Gift ideas for teachers

Scott Snyder, a sixth-grade teacher at Gettysburg Area Middle School, received a scrapbook from four of his students in 2004. The students, who were in his sixth-grade homeroom class, continued adding to the scrapbook through eighth grade.


Giving an apple to teachers was once thought of as a way to bribe them into giving you better grades. It’s become a symbol of education, and some students still give apples to their teachers as a gesture of appreciation.

As the school year comes to an end, the symbolism of the apple can be found on “No. 1 Teacher” pins, mugs and picture frames at stores. If you’re looking for some different ways to show your appreciation, the following ideas will show your favorite educators how special they are.

Make it memorable

Sentimental gifts, such as cards, letters and scrapbooks mean a lot to teachers and staff.

Snyder wraps up instruction with his homeroom class on a recent Friday. He said sentimental gifts from his students mean the most.

Scott Snyder, a sixth-grade teacher at Gettysburg Area Middle School, agrees. “The most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received was a scrapbook from a group of students I became very close to during their sixth-grade year. The kids wrote me letters and put in pictures from the year. What made it even more special was that every year for the next couple of years, they would add things to the scrapbook to keep me informed of what they did their seventh- and eighth-grade years. Although I have lost touch with a few of them, the memories remain,” Snyder said.

Handmade items or things that can be personalized are gifts that will be cherished.

“At Christmas, I love little ornaments kids give me. I date them and put their name on it. I think of that child every year I pull the ornament out,” said Regina Homan, a preschool teacher from West Manchester Township.

Get crafty

Some teachers receive handmade quilts from their class that include the name and handprint of each child. Other teachers have been given quilts that are based on their favorite sport or hobby.

One of Homan’s favorite gifts was a tote bag that she still uses for school.

A magnet, bookmark or card with a photo of your child also makes a great keepsake.

“My son made a card for the teacher with pictures of him in it,” Gettysburg mom Lisa Moyer said.

A page from the scrapbook four students gave to Snyder detailed their fears before starting sixth-grade at Gettysburg Area Middle School.

Food for thought

“I plan to give my daughter’s teacher either a restaurant gift card or some Bath & Body Works items, along with a heartfelt thank-you note,” said Carrie Harmon of Manor Township in Lancaster County.

Moyer has also given teachers travel mugs with hot cocoa mix and marshmallows inside.

“One year, I received a gift card to Brown’s. Gift cards are great,” Homan said.





Make a teacher’s survival kit
Place items in a decorative box or gift bag, including a tag to explain the items using the descriptions below. Choose one or all of these survival kit ingredients, or you can think of your own.

Aspirin: When all else fails, take two and take a time out.

Band-Aid: For when things get a little rough.

Crayon: To color every day bright and cheerful.

Ear plugs: For when the noise gets overwhelming.

Life Savers candy: Because you are a life saver to many children.

Marbles: To replace the ones you might lose from time to time.

Mounds candy bar: For the mounds of knowledge you share.

Paper clip: For when you need help holding things together.

Peanuts: To remind you to be a little nutty sometimes.

Puzzle piece: Because you are a big piece of every child’s life.

Rubber band: To remind you to be flexible.

Starburst candy: To give you a burst of energy when you need it.


Ideas for $10 or less

From Tastefully Simple

    • Malted Cocoa Mix, $8.99
    • Oh My! Chai Drink Mix, $9.99
    • Sweet Drizzle Snack Mix, $6.99Visit tastefullysimple.comfor more ideas.From Mary Kay
    • Satin Hands hand cream, subtle peach scent or unscented, $10
    • Mint Bliss foot and leg cream, $10
    • Satin Hands Lip Balm, $9.50Find a local consultant at for less than $25

From Pampered Chef

  • Set of six 1-cup prep bowls, $21, allows for six gifts. Fill with candy, cocoa mix or item of your choice.
  • Small batter bowl, $12. Create a layered dry mix for cookies, brownies or soup. Tie with a pretty bow and the recipe.
  • Looking ahead to the holidays: Set of four snowman appetizer plates, $22, allows for multiple gift options. Present homemade cookies, truffles or fudge on a plate wrapped with festive plastic wrap and a bow.


Quick tip

Find more gift ideas at

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3 Responses

  1. May 24, 2012

    […] for ideas? Not to worry – the Smart blog has you covered with tips from parents and teachers and a host of other […]

  2. May 26, 2012

    […] Plan ahead and prepare a unique teacher’s gift for the end of the school year. […]

  3. June 6, 2012

    […] have no excuse for waiting until the last minute, especially considering I edited this story about teacher gift ideas weeks […]

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