Official Guide to Teacher Gifts


This is an “Official Guide to Teacher Gifts” because we polled ACTUAL TEACHERS. We asked teachers for their favorite and least favorite gifts. 

Here are the thoughtful responses from our teacher friends to help you select just the right gift for your child’s teacher.LEAST FAVORITE GIFTS

  • Tote Bags. There is a limit to the number of tote bags one person can use, even a teacher!
  • Candles. Most teachers already have enough candles to power Central Florida during a lengthy power outage.
  • Mugs. Every single teacher listed mugs at the top of their list of least favorite gifts. Specifically mentioned along with mugs are those gift set mugs with gourmet hot chocolate and peppermint sticks. Resist grabbing one while you wind your way through the T.J. Maxx checkout line.
  • Fragrances and Lotions. Scents are very personal. Instead of giving your child’s teacher Bath & Body Works featured seasonal hand cream, play it safe and select something from the list of “Favorite Gifts” below.

IFFY GIFTS  (listed by some as favorites and others as least favorites)

  • Homemade treats. Those who like homemade treats mentioned the happy face of the student giving the gift.  Those who would rather pass mentioned being particular about ingredients.
  • Jewelry, Scarves, Accessories. If you really know your teacher’s personal style and taste, apparel is appreciated. Otherwise, it’s probably best to steer clear or include a gift receipt.
  • Classroom Supplies. There was a real spilt on supplies as gifts. My observation was that teachers in lower income schools were happy to receive supplies.
  • Ornaments. Absolutely no one likes “#1 Teacher” ornaments. However, two teachers mentioned appreciating ornaments that remind them of the giver. One said she’d like to decorate a tree exclusively with ornaments from former students.



  • Gift Cards. It is no surprise that gift cards topped every teacher’s list. While they may seem impersonal, you really can’t go wrong with gift cards. Mentioned as particularly appreciated: restaurants, salons/mani/pedis, movie theaters, coffee shops, and everyone’s favorite – Target. If your homeroom mom provides a list of your teacher’s favorite places, your best bet is to stick to the list!
  • Cash. Really, no explanation needed.


  • Notes and Letters. Teaching is a vocation. Teachers treasure notes and letters from both parents and students telling the teacher how he or she has made a difference. One teacher wrote, “Believe me, notes telling me how much I am appreciated or thanking me for something I did are cherished. I received one a few weeks ago out of the blue and it brought me to tears while giving me a much needed reminder of why I teach.”

My recommendation for the perfect gift:

A gift card tucked into a thoughtful, handwritten note.




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