The End Is Near! Gifts for Teachers….

Man with gift

There are soooo many occasions during the year to be a gift giver.  Christmas, Hannakuh, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Administrative Assistants’ Day, Bosses’ Day, Birthdays, Anniversaries…man, it’s exhausting.  And that’s before your kids start school! Now you have other kids’ birthdays to consider besides your own and your nieces and nephews that, despite a desperate attempt at organizing, you never remember.  In addition to remembering permission slips, lunch every day and to keep up with laundry so your darling child has clean matching socks every day (every day?) you also have the End of Year gift to add to your repertoire.   Ack!

But here’s the skinny:  you can’t stop this train.  This is going to happen every year and you are going to want to commemorate it with a token, a note or an elaborate gift.  So embrace the madness and instead of letting it catch you off guard, plan in advance.  Budget.  You’re a grown up now, you should have non-holiday wrapping paper, tape and scissors in your house at any time.  Plus these are some pretty important men and women in your kiddos’ lives.

For this End-of-Year Gift Guide I went straight to the horses’ mouths, the teachers.  (I double checked the grammar on that one…because of the audience, of course.)   “What do you like?” I asked them.  “I mean, of course you are incredible, selfless people and so you love everything, but if you really could drop a hint, if there really was a gift that you could use, appreciate, treasure…what would it be?”  I assume bath salts and scented candles abound at their homes.  I imagine their closets are teeming with the annual accumulation of tat.  The truth is, though, they really are a loving and selfless bunch.  Most of what I got back was a confirmation that they genuinely do love and appreciate anything and everything!  However, I did manage to get a few more ideas.   This is what they said they REALLY want.  Not counting, of course, these gifts.  

 restaurant photography

Gift Card to a local restaurant.  $25 to $250.
Think of a restaurant that is near where your teacher lives or near the school.  Pick one that is high-end and serves booze.  You may not believe this but your little angel can be quite a handful Monday to Friday 8am to 4pm. 

 visagiftcard222Visa / American Express gift cards.  $25 to $250
Let the recipient pick their gift in the privacy of their own Target.  

Fresh-Flowers-Cotton-Candy
 
Fresh flowers.  $0 to $100 
This is a good one for the teachers who eschew “things”  and are often well received when made up of wild flowers collected by your child on the walk to school.  
 

Maison du Prix Wines

Wine.  $10 to $100
There is this bizarre idea that because teachers are in charge of little kids they spend their afternoons and weekends catching up on Sponge Bob and Pinterest.  The truth is they DO have a life.  A nice bottle of wine is a great gift idea.  Think white for the summer, red for the winter.   If you don’t trust your local wine merchant (or if that local wine merchant is your corner grocery) try Maison du Prix wines.  Available online and all of her (yes, her) wines are stunners.
 
Thank you note
A card or a letter from a student $0
This works equally well for a toddler to a high school graduate.  Just a note saying, “I LOVE YOU” or “You know, you made a tremendous impact on my life this year” can often be the best gift a teacher can receive.
 
Coffee shop Coffee shop gift cards.  $10 to $50
.  Remember when I broke the news to you that teachers like wine?  Well sometimes they drink it with friends until too late at night and they need a nice bright pick me up the next day.  Let them know you care by buying them an extra shot of espresso at a coffee shop in the ‘hood.  (The last part is important).
 
Learning pottery 
An interesting picture of the teacher.  $1 to $30
 Teachers are usually really proud of what they do.  Give them a small (no bigger than 5×7) photo of them with your darling little angel.  You can snap it on your iPhone, sexy it up with some app and then print to Walgreens or Shutterfly.  All while waiting in line at carpool.
 child making a donation (from iStockphoto)
Donation to their favorite charity.  $10 to $100
Teachers care.  Usually about other people.  A donation to a charity that is near and dear to their heart  is a great gift idea.  Like many gifts, this shows how much you have gotten to know your child’s second mom or dad throughout the semester.  Do they have a child in the military?  Are they big lovers of the arts?  Are they survivors?  Do they sit on any particular boards?   Make this something that is special for them.
 
deandeluca-instore-580cs111209
Really awesome food.  $15 to $150
Okay.  Sit down for this one.  I don’t mean “awesome” like a paper plate of burnt cut-and-bake Pillsbury chocolate chip cookies that your kids made the night before the last day of school.  (Although I do know some teachers who would be so touched that the kids so clearly made it that they would love them and would proudly serve them along their prize turkey at Thanksgiving, but c’mon.  We can do better).  I’m talking about mail order steak.  Whole Foods.  Dean & Deluca. A gift card to a fancy fish shop.  Super awesome balsamic vinaigrette.  Gourmet sausages from a local butcher (packed in ice and able to survive the 8 hours until they get home, please).  
 
Photo from USA-Today / Spafinder
Spaaaaaaaaaah.  $25 to $250
 If you just can’t stump up for the wine or your child’s teacher is a teetotler, go for a spa gift certificate.   Even teachers like to be pampered and taken away from a life of chewing crayons and dogs eating homework. 
Amazon-Free-Shipping
Amazon gift card.  $25 to $250
Deliver some happy.
imgres
iTunes gift card.  $20 to $50
Deliver some Happy.  
(See what I’ve done there?  I think people usually don’t get my jokes).  
 
 
Portlandia
Local goods.  $15 to $100
Are you somewhere crafty?  Brooklyn?  New Orleans?  Portland?  Think of local artisans, artists, musicians and  author whose work you love and whom you would like to share with others.   Or are YOU a local artisan, artist or musician? (A good one?)  I have a few good friends who are unbelievably good photographers.  A gift from them would be a centerpiece for anyone’s home.  Do you have hidden or maybe not so hidden talents? 
 
prinstagr.am
Prinstagr.am $25 to $25
Okay, put this one in your pocket for next year:  Create an Instagram account and archive the whole school year.   Field trip to the Egyptian museum?  Grab a funny photo.  First day of school?  School festival?  Grab a shot whenever you can, ask fellow parents for theirs too, put 50 to 500 of them together and give them a poster of their year. Sooooo awesome.
 
Art supplies for school teachers  Art supplies.  $10 to $100
And lastly, do you have kleenex?  Public school teachers told me that while they love gifts, instead of another scented candle, they would LOVE boxes of crayons, paper, markers, glue, kiddie sized scissors, containers… all those wonderful things that make school fun but that they just don’t have the money for.  Oh, and some booze.
 
 
 
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