It’s the holiday season again and you’re making your gift-giving list. But finances are tight or you are trying to teach your children the holidays are not all about the commercialism of gift giving. With that in mind, read on for some free or low-cost gift ideas for teachers.
Give the Teacher a Letter
All of the teachers I consulted for this article agreed that the best thing was just to be acknowledged and appreciated. Why not get your children to write a letter to the teacher as a gift? Here are some ideas of what they could write about if a blank page is intimidating them:
- List the top ten reasons they like the teacher.
- Share a story of a time the teacher helped them in school.
- Tell the teacher why she inspires them.
- Share a story of when the teacher helped them get over a hurdle.
- Tell the teacher how the was instrumental in helping them reach a goal they had set.
If the children are too young to write a letter, have them draw a picture of the teacher at a moment that was special to them.
It’s easy to type the letter up on the computer but take it a step further; hand write the letter on nice stationery and put it in a matching envelope, if possible. The personal touch will go a long way toward making the letter even more meaningful.
Consider including a letter for the teacher from yourself as well. Opt to make it as tailored to the teacher as possible. Instead of saying, “Johnny likes having you as a teacher” or “You have helped Susie become a better student,” be more exact. Mention positive things your child has said about the teacher or how he or she has specifically helped your child become better at something. Mention detailed ways your child has thrived under the teacher’s guidance. Don’t worry about your penmanship or grammar; it’s the sentiment behind your words that is the only thing that matters.
Give the Teacher a Free Lunch
Chase, a student at the Bearspaw School in the Calgary, Alberta, area gives her teacher a free lunch coupon every holiday season. She makes up a menu for the teacher to order from, giving four or five different options for each one of the following: appetizer, main course, sides, dessert, and drink. She also includes a print-off of the upcoming January calendar so the teacher can circle the date she would like the lunch. The morning of the chosen lunch date, Chase assembles the food in microwavable containers (the teachers have a microwave in the staff room) and into a small picnic basket that she takes to school that day for the teacher. At the end of the school day, Chase collects the basket and containers to take home.
More Almost-Free Teacher Gift Ideas
Here are more gift ideas that won’t break the budget:
- Teachers are always giving out awards to students for the most improved, most outstanding, and such. Why not have your child make the teacher a best teacher award, either diploma style or in the form of a plaque, trophy, or ribbon.
- Since it is the holiday season, an ornament is always an appreciated gesture. Use craft supplies, pictures, and anything else you have on hand to make an ornament tailored to the teacher who will be receiving it.
- Bring out the craft box and ask your children to make a gift for their teacher. See what their creative mind ends up with.
- If you have school supplies, stickers, books, and other things teachers use in their classroom that are in good shape, they make good gifts.
- Cookie mix in a jar is a much-appreciated gift for those who have a sweet tooth.
- If the teacher is a gardener, take a cutting from your healthiest plant.
- If you have rubber stamps, use them to personalize some stationery for the teacher with stamps that are geared for his interests.
- If you know the teacher and her family well, give them a coupon for a free night of babysitting or a weekend of pet sitting.
No matter what gift you give a teacher, the fact that it comes from their student’s heart will have more meaning than a costly gift with no thought behind it.
Whether you write a letter, buy a gift, or make something, by keeping the teacher’s interests and personality in mind, you’ll end up with the ideal holiday present for your child’s teacher.