Gift Guide

These gifts for teachers will make their day.
Teachers Will Legit Love (& Use) These 25 Holiday Gifts

Skip the apple this time around.

Originally Published: 

Y’all, I know your coffee mugs are well-intentioned, but I’m here to tell you that those are not what teachers want for the holidays. I’m married to a teacher, the daughter-in-law of a teacher, and the best friend of a teacher. I’ve watched these people work hours into the night grading papers, show up at 6 a.m. to school for tutoring sessions, take kids on field trips over the weekend, supply kids in need with extra meals, and constantly reinvent education in order to connect with students in new and better ways. Put simply, they work incredibly hard. If you really want to show them you appreciate them, these 25 gifts for teachers are ones they’ll actually love.

The key to finding a holiday gift for teachers is to first ask yourself, would I like this? For real. If it's something you'd never want to receive, then why give it to a teacher? Next, ask yourself, is this appropriate? A pair of boxers? Not so much. Wine? By all means.

Also remember, yes, it truly is the thought that counts. Just taking the time to remember a teacher will make them feel so special. My husband has held onto gifts students from 10 years ago gave him, and he still remembers them fondly each time he uses them. So, even taking the time to gift a teacher is already like doing extra credit, although we promise you're not being graded on this (well, maybe a little).

We only include products that have been independently selected by Romper's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.


Behold, The Gift Of Caffeine

Don’t write a coffee gift card off as cliché. I’m telling you, people, this is one of the most coveted teacher gifts you can give. There were years when my husband got so many, we didn’t have to buy coffees until late March, and what a valuable gift that turned out to be. Getting up at 0’DarkHundred to teach is exhausting, so give your kid’s teacher a caffeine perk with one of these. Starbucks is an easy and simple go-to, but if you have a local coffee roaster or café that you would like to support during the holidays, that’s a great option as well.


Free Bite

Not-so-surprising newsflash: Teacher salaries aren’t nearly as high as they should be. Going out to a nice meal, for many, is a big splurge. If you want to say, “Hey, I really appreciate all the effort you put into teaching my children,” say it by giving a teacher a meal they don’t have to prepare themselves. Be it a gift card to a reliable, fan-favorite restaurant chain such as Olive Garden, or a local independent eatery that you’re particularly a fan of, any teacher will be sure to appreciate the gift of a free meal provided so generously by you this holiday season.


Something From Their DonorsChoose List

So many teachers take on the cost of school supplies by the folds of their own wallet and never get reimbursed (trust me, I know about this stuff.) That’s what’s led to the rise of helpful resources such as DonorsChoose, a crowdfunding website where teachers can ask for community support to buy certain classroom items — things including yoga mats for kids or playground equipment. Surprise them by donating to their cause and helping them outfit their classroom with the tools they need to help your student and the rest of the class succeed and have fun while being in school.


A Sturdy Thermos

OK, OK, we all know by now that giving the gift of a coffee mug is unoriginal and overused when it comes to teacher holiday presents. However, if you want to elevate the cliché, then go for this thermos from Bklyn Bento. It looks high-end but also boasts a modest price tag, making it the perfect gift. With interior copper lining, this thermos can be used to keep both food and beverages (AKA coffee) hot for hours. And in addition to its minimalist matte black and wood finish that makes it quite stylish, this thermos is BPA-free and environmentally friendly.


New Threads

In addition to having a set of at-home clothes, dressing professionally for a job comes at a cost, so help a teacher out by giving them a certificate to a nice clothing store. This can be an especially meaningful treat if your child has noted their teacher’s fashion sense, and you can personalize the gift to one of their favorite brands or something that would fit their style. Additionally, gift cards to luxury brands and boutiques will definitely be appreciated, as you are basically giving them license to have a treat-yourself day on someone else’s (your) dime — and who doesn’t want that?


Personalized Bottle Of Wine

One of the best teacher gifts I’ve ever seen was a friend who personalized bottles of wine for all of her children’s teachers. My favorite? “I Might Be the Reason You Need a Drink So Enjoy This One On Me” on a label that you can add an image of your child to. Etsy has all kinds of fun printable sticky wine labels, including many tailored to teachers. The next step after that is to buy some bottles of your favorite wine to put the labels on, and voilà: a light-hearted, funny, and personalized holiday gift to show your appreciation.


A Nice Water Bottle

When you’re on your feet all day pacing a classroom, it can be easy to forget to hydrate. Help your teacher out by gifting them a really nice water bottle that is both functional and fashionable. This minimalist water bottle is designed to help the owner meet their daily water intake, featuring a.m. and p.m. time markings on the sleeve to ensure they stay hydrated throughout the day. And with all of the things on a teacher’s mind, remembering to drink water definitely shouldn’t be one of them, which is why this trendy water bottle is so genius and thoughtful to give.


A "Treat Yourself" Opportunity

Imagine being a teacher during all of the chaos that the pandemic has offered in terms of schooling — from trying to run your Zoom classroom from home to transitioning back into the classroom with plenty of safety protocols to implement and follow. The mind reels just thinking about it. So many teachers need major self-care right now, so help them out with a thoughtful self-care kit. You can DIY it by including nice items like lotions, soaps, an eye mask, and candle. Or you can buy this charming Bold Xchange B for HE Mini Self-Care Box, which puts together everything for you.


An Indoor Plant

Classrooms can get, well, stinky. With all those bodies coming and going (especially after recess), making a classroom a clean, welcoming space is an ongoing battle. To cheer it up and spread some nice fragrance around the room, consider giving a teacher a nice blooming indoor plant. Or opt for some greenery that will cheer up any classroom during the gloomy winter months. Gifting a cute cactus like this two-inch one, which is available for purchase from Natty Garden, will do wonders for the mood of a room, even if it simply sits on a teacher’s desk or windowsill.


A Sweet Bag

Teachers have to tote a ton of supplies to and from their home, car, and classroom each and every day before and after school. I’ve seen some teachers whose vehicles look like postal service delivery vans because they are so packed with craft tools, paper, and tablets. You know what would help with that problem? A good looking tote, but not just any little canvas item — something that is durable and attractive at the same time, such as this Canvas Weekender Duffle Bag from Lands’ End that you can personalize by monogramming their initials on the front, will do just the trick.


Movie Magic

Now that movie theaters have opened back up for experiencing films on the big screen again, getting a teacher a movie gift card is more than just wistful thinking. Giving a teacher the gift of essentially a free movie ticket to any showing of their choice with a Fandango gift card is an incredibly thoughtful and generous choice. These days, the options for watching a film don’t just include the TV and the laptop — they can actually make the trek for the whole cinematic experience: the overpriced popcorn, the candy, and the slushies that give you a brain freeze before the film even starts.


A Swing For Birds

Coming in a pack of two, this set of bird feeders that resemble traditional regency swing seats is perfect for a teacher: One can be for birds at home, and the other for birds outside the classroom window for students to watch. These beautifully crafted cedar wood bird feeders will be sure to brighten up an outdoor area as hungry birds come down for a snack full of seeds. Even better than other bird feeders, this one will make it look as though the little creatures are rocking back and forth on a cute little porch swing, and what’s more adorable than that?


Funny Socks

Does your kid’s teacher have a good sense of humor? Then present them with something a little bit more on the quirky side with a pair of socks with your child’s face on them. Divvyup Socks lets you upload an image, and they’ll personalize a pair of socks with the image on it. This holiday gift might make a tad more sense if it comes with a card written by the student themself — parents and guardians giving the socks may come off as a little too quirky, but, hey, do what feels right for your style of gift giving.


Safety First Gift

If the past year or two have taught us anything, it’s that we all should have invested in hand sanitizer years, if not decades ago. Like most of us, teachers are especially aware of the need to continually sanitize, especially when the job in the classroom, so make it easy for them with an attractive and snazzy hand sanitizer holder that they can lock on a purse or backpack. Practical and pretty, this is one gift that is guaranteed to get used and reused, especially as we all try to avoid cold and flu season during the wintery cold months.


Really Good Chocolate

You can never go wrong with chocolate, especially if you splurge on a really nice box like this one. Using cacao from the Sambirano Valley, near Ambanja on the African island of Madagascar, this chocolate features flavor notes of raisins, red plum, and red wine. The seller, an artisan “bean to bar” chocolate manufacturer owned by three brothers based in the South Bronx, also recommends that you pair it with sharp cheese, fresh fruits, and yogurt — now doesn’t that sound fancy? If you really want to go all out, maybe even throw together a basket that features all of those things.


Dinosaur Planters

Composed of wicker and coconut fiber and held together by thin nylon cord, these adorable hand-woven dinosaurs will make a pleasant addition to anyone’s indoor garden or classroom. And to be honest, if your teacher decides to keep these at school for a classroom decoration, students will absolutely love them and obsess over them. They’re just so cute! To protect these prehistoric pals from sudden extinction (AKA from getting soaked in water), your teacher can use the dino planters with a pot or liner inside. Soon enough, they’ll have tiny little green sprouts growing out the top, making for the perfect science lesson.


A Trip To The Amazon

I know gift cards can feel impersonal, but trust me when I say they are so incredibly appreciated, especially when they are given to a place such as Amazon or Target, where anyone can find something they need — particularly teachers, who seem to always be in need of extra crafting supplies, snacks, and random knick knacks to support their teaching plans. Plus, who doesn’t make weekly trips — be it virtual or in person — to retailers that sell all of the necessary everyday goods and even groceries? You simply can’t go wrong with this one if you pair it with a personally written card.


Spa Gift Card

Imagine constantly whipping your head around to check on everyone in the classroom and straining your poor eyes as you grade homework and tests late into the night. Who wouldn’t need a massage after half a school year of teaching? If you can find a local place that offers luxury spa and massage services, then by all means, give your favorite teacher this nice, thoughtful gift. And by giving them a gift card, they are free to choose whatever treatment sounds good and suits them — be it a blissfully restorative facial, a deeply rejuvenating massage, or perhaps even a hot stone treatment.


A Positive Email With The Principal Copied On It

Portland Press Herald/Portland Press Herald/Getty Images

Here’s one that won't cost you anything but your time and maybe some tapping into your creative writing skills. Write a glowing email praising your child’s teacher, and then CC the school principal on it. You might be amazed to know just how much this kind of show of support can lift a teacher’s spirits and touch their heart. It also lets the big honcho in charge know that as a parent, you appreciate all that this specific teacher is doing for your child’s development and education. It may sound cheesy, but sometimes kind words truly are the best gift to receive.


A Heartfelt Note


In a similar vein as the last one, a thoughtful holiday card will also go a long way in terms of showing your appreciation for your child’s teacher. If your budget is pinched — and believe me, teachers understand — one of the best things you can give them is a heartfelt note from yourself or your child honestly sharing how much their time and effort spent with your student has meant to you this year. It may be hard to believe, but teachers don't often hear how great they are doing nearly enough. Your words will truly make their day.


A Luxury Tea Set

This tea gift set from Tea Forte oozes feelings of luxury and relaxation. Created in partnership with the New York Botanical Garden, the Fleur Collection gift set features all the necessary components needed for an exquisite tea-for-one experience — and every teacher deserves that chance to put up their feet and relax. It includes a limited-edition box of 10 pyramid infusers with two packets of each tea blend (blueberry merlot, earl grey, hibiscus blossom, jasmine green, peach blossom), a limited-edition pale mint porcelain eight-ounce café cup with lid, and a limited-edition pale mint tea tray with gold monogram. Elevated vibes, check.


A Fragrant Candle And Mist Duo

Re: stinky students who spent recess out in the mud, it’s always a fitting idea to give the gift of luxurious fragrance to any teacher. Regardless of whether they choose to use it in their classroom to freshen things up or maybe just at home to pamper themself after a long day at work, this candle and air mist combo pack from independent fragrance retailer Elevated Scentz will do just the trick. With a variety of soothing scents to choose from, such as citrusy, floral, musky, and sweet, this two-in-one pack will be appreciated by anyone who values good scents.


The Gift Of Learning

What better than to reverse the role of a teacher by giving them the opportunity to be a student, as taught by some of the biggest, most knowledgeable people and instructors in the world? With the gift of a MasterClass membership, your teacher will have access to tons of classes across subject matters conducted by world-renowned experts. Course topics include leadership and creativity taught by Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour, cooking by chef Gordon Ramsey, music and connection by famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, styling by fashionista Tan France, conservation by scientist Jane Goodall, gymnastics fundamentals by Olympian Simone Biles, and many more.


A Rainbow For The Room

Nothing will bring color and light to a room quite like this little decorative gadget. This gift is optimal for science teachers. They can simply hang it up against some glass in their classroom, and as long as the space gets some sunlight, this rainbow maker will create an explosion of rainbow patterns when the sun hits it. Not only will it serve as a nice colorful touch to any room, it can also be a teaching moment all about light refraction. As long as they adjust it year-round for optimal light, this piece of innovative decor will bring bright colorful hues during school hours.


Some Homey Bookends

Perfect for a children’s classroom, these house-shaped bookends designed by Masuda Kiribako, a Japanese brand founded in 1929, make a wonderful gift for any elementary school teacher. The set of three features two small houses and one large one that can be used for storing books, as well as other objects inside of them. And in addition to their playful nature, these house bookends are made from paulownia, a wood that is antibacterial, insect-repellent, and mildew-proof — so basically, it’s the optimal thing for a classroom full of kids. Given that every teacher has a small library of books in their room, these bookends will make the space nice and homey.

Now that we've done your homework for you, it’s time to get to shopping. Teachers will thank you for it.

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