their very honest answers. I think I started the post by saying that across the board, EVERY teacher was so thankful any time they received anything, and most said that a very thoughtful card or letter would be the best gift.

      I asked them what they would like, and they were kind enough to share their honest opinions. I always tell my daughters that when we give gifts we should consider what the recipient might want, not what we might want. Are gift cards boring, absolutely! Do I like giving them, heck no! But does it make me happy to think that maybe one of my teachers can use a few of the gift cards she gets to buy something she’s wanted for the past year or go out for a nice dinner (neither of which I could afford to fund on my own)? Heck yeah! And MANY teachers stated they use those gift cards to buy supplies for class, things to benefit our kids. I guess as a parent I’m not terribly worried about winning, just showing some appreciation to those who do so much for our kids, and if I can give them what they really want, then I guess I think that is winning, because when I give a gift, my goal is giving the recipient something they can use or enjoy. Just my two cents.

  21. Kate S says

    I’m not against teacher gifts… but I’ll tell you why a number of them don’t like getting baked goods…. ummmm not everyone’s kitchen is, uhhh , well some people just are a little careless with regard to cleanliness. People who let cats on the kitchen counters… Not saying that anyone at this blog and commenting here would be of that sort… but if the teacher doesn’t know the parents very well and this is more of the middle & high school age… they have 6-8 classes of 30 or so students ..180 plus parents. So unless you live in a small community, a teacher’s not going to know personal style of parents..
    So I’m saying that if you have a need to give food gifts…. stick to brand names, maybe repackaged in a holiday style..

  22. Mandy says

    A former teacher and now support staff, I must say anything is nice! I will say as a parent we have purchased a new item, game, toy or want for the whole class to enjoy! Also small items such as a festive note pad or kitchen towel can be nice for the lunch ladies or office staff. Happy holidays!

  23. Debbie says

    I’m surprised there is no mention of “goats and chickens”. So many of the child sponsorship programs have gift catalogues. As a teacher, I love when someone gives a chicken or a soccer ball in my name. I don’t need “stuff” but kids in developing nations sure do!

  24. Tracy says

    Thank you for collecting this list of what teachers really want. I personally would not cook/make any snacks/food for a teacher or a neighbor etc. Not only do individuals have food allergies and intolerances but then there are many people with diabetes, those that can’t eat nuts due to stomach issues etc. I personally would not want something cooked from someone’s house that I had never been too. I think sending choloate pretzels for “just the support staff” signifies that they are not as important ….especially when you say teachers don’t want it but you’ll send it to the other staff. Most people are not going to say I hate pretzels or I can’t eat them…they are going to say Thank you. But if your study shows that don’t care for homemade food then don’t make it. You can make for your family who will appreciate it and be honest because they are related. Just my thought. Love your other ideas!!

    • says

      Thanks for your thoughts Tracy. While I wish I could afford to buy gifts for all of the support staff at both of my daughters’ schools, that’s not quite possible, after buying gifts for all of their teachers, therapists and duty aides (it would likely double my entire holiday shopping budget!). So I’ve made the choice to try and do a little something (pretzels & a card) that they can choose to eat or toss, totally their choice, it’s just a way of at least showing them they are thought of, even if they have never interacted with or even know who my kids are. :)

  25. Jeannie says

    I’m surprised at some of the harsh replies you have gotten because this is a wonderful and thorough list. Thank you for the insight into a teacher because I have never been one and have been thinking about how to honor the teachers and staff in my kiddos life this Christmas season. I’m excited to look up your ornament idea! Maybe that with a gcard. My other thought is a red box gift card with a bag of popcorn. Thanks for the great post!

  26. Rachel says

    This is an excellent post. I’ve been a high school teacher for 11 years, and I can’t remember more than maybe 5 out of possibly 1,000 students expressing/showing any amount of appreciation in the form of a gift. While it is certainly not expected, it means the WORLD to me when they do it. For this reason, I’ve been very careful to make sure we are intentional about giving gifts to our boys’ teachers (elementary) and will continue to do so until they graduate high school. And given that I know firsthand how hard the support staff works, we also recognize them. So thank you VERY VERY much for mentioning this essential aspect of daily school functioning. I appreciate the feedback you’ve shared from teachers, especially about the baked goods. Very helpful post!!


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