Teacher Gifts: Thoughtful and Frugal

colorful-crayon-letter-craft-photo-420-FF0611OUT_W01The home stretch is in sight for the school year, and with it comes another round of expenses, including gifts and end-of-year celebrations.

Another item to include in your budgeting is tokens and tributes for your child’s teachers. However, it is worthwhile to take a few minutes to plan these purchases out. They are truly about meaning and message, and not about spending.

It’s the Thought that Counts….Really

Ask any teacher you know. They don’t teach for the bags of loot they receive from their kids at the end of the year. The really dedicated ones (and hopefully you’ve had the good luck to have encountered some of these superstars) throw themselves into this profession because of the tremendous reward of molding young minds. Apart from the cute factor, helping a child overcome obstacles or introducing them with wonder to something they didn’t know before hits home in the reward department in an unparalleled way.

End-of-the-year teacher gifts are about acknowledging that relationship and about acknowledging the impact that the teacher has played in this part of your child’s educational, social and emotional development.

That said, these are the kind of gifts that can be thoughtful rather than pricey.

Don’t Wait

Thoughtful gifts usually require some planning. And in keeping with all things budgetary, waiting to the last minute will mean bending to convenience- which will mean paying a premium.

In order to keep your budget intact, start thinking about gift ideas now. You may need time to be crafty, to collect goods or watch sales.


Take a few moments to get to know your teacher, beyond the classroom. What are their hobbies and/or interests?

Make your gift meaningful- but even better, make it useful too. Get them something to support their leisure time away from the classroom, especially with the summer months and vacation approaching.

Group Gifts

Does your teacher have a preferred restaurant/spa/sporting goods store? Are they DIY handymen? Do they read, read, read?

Take charge and organize a group gift card from your child’s class to the preferred spot.

Your contribution is really just a well-intentioned drop in the bucket- but if you combine them all, then you can really give your teacher a treat that they will really enjoy- and appreciate.

Theme Time

Get creative with theme gifts by assembling a gift basket with assorted treats, all associated with a theme. This is often a less expensive, but very nice looking gift option.

Give your teacher some time on the patio, with a basket with pretty printed napkins, drink mix, cool plastic glasses and a few citronella candles.

Send your teacher to the beach in style with a straw bag, beach towel and novel tucked inside for reading.

Does your teacher have a sweet tooth? Spend time baking and whip up a basket load of delicious treats (which are also great for sharing)!

Get Your Child Involved

While you are footing the bill, and ultimately driving this gift, your child should be involved in showing their appreciation.

Have your child write a letter inside a card, touching on some of their memories of the year, and thanking the teacher specifically for things that they did (depending on the child’s age, you will need to support this element of the gift).

Don’t Forget the Supporters

This is also a great time of year to remember the other folks in your child’s daily routine, like school bus drivers, crossing guards and educational assistants in the classroom.

While you would obviously allocate less funding to these types of gifts, you can still say thank you, with a nice card and a token gift. These folks really appreciate the acknowledgement of the role that they play.