10 Gifts Your Teacher Actually Wants

Great gift ideas from a former teacher.

As a former teacher, I have had my fair share of gifts, and at the end of the day it really is the thought that counts. Let’s just say, post-covid, there are definitely things that you want to avoid giving, such as home-baked goods, or previously used items from around the house. Most, if not all, of these things will be tossed, unfortunately. That being said, it does not mean you have to give elaborate gifts to show your teachers you care! 

Best Gift Ideas for Teachers

So, what do you give to your kids’ teachers that work so hard? Holiday shopping is well underway, and if you are struggling like I often am to know what to get the teachers in your life, have I got the list for you! Here are 10 gifts your teacher actually wants:  

1. Handmade Items

Just because baked goods are out of the question, does not mean that handmade items are! Heartfelt cards, ornaments and gifts from the actual student always meant so much to me. There are some really cute ideas online, but it does not need to be fancy when it is from the heart. I had a student make me a book of poetry and nursery rhymes with hand drawn art when I was expecting my first little girl that brought me to tears. Kids are the best! 

2. Wishlist

If your teacher provides you with an Amazon wishlist or any wish list with items he or she would like for the classroom, start there. They have obviously taken the time to create the list and would like these specific items for the classroom, so it is the perfect place to begin. The thing I love about this idea is that items will not be duplicated. Once an item is purchased, it is removed. Pair that with a handmade card and you are golden.

3. Favorite Things

Does your school provide a list of teachers’ favorite things? If so, go straight to that list and you will never go wrong. If your school does not provide this information, you have two options: ask your teacher directly, or my favorite, go rogue. (Hint: Your favorites are probably their favorite, or they could be!) Favorite colors, teams, drinks, places to eat are just a few things you can base a gift around. If in doubt, no one ever turned their nose up at a Starbucks gift card or local coffee/tea shop! Just Love Coffee Cafe is one of my favorites. 

4. Experiences

You can give your teacher a gift their whole family can benefit from. An experience of visiting Newfields, the Indianapolis Zoo, Conner Prairie, or Flix Brewhouse for a good holiday movie are just a few ideas. Think local and roll with it! 


5. Luxury or Self-Care

On many occasions, a teacher will go without because the budget does not allow for luxury items, and it is just not their first priority. The gift of a manicure, pedicure or massage is always a win! Polish in Carmel is one of my new favorites if you go this route! 

6. Indoor Plants

Plants bring oxygen and they bring joy. All of that natural freshness will brighten any winter day. If your teachers is allowed to leave plants in the classroom, that is a nice way to bring the outdoors in! You can even have your child decorate the pot, if you want. Recently, a teacher I know had her students use paint sticks on pottery and it worked like a gem! Quick, easy and beautiful. 

7. Snacks!

Most teachers keep snacks on hand if they forget their lunch or are rushed in the mornings. Grab-and-go snacks are a must for a busy teacher! You can refer to their favorite things list and compile some easy snacks for them to keep right at their desk. Again, avoid homemade goods unless you are a professional. A mix of savory and sweet, non-perishable snacks are best.

8. Anything Cozy

In the words of my 4 year old, “Keep them cozy!” I laughed when she said it, but she is not wrong. Often teachers have bus or recess duty and gloves, hats, scarves and headbands will keep them warm and stylish when they are supervising in the cold. Beyond that, cozy blankets or slippers are also nice for home over winter break.

9. Local Spots

Local spots to eat or shop can be a great place to find a perfect gift. Late Harvest, St. Elmo’s, Convivio, The Monk’s, Los Arroyos, are among some of the more upscale local eats that seem to be loved by all. Shops like Silver in the City or Twisted Sisters can give you some great and unique gift finds, as well. 

10. Gift Cards

Last but certainly not least: Grab a gift card. All the teachers I know LOVE a good gift card. So when all else fails or when time closes in, gift cards are the way to go! Amazon and Target are overall favorites. Check Pinterest for some cutesy ideas if you want to spruce them up, but honestly any gift card will be a hit!  

Hope this helps anyone struggling to find the perfect teacher gifts this holiday season. Sometimes in the hustle, we forget what it is all about. Gifts are meant to spread joy and cheer — not cause a panic. So try to remember to keep calm and give from the heart! Happy shopping!  

Related Articles



From our Sponsors