Teacher Gifts - What Do Teachers Really Want?

What are the best teacher gifts? What gifts do teachers really want? I asked several of my kids' teachers for their suggestions for ideas for teacher gifts, and here is what they said.

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In the past I think I haven't given the most thoughtful gifts during Teacher Appreciation Week and for end of school year gifts. Of course teachers are always thankful for anything they're given, but I wanted to do better. 

This year, I thought it would be helpful to talk to some of my kids' teachers about what gifts they could really use, both in the classroom and personally. Here's what they said:

Notes of Appreciation

From my chats with teachers, the things they most appreciated were personal notes, hand drawn pictures, and cards from their students and their parents. They go a long way to keep teachers in good spirits and encouraged, especially after the past year! 

Now, what small gifts can you tuck those cards in with? 

Pinterest is loaded with suggestions and ideas for homemade gifts you and your kids can make personally. They are always appreciated! 

Here I've rounded up a few other gifts that I think are great and I'm also sharing some suggestions from teachers:

Gift Cards

Gift cards will give our teachers the option to buy whatever they want or need. Give them a Walmart, Target, or Amazon gift card so they can pick! Grocery store, book store, and local restaurant gift cards will always be appreciated. You could get several families to go in together and get your teacher a gift card to a local spa!

Amazon Gift Card

Their Favorite Foods, Treats, and Snacks

We once had a teacher who mentioned how much he loved Cap'n Crunch cereal in class. After that we always included a box of it in his gift. He got such a kick out of it and always appreciated that we remembered. 

Encourage your child to listen to what the teacher mentions they like and tell you! You can also just ask what their favorite treats are.

Fill a big Mason jar with their favorite candy or gum. Individually wrapped packages of trail mix or nuts will be great if they need a quick snack. 

If you are looking for gifts for multiple teachers, try buying good chocolate in bulk!

Lindt Excellence Bar, 90% Cocoa Supreme Dark Chocolate (Pack of 12) 


Toblerone Swiss Chocolate Variety Pack

You can attach a cute tag like this one to your sweet treat gift! Etsy has so many creative tags to choose from

Printable Teacher Tag - 2" Round

Drink Tumblers

Choose from tons of styles and colors with this cup, and then customize the text for your teacher!

Personalized Stainless Steel Tumblers

Got a teacher with a great sense of humor? This cup is just funny! I need one that says "Don't make me use my Mama voice!"

Don't Make Me Use My Teacher Voice

This set is awesome if you have multiple teachers to shop for!

Low Maintenance Plants for the Classroom

Help liven up the classroom with plants that are easy to care for. What are best low maintenance plants for the classroom? Pothos is my number one easy plant choice.

Pothos Options on Etsy

Other good low maintenance plants are Spider Plants (the kids will get a kick out of the baby plants that form and hang down), aloe (will live in indirect light and are easy to split as they grow), pony tail palm, succulents, and Christmas cactus.

Books and Bookmarks

Many teachers are avid readers. They would love to receive a Barnes & Noble gift card. You can add a set of bookmarks along with the gift card to personalize the gift.

Handmade Paperclip Bookmarks

 Metal Feather Bookmarks

Classroom Decor

There are so many classroom decor options! Motivational signs, bulletin board supplies, and decorative items can help the teacher out so much. There are even entire classroom packages available that could give a teacher a classroom makeover.

Complete Classroom Decoration Sets

Motivational Posters


Tote Bags

Teachers need a reliable bag to carry their laptop, books, notebooks, lunch, drinks, and personal items in. If you notice your teacher needs a new one, think about replacing it for them. 

This large tote bag can fit a laptop and tons of other items in its 15 pockets. It comes in 7 patterns and colors. It's waterproof and so affordable! Backpacks can also be a great choice.

Classroom Items for the Students

Little extras like these can help teachers keep their students motivated! Our dedicated teachers often buy these with their own money for our kids.




Anything Coffee

One gift idea I heard from so many teachers was anything coffee! 

If you know your teacher's favorite kind of coffee and if they have a Keurig, a box of K-cups would be a great gift.

A Starbucks, Dunkin', or local coffee shop gift card tucked into a new mug would be a cute gift. Teachers tend to get a lot of coffee mugs as gifts, so look for one that is personalized and meaningful.

Personalized Teacher's Mug

This one is perfect for an English Language Arts teacher!


Buy Them Lunch

Everyone likes a free lunch! Ask your teacher what they would like for lunch and then have it delivered or deliver it to them!

As an added treat for your teacher, if you are allowed to by your school you could volunteer to watch the class during lunch and give your teacher a break.

School ID Lanyards

Teachers have to wear identification. Let's make it cute!


Vera Bradley Women's Signature Cotton Breakaway Lanyard

Amazon Wish List Items

Ask your teacher if they have an Amazon Wish List. They may not even know it's an option, but they are easy to make. Then parents can just pick something off of their list and teachers get exactly what they want!

Fun Notepads and Pens

Cute notepads or sticky notes and nice pens are little extras that teachers may not splurge on for themselves. 

12 Pieces Floral Sticky Notes Flower Design Self-Adhesive Note Pads

12 Pieces Marble Sticky Note Pads

Journal and Planner Colored Pens, Fine Tip, 18 Colors

Things to Make the Classroom Smell Nice

If you've ever visited an elementary or middle school classroom after recess, you know how pungent it can get. Taco pits x 40! 

Save your teachers' noses with reed diffusers and essential oil diffusers. One of my kids' teachers always ran an oil diffuser with various oils, usually cinnamon. It was so pleasant in there, even after recess! 

Here's an oil diffuser that I have and like:

InnoGear Essential Oil Diffuser

And here's a highly rated diffuser and oils set on Amazon:


Reed diffusers also help make the classroom smell pleasant. It may take a couple of them if the classroom is big.



Your teachers will be thankful no matter what you end up giving them, but I hope these suggestions are helpful for Teacher Appreciation Week and any other teacher gifts during the year! 

I want to thank the teachers who took the time to answer my questions for this post; Katy Bannerman, Jennifer Snyder, Rebecca Hennis, and Benjamin Lord. I also hope they don't grade my grammar!

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