I feel strongly that teachers are the unsung heroes of my children’s lives right now. Each day I hear more about teachers than I do friends. If Mrs. Smith was in a fantastic mood and handed out compliments, my son comes home beaming. When my daughter requested additional supplies to organize her notebook, I know that is from the influence of her science teacher, notorious for her OCD methods in the classroom. 

And now, here at Christmas, I want to thank these incredible educational soldiers who continue to fill my children up with new information, learning strategies, and genuine interest in the world around them.

So, this year I’m going to be giving them a TRIP TO HAWAII! Just kidding – I wish I could do that as I believe they deserve it. No, I’m sticking with the budget we’ve planned and so I’ve researched and found some options.

Here are my top 3 suggestions for easy, affordable teacher gifts:

Something Personalized

personalized tote

Teachers are constantly traveling with papers, materials, etc. Plus, they take breaks in the teacher’s lounge, where it can be all to easy to get belongings mixed up. Think personalized lunch bags, pencils, coffee sleeves, and totes. Stores like Things Remembered have a great selection of basics that can be monogrammed or personalized to fit the teacher.

Stationary items are also a big hit. Teachers take notes and send welcomes and thanks yous all the time. Give the gift of a cute set of notecards, sticky notes, or even a notepad. For as little as $10, you can give a completely custom gift that is sure to make them smile.

A Gift Basket

DIY Gift Basket

Before you dismiss this one – think about it. Who doesn’t love a gift basket when it’s packed with the right things?

Your kids spend a lot of time with their teachers. I promise they know a teacher’s hobbies, interests, sports team, alma matter and favorite color.  Pick a combo of any of the above and create a mini-gift basket. Again, keep it simple. You’d be surprised how big of an impact this can have. I know a teacher last year whose favorite gift was a plastic college tumbler full of iced tea packets (her favorite drink).

Perhaps you have multiple teachers. Enlist a couple of fellow parents to spread out both the costs and time, with no compromise to the gifts.

Check out these wonderful examples of DIY gift baskets for under $25!

A Gift Card


This one also fall into the ho-hum category. The gift card does appear to have taken some of the fun out of Christmas gifts. However, I plead the case for teachers to remain recipients as this is one place where the gift card really does go a long way. Teachers are notoriously underpaid and overworked and spend their own dollars on classroom supplies. Give them the opportunity to go out and buy something they would really enjoy.

For some extra clever and cute ways to deliver those grin-worthy gift cards, see these ideas from Real Simple.

So, while we are down to the last minute count before school lets out for Christmas, with these easy, affordable gift ideas, there is plenty of time to give something they will really love without blowing the Christmas budget.