10 Best Christmas Gifts for Teachers, According to Teachers

We chatted with teachers of all grades to see what they're hoping to receive this holiday season. And a note to parents? Coffee mugs and scented candles didn't make the list.

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It's the most wonderful time of the year. The holidays are (finally) here, and if you're anything like me, you're probably on the lookout for the best gifts for your children, colleagues, siblings, parents, and partner or spouse. But what about your child's teacher? What can you give your little love bugs educator that shows your appreciation and isn't cliche?

Well, I was a teacher for over a decade and, during that time, I amassed more "Best Teacher" mugs, scented candles, and body wash than any one person can ever hope to use! The presents I remember having the most impact, however, were the ones that were a little out of the ordinary. And my teacher friends agree.

Homemade gifts from the heart really get teachers teary-eyed, as Veronica, a teacher in Connecticut, explained. "When I can see little smudgy fingerprints embossed in a clay tree decoration it just melts my heart that they put in so much effort for me," she says.

"In my opinion, the greatest gift you can give someone is from the heart. Bonus points when it's homemade," says Samantha Barnes a former teacher and the founder of Raddish, a cooking club for kids. She also says that parents shouldn't worry about gifting a perfect Pinterest-worthy present and reminds us that teachers know when a child has made something themselves. "A 5-year-old's phonetically spelled gift tag for his piano teacher might be more charming than your perfectly penned label."

As high school teacher, Dawn Casey-Rowe says, "Nobody teaches for the gifts." She does have some advice on what not to buy though: "Try to avoid food, there are many medical diets out there these days, and you'd hate to see waste."

Overwhelmingly, teachers said that if they had to receive a present, they would like it to be either something they could use practically in the classroom or something special that the whole class had clubbed together to buy. The least appealing gifts for teachers were small novelty items or tchotchke that just add to the jumble of classroom debris. Casey-Rowe agrees, saying, "Teachers have a tough time decluttering, so avoid trinkets and unnecessary things."

With that in mind, we've created the following shopping list of gifts for teachers they'll be sure to love. But one thing to remember? Whatever gift you decide to give to the teacher in your life, here's betting a sincere "thank you" for everything they do will be the most precious one they receive.

Desktop Timer

Time Timer
Courtesy of Amazon

Every teacher needs a good timer. They're indispensable in class to promote efficient work, separate class into different periods, and challenge kids with tests and quizzes. Time Timers can be easily moved around with the teacher throughout the day, and they have a quiet tick that doesn't bother more sensitive learners.

Price at time of publication: $20

Daily Planner

Undated Daily Planner with Hourly Schedule
Courtesy of Amazon

Paper products are a common theme for teacher gifts. Educators love to plan and organize for the year ahead, and daily planners can make their job easier.

Price at time of publication: $8

Translation Device

Pocketalk Classic Language Translator Device
Courtesy of Amazon

Teachers often travel over the summer, and Pocketalk's two-way translation device will enable them to speak in over 70 different languages. This gift can also help students in class, serving as an educational aide during language-learning lessons. As a bonus, the whole class of parents can buy this gift together. Rather than the teacher receiving 30 small unsuitable things, the parents can collaborate to organize useful present that can also be enjoyed by their kids in school.

Price at time of publication: $129 for gold

Coffee Maker

illy Y3.3 iperEspresso
Courtesy of Amazon

It's a long-running joke that teachers just want a bottle of wine at the end of the term, but most teachers simply crave coffee. Obviously, you'll want to make sure that your child's teacher actually enjoys coffee before basing their gift around the beverage. Consider starting a teacher fund with other parents and buy a coffee machine for the staff room, such as the Y3.3 iperEspresso Espresso & Coffee Machine. You'll quickly become the teacher's pet.

For more of a stocking stuffer gift, create a basket of coffee treats from Alpine Start, makers of premium instant coffee that can be taken on the go.

Price at time of publication: $149

Handmade Christmas Ornament

frosty in a frame ornament craft on pink background
Salvaging empty boxes? How cool. Aaron Dyer

Handmade ornaments can be great gifts during the holidays. Some ornaments can actually double as ceiling fan pulls or table lamp ornaments. They'll love putting the heartfelt gift on their Christmas tree!

Price at time of publication: $35

Tea Bottle

Soma Brew Bottle
Courtesy of Amazon

Treat tea drinkers to a Soma Brew bottle, which makes the perfect cup of tea or coffee. It also keeps beverages warm for the inevitable interruptions to a teacher's break time.

Price at time of publication: $40

Portable Speakers

OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Portable Speaker
Courtesy of Amazon

Consider gifting a wireless speakers with a sleek design, any educator would be proud to display on their desk. The OontZ Angle 3 Bluetooth Portable Speaker fits in the palm of the hand but deliver a quality sound experience using Bluetooth, so teachers can play music for the class without having to hunt for a wire.

Price at time of publication: $35

Whimsical Socks

HAPPYPOP Book Socks
Courtesy of Amazon

For a fun and economical gift, pick up a pair of Happypop Socks. They come in adorable designs, including some with cheeky slogans on the soles.

Price at time of publication: $9

Luxury Body Products

Kiehl's Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter
Courtesy of Sephora

Teachers often complain that if they do receive body care products, they're from the bargain bin and irritate their skin. So if you want to treat your child's teacher to some spa-like bath products, make sure they're luxurious and made from premium ingredients. One example is the Kiehl's Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter.

Price at time of publication: $40

Flavored Salts

Trio of Flavored Salts

Samantha Barnes of Raddish has an excellent idea for a food-related teacher gift that avoids many common allergens and food intolerances: flavored salt! Here's how to make it:

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  • Bake kosher salt with your favorite fresh herbs and seasonings, like lemon peel, garlic and thyme.
  • Spoon into tiny glass jars and decorate with stamped labels and bakers' twine.
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