If you have children in school, you may be searching for a special gift to say “thanks” to their teachers. Here’s a tip: If a teacher has been working for any length of time, she’s probably received her fair share of “#1 Teacher” mugs, pens, T-shirts and other teacher-friendly swag.
If you’re going to spend even a small amount of money, you might as well get gifts that your kids’ teachers will appreciate and use. Here are a few suggestions to get your wheels turning.
The gift of reading
If your teacher has an e-reader, pool together with some friends and give an instant summer reading library. Have each family pick an electronic book to give. You can find books for as little as $0.99, making this an affordable option for all families. Shop the Amazon Kindle store or the NOOK Book Store.
The gift of food
Homemade treats are thoughtful and delicious, but the truth is some teachers are reluctant to eat goodies from mystery kitchens. Instead, pick a theme and give them all the ingredients to make their own meal. They can celebrate the first day of summer with your Mexican-inspired basket complete with chips, salsa and margarita mix.
The gift of giving
Make a donation to a children’s charity on behalf of your teacher. If you don’t know a cause that is special to your teacher, go with a charity that supports literacy or promotes the arts in schools.
The gift of memories
Crafty projects are thoughtful, but teachers just don’t have room to store years and years worth. Here’s a sentimental solution—record each student expressing thanks and sharing their favorite memories from the year, then burn the collection onto a DVD or CD. Your teacher can upload it to their computer and cherish priceless memories that don’t clutter up their homes.
The gift of necessity.
Even gift cards can go unused and sometimes actually cost a teacher money if the gift card is for a high-end store or restaurant where $20 won’t get you far. If you’re in doubt, buy a gift card for a craft or office supply store. Teachers always need supplies and many of them often end up using their own money.
Final tip: Some school PTAs keep a running list of each teacher’s favorite restaurants, clothing stores, coffee shops, needs and wants. Check with your school to see if you can have access to information like this. Knowing what your teacher likes and where they frequent ensures that your gift (and the money you spend on it) will go to good use.