How to say Thank You:


We all have that teacher that we love to pieces and just want to shower with love and affection but how to do that? I surveyed several different kinds of teachers and got their favorite and least favorite gifts over the years. Maybe it will help spark your ideas.

(Please note: this list is made on a general basis. If you have personal relationships with teachers that can, of course, change some responses. - many of the teachers I polled do not work for Delta County School District, so please do not question your last gift.)

Gifts Teachers Loved:


1. Something you made -

“I have received many gifts over my 15 years as a teacher but my favorites are always the ones that are handmade by my students. It can be anything from a card, to art work, painting, ornaments, sculptures, painted rocks, and more. I love them and treasure them. I keep every single piece in a keepsake box.”


2. Spa Stuff-

“I like to think I work really hard in my classroom all semester, I am on my feet a lot. I love it when my students give me nice spa things like bath bombs, face masks, foot masks, I even got a hand mask one year. I just like knowing that at the end of the semester I can pamper myself with the treats my students purchased for me.”

3. Something from their Profession. (Like an autographed playbill, autographed cd, drumstick pencils, etc)

“I had a student that generally traveled to cool places over Christmas Break. One year, she went to see this super cool band play, I was super jealous being a band teacher at our high school. At this event she bought me signed drum sticks by the drummer in the band and gave them to me as a gift at the end of the year! It was awesome!”

4. Funny Socks or a T-shirt-

“I have this student that always gets me a new pair of “crazy” socks every year. I always look forward to what will be on the socks next. I have got Avocados, My favorite tv character, Candy, even ones with his face on them!”

“Sometimes my students get me t-shirts that have to do with my profession. I enjoy wearing them but my favorite part is wearing them and seeing the student’s face when I am sporting the tee the gave me.”

5. Their Favorite Candy-

“This one year, I had a student that must have really planned ahead because they got me a Christmas gift of a basket of candy from all over the world. Although, some of the candy was nasty, I really enjoyed tasting all the different cultures from around the world.”

“I love it when students give me my favorite candy. It means that they are actually paying enough attention to know what my favorite candy is.”

6. Cool Sticky Notes/ Note Cards-

“This gift is not only practical because I use sticky notes in my class room, office, home, well everywhere all the time but there are so many unique sticky notes! Over the years students have given me scratch away sticky notes, metallic sticky notes, chalkboard sticky notes, and sticky notes with my face on them. They are so creative!”

7. A framed picture of the two of you together from where your journey began or a milestone in your journey.

“This is one of my most treasured possessions. My student gave me the picture of us together when they just started acting and on the other side of the frame was the last show we did together. I mean, I’m not crying you’re crying. Very special- I will treasure it forever!”

8. Fancy Pen or Dry Erase Markers

“I am all about practical. I don’t want to get a bunch of crap from a student to set on my desk. I have 300 students, my desk is only so big. But I go through pens and dry erase markers like there is no tomorrow. I actually have run the ink out of pens. (they didn’t dry up, I ran them out) I got this one pen from a student that had my name engraved on it. That was super nice and special.”

9. Cleaning Supplies, Disinfectant Wipes, and/or Hand Sanitizer-

“I like to keep a tidy classroom, working with elementary kids this is sometimes easier said than done. The school does give us some supplies but not enough and to the standards I like for my class room. (Have you spent time with your 3rd grader?) Post-Covid this is even more of a special gift as lots of stores don’t have high demands (like a classroom portion) of these.”

10. A Gift Card

“Some say that it is not personal enough. But I love gift cards! My students always take the time to know what places I like to eat out at or where I like to shop and get me a gift card to there. That makes it nice because I can take my wife out on a coffee date or to sonic for a Coke. I also love Ross and Kohl’s it is amazing when I can pool them all together and get something really nice.”


You may what to think twice before giving these:



1. Mug-

“I cannot tell you what first year teacher doesn’t get 10 coffee mugs with apples or cute sayings on them. Then every year after that you get the same 10 mugs. You may think it is an awesome gift with a clever saying on it, but trust me we have heard it before and probably have 3 more just like and took the last 5 to Salvation Army. A person can only have so many mugs.”

2. Bath Soaps/ Candles/ Lotions-

“These I feel are three completely different categories. I don’t feel that it is ever appropriate to give bath soap to a person, let alone your teacher. What are you hinting at, that they stink and need a shower? But as far as candles and lotions, I am not going to lie I have got some amazing ones from my students in years past but I have also got some that hit the trash can as well. Soap, candles, lotion and things like that, that have a scent are hard to pick. Everyone have their preferences and opinions on what smells good and what stinks. It is hard to win unless you really know the teacher favorite scents and if they have any skin allergies.”

3. A Day Planner-

“I talk to my teacher friends about this every year and we just have to laugh. Many teachers do not use a day planner and only use Digital planning and calendars and they have no idea what to do with this gift. Others that actually do use day planners typically have a favorite planner and are so organized that they haven’t waited until “Christmas” or the end of the school year to buy a new planner. I am sure they already have one that is well loved.”

4. Alcohol-

“I know this one I am going to get shot down for because what teacher doesn’t need a little “downtime juice” but there is a lot that goes behind gifting “alcohol” that people forget about. Many teachers don’t like to talk about drinking in front of their students. I remember one year a parent walked up to me with probably the most expensive bottle of wine I have ever held and gave it to me as a “thank you / end of the year” gift. We were at a party where all my students were and their parents, and here I was lugging around this bottle of wine all night. Another thing to consider is people, including teachers, have preferences. I can’t tell you how many bottles of vodka I have got and I cannot stand vodka. Lastly, this doesn’t effect me but it does effect my brother who isn’t a teacher but his office gave them all a bottle of wine last Christmas as gift. Which was a very nice gesture but my brother cannot drink any alcohol with the medications that he is on. It was really sad because he wanted to enjoy the gift but couldn’t because he medically was unable.”

5. Homemade Food Items-

“My husband and I are both teachers in the same district and we get homemade goodies all the time at Christmas. This is a sweet gesture from our students but 99% of those treats end up in our trash can. ‘Why’, you may ask? Well, we do not know the state of my of our student’s homes and what their kitchen looks like and if it was clean before cooking said food. Another huge issues or us is my husband has food allergies and even though the students know and say something is without it, the rest of our night is spent in the ER. It just isn’t worth it.”

6. Anything Apple Shaped-

“I was kind of cute my first year being a teacher when my students gave me my first magnet shaped like an apple that said, ‘world’s best teacher’ in it. Then I got a mug, then a pencil, and a t-shirt, ornament, and I started thinking… ‘I don’t really think they think I am the best teacher they just found the first thing they put their hands on.’ I just don’t need apple shaped everything.”

7. Home Decor-

“It is so hard when my students/parents of students give me home decor because I know how expensive that stuff is, trust me, I love Bed, Bath, and Beyond. But everyone has such different styles. Over the years that I have received home decor items, which have been numerous, they generally end up as white elephant gifts, to Salvation Army, the trash, or sitting in storage because I feel so guilty about giving it away because I know they gave the gift thought and spent money on it and they gave it out of love. But it doesn’t match anything I have or I have just honestly just got some UGLY stuff. What does a person do with it? Heaven forbid the day I have that student’s family over for dinner (something I do once a month) and they can’t find their item!”

8. Makeup Kits-

“Over the years I have got many makeup kits for Christmas and Birthdays but honestly it feels like a “Great Aunt Sarah” gift not something you want to receive from one of your students. Other than the fact that it is just awkward to give your teacher makeup for a gift (especially a male student to a female teacher… I can’t explain that one) there are a couple more issues that I have with this gift. Number one: most students don’t spend excessive amounts of money on a gift for their teacher, which is totally fine. I believe you shouldn’t spend any more then $10 and absolutely no more than $20. But that means you are buying cheap “off-brand” makeup. Not that there are not fair makeup’s for that price but they are few and far between. Second issue is color and style is completely objective. Just because you think the color purple would look swell on me doesn’t mean that I feel confident wearing a bright color like that. Maybe I would be happier with my nude browns or vice versa. Third issue you don’t know anything about my skin, such as allergies, intolerance, breakouts, there are lots of different brands that people just can’t wear. But especially if you are buying cheap stuff that issue widens. Fourth issue: if I wear makeup, I probably already have my favorites that I enjoy wearing and using. For those of my friends that don’t like wearing makeup, they don’t know what to do with theirs and so they donate them away.”

9. Jewelry-

“This one is simple. Not everyone likes every style of jewelry let alone the design. Take me for example, I have a real distaste for necklaces. They are heavy, pull my hair, get pulled on by my kindergartners, and chokes me; simply put, I don’t like them. But my favorite piece of jewelry is a toe ring. I bet you never would have guessed that about me. I don’t care for bracelets, but I like earrings, anklets, and fancy hair jewelry. Just think at how well you would have to know me to know those simple things about me. Then the next question… do I like silver color or gold color? Let’s not talk about actual style, chunk, elegant… what about health issues. Lots of people have metal allergies and heavy jewelry can give them headaches. It is just safer to go with something else.”

10. Cash-

“Never in your life will you feel more awkward then getting handed an envelope full of cash. It makes me feel like a ‘bad guy’, like I am selling drugs in a dark alley or something. I have a friend that teaches in our state’s capital that has told me they aren’t allowed to take cash from parents ever! There is too much that can happen behind the scenes and it can appear as a bribe. Please don’t put your teacher in this spot.”

I hoped this help you come up with some ideas and maybe help you understand the mind of your teacher more. Remember it is not that you cannot give them the bottom list but make sure you really know the teacher and that you are willing to except the consequences, good and bad.



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