What Teachers Really Want for the Holidays

Alright folks, if you have been hanging around this blog for a while, then you might recognize this post. I wrote the first incarnation of it a couple of years ago, back when I was still teaching, but I figured it was time for a refresher. And while I am no longer teaching, my husband and most of my friends still are, so this is a PSA for them!

First, the things teachers do want:

  1. Gift Cards: Most school districts have rules about teachers accepting cash, so a gift card is the next best thing. Teachers love gift cards, and this is hands down the best gift to receive from students. Some gift cards that are always a hit with teachers: Starbucks, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and of course, BevMo. True story, my husband had a student who brought him a bottle of wine for Christmas. That kid  (and his mom) was a hero. However, I’m sure many schools have rules against that kind of thing, so maybe just go with the BevMo gift card to be safe.
  2. Food: This is most of what my husband brings home, and I ain’t complaining. Baked goods, boxes of candy, if it’s edible, it’s usually a good gift. For the most part, any yummy goodies delivered to teachers will be eaten by them (and the lucky people who live with them), but even if they themselves don’t want to partake, they can pass the goods along to friends and family.
  3. Something Personal: I feel like there should be a big ole asterisk next to this one because it should be used sparingly. When I was teaching theater, I had a more personal relationship with my students than when I was teaching English simply because I spent way more time with them. They knew me as a person (as did many of their parents), not just as a teacher. Many of them got me awesome personal gifts over the years (mostly Disney related) and I still have all of them. Some of my favorites are a Walt Disney quote necklace, Disney ornaments, and a baby blue stuffed Mickey Mouse for Squirt.  If you are going to venture into the something personal category for a teacher, make sure it is thoughtful and from the heart.

And now for the hard part, the things teachers really don’t want. Yes, I know, it’s the thought that counts, but the thought should be about the receiver, not the giver, and I’m just trying to save you a little money, and save teachers the guilt they feel when they toss student presents in the trash.

  1. Lotions/body washes/anything to be used in the bathroom: This seemed like kind of a go-to gift when I was teaching. For the most part, I don’t mind these gifts, but it got to the point when I had so many that I started re-gifting them. I can only use so much lotion in one year. I also got to the point (when I was making more money) where I could afford to buy the lotions and scents I wanted on my own, and so the holiday gift sets became a total waste. Also, just a reminder that some people have sensitivities to scents, or to beauty products, so a lot of the Bath and Body Works combos are given away or trashed.
  2. Anything you saw on Pinterest: Oh Pinterest, you have done so much good for the world, and yet caused so much pain. Teachers DO NOT want any craft made from crayons, pencils, or any other school supplies. Teachers do not need monogrammed signs shaped out of rulers. Teachers do not want homemade body scrub in a Mason jar. Teachers do not need Christmas ornaments made out of popsicle sticks. By the time you buy all of those craft supplies, you could have just gotten them something they actually want. The only acceptable thing to craft from Pinterest is a cute gift card holder (see above). Seriously, back away from the Pinterest.
  3. Anything that includes a framed picture of your child: Chances are, that’s the child your teacher might want to forget. #sorrynotsorry

Alrighty folks, there you have it, the blunt, honest truth. Please, please, please save yourselves and your kids’ teachers a lot of trouble this year and go for the gift card. Teachers work hard, and they deserve the very best for the holidays. Give them what they want!

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