I’m not sure what’s busier, the month before Christmas or the month before school lets out for the summer. With so much going on at the school it never fails that when June hits, I’m frenzied. The other day I realized that I haven’t bought teacher gifts yet and, as always, I’m struggling to think of something they’ll like and how much to spend.
This year I called in the expertise of my friends with kids (and my mother-in-law who is a retired teacher) and I got lots of great ideas. Here’s what they had to say:
A thoughtful letter outlining what a beloved teacher has meant to a child is always appreciated. But rather than simply give it to the teacher, give a copy to the principal. That ensures a job well done doesn’t go unnoticed.
—Leslee M., mom of three
I usually end up with a budget of about $15 to $20. I have given earrings or serving platters or serving spoon sets’if I know they like to cook. I also bake banana bread and send it in to the secretaries and caretakers. When I found out my son had thrown up in class and the caretaker had to clean it up I felt he deserved a trip to Italy. But small things can go a long way’I hope!
—Sandra L., mom of two
Under $20 is good, especially if kids have more than one teacher. I give picture frames, candles, china, a nice bracelet or scarf.
—Rachel H., mom of four
I order Gifts of Hope through Plan Canada. I let my kids scroll through the online catalogue and pick food, classroom essentials or vaccinations for people in developing countries. It’s amazing to watch my kids choose a gift and realize the really basic things that other kids need. I usually also pick one other teacher to give something to (librarian, gym teacher) as they often don’t have a regular class.
—Darlene C., mom of three
For the past couple of years all the parents in my girls’ classes have gone together for a group gift. We all pitch in $10 and we buy one big thing. In the past we’ve gotten a gift certificate for a cooking class, or a spa day.
—Pam G., mom of two
We usually spend $20 to $25 per teacher. Last year we gave Chapters gift cards and movie passes. Some times I’ll let the kids pick out a nice bracelet for their teacher and I’ll buy it from an independent store so we are supporting our small city. I’ve also given baked goods and a bottle of wine. I don’t know if alcohol is appropriate, but the teachers seemed to like it.
—Jen N., mom of three
I give those chocolate-covered strawberries from Edibles to a really great teacher. They are slightly more expensive (my limit would normally be $20) but each teacher I’ve given them to is thrilled.
—Angela T., mom of two
My all time favourite gift was a pair of fishnet stockings given to me by a boy in my grade two class. His mother couldn’t apologize enough but said that he knew that I would just love them. I kept them for years but have never forgotten the boy who gave them to me.
—Linda W., retired teacher, grandma of six