Teacher Appreciation Gifts: What Do Teachers Really Want?


Teacher Appreciation Gifts

As Teacher Appreciation Week quickly approaches, room parents may inundate your email asking for ideas or donations for teacher appreciation gifts. Everyone wants a way of showing just how much you appreciate teachers. But what do teachers really want (and what do they NOT want)?

Teacher Appreciation Gifts to Avoid

Now don’t get me wrong, teachers really do appreciate every gift they are given, but there are some things to keep in mind if you really want to make their day.

Scented Lotion & Candles

While you may love vanilla birthday cake candles, your favorite teacher may not. Scented gifts are very personal, so unless you are positive you know your teacher’s favorite scent, I would skip it.

What to get instead: Hand Sanitizer

Now hear me out. You may be thinking, “How is hand sanitizer a good teacher appreciation gift?” Well, that stuff flows like water in most classrooms, especially in the winter. Teachers are constantly running out. Want to elevate this gift even more? Gift some tissue paper with the sanitizer. It’s basically a teacher’s fave.

Coffee Mugs

Yes, many teachers drink copious amounts of coffee or tea a day to have enough energy to teach upwards of thirty tiny humans. That being said, with thirty humans circulating through their classroom every year, they do NOT need coffee mugs from all of them. Because their mug usually lives on their desk, it doesn’t often get misplaced.

What to get instead: Gift cards to local coffee or tea shops

These are the teacher appreciation gifts that truly keep on giving. Let’s be honest: there are few greater gifts than the gift of caffeine. Here is a great list of local coffee shops to get you started!

Personalized Tote Bags

While these are cute, again they add up quickly. Teachers do haul a lot of stuff back and forth, but they can only use so many bags.

What to get instead:  Target, Amazon, or Walmart gift card

Gift cards make everyone happy and serve as welcomed teacher appreciation gifts. Our teachers often end up spending their own money to get materials for their classrooms. A gift card to a big box store allows them the chance to get what they truly need, whether it’s for their classroom or for themselves.

If you feel like gift cards are too impersonal, don’t worry! There are still lots of other gifts to give!

More Great Options for Teacher Appreciation Gifts


Yes, this sounds so boring, but teachers are writing A LOT. They are constantly running out of or misplacing pens. These pens are a great option to show your teacher appreciation. Other office supplies can also make amazing gifts. A sturdy (or electric!) hole punch, nice scissors, or stapler also make amazing teacher appreciation gifts.

Coffee or Tea

This is self explanatory. Caffeine is the gift that keeps on giving.

Handmade Card & Pictures 

Handmade notes and pictures can make a teacher’s day. These small tokens of appreciation are often the most valuable gifts that teachers can get. 

Still stumped on the perfect teacher appreciation gift? Don’t be afraid to ask your child’s teacher. 

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Erin is a recently returned Wisconsin native currently living in Shorewood with her husband Bradley, dog Sheldon, and two kids, George and Francis. Her background in childcare and education have led to a borderline obsession with all things kid including safety gear, equipment, clothing and toys. This type A mom is learning to embrace the chaos and welcome that challenges that parenting brings. With a husband who travels often for work and two kids nineteen months apart, Erin relies on her mom tribe, Hulu and a heavy dose of caffeine to make every day a success.


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