If you have a child in pre-school or elementary school, you may be like a lot of parents – you dread Christmas because it means you have to buy teacher presents. Not that you don't want your child's teacher to get a gift – it's just that no one is ever sure what to give a teacher. And we all know teachers have plenty of Christmas mugs – so put that idea right out of your head.
Here's our Top 10 list of teacher gifts.
1. Get together with other parents in the class and pool your resources. You could ask for $5 from each child, and purchase a large gift together, like a gift certificate to a fancy restaurant or store. Then have each child sign a card.
2. Put together a basket with the ingredients for a quick meal, like a pasta dinner, which could include a jar of gourmet sauce, pasta and breadsticks, or a pancake breakfast, complete with mix, a bottle of syrup and maybe some fruit.
3. Teachers often wind up buying art supplies for their classrooms, so why not purchase a gift certificate for the local craft or dollar store, or pick up some of the items yourself. Parents could work together on this and provide the supplies needed for the class until the end of the year.
4. Find out what the teacher enjoys. Does she go to Starbucks often? Does she read romance novels at lunch. Pick up a gift certificate.
5. Pick up a gift certificate to a local movie theater, and attach it to a box of movie candy.
6. Purchase a little indulgence for the teacher that she might not think of getting for herself – like cashmere gloves or socks, gourmet chocolates, bath salts, or a scented candle.
7. Have your child do a portrait of the teacher, have him or her sign it, then frame it as a gift for the teacher. It's a personal and thoughtful gift. You could also have each child in the class do a picture or story page about their class or teacher, and put together a scrapbook as a gift.
8. Remember that teachers have to spend time on the playground every day, just like the kids. Buy her a hat and scarf set, a pair of gloves, an umbrella or a rain hat.
9. You can pick up some personalized notepads for your child's teacher, and have your child help pick the paper and ink color, as well as the pad design.
10. Most craft stores sell canvas tote bags, and your child can get creative when he or she personalizes this useful gift for teacher.
It doesn't take a lot of money to make a teacher happy – it just takes a little thought and a lot of heart.