The holidays are a perfect time to show your child's teachers how much you appreciate all they do. So what do teachers really want? Favorite gifts cited were candles, plants, candy, and fruit baskets, but we've gathered up some even better — and sometimes more inexpensive — ideas that are sure-fire teacher winners and heart-warmers.
- Write From the Heart
It may seem simple, but a poem or letter of thanks from your child is a gesture that's truly appreciated. Have him tell a story about a special moment during the school year or about what school would be like without a favorite teacher. As for you, consider writing a letter to the principal lauding a teacher's good work and mailing a copy to that teacher.
- Get Together and Give
Get parents and children of a grade (or even several!) together to work up a sweat while doing something nice for teachers. Clean and spruce up the teacher break room with flowers and fresh-baked goodies, or organize a free car wash just for school's teachers. If parents can volunteer in the classroom and take over for a few hours, put together a luncheon for all the teachers so they can really sit down and relax for awhile together.
- Gifts From the Class
Again and again, when asked what holiday gifts meant the most to them, teachers answered, "something handmade by the class," whether it be a poster with every child's handprint under a "thank you" banner, cookies made by tiny hands, or a simple framed class photo signed by the children.
- Give to the Classroom
Many teachers pay for school supplies out of their own pockets, so a gift basket filled with colorful pens, paper clips, post-its, stickers, stamps, and other office goodies is always a favorite gift. Calendars and any items that help the teacher stay organized are also great.
- Make It Personal
Teachers have lives outside the classroom and many of them have hobbies and collections. Find out what activities your child's teacher participates in after school and really show them you care about them as people, adding a snow globe to a growing collection, giving a skein of pretty yarn to a knitter, or a box of golf balls to a golfer.
- Treat Teachers Like Royalty
Let teachers know that you appreciate all those long hours on their feet and at their desks by giving them the treats they may not give themselves. A pedicure or massage is a great gift. Get parents to chip in for a day at a local spa, tickets to the theater, or a gift certificate to a first-rate restaurant so he can really escape the stresses of school life.