2009-12-17 / Features

The ABCs Of Choosing Gifts for Teachers

The tradition of giving gifts to teachers during the holiday season is still going strong. But many parents – particularly those with children who are new to school – can be unsure of what kinds of gifts are appropriate and will be most welcomed by their children’s teachers. In some schools, the tradition includes presenting a joint gift from all of the families in a class while, in others, teachers tend to receive gifts from individual families. While there is no right or wrong to teacher gift-giving, it is always a good idea to check with veteran parents or the principal about the school’s policy or preferences.

The key to selecting teachers’ gifts that will truly be appreciated is to stay both general and practical. While many veteran teachers report having received enough apple-themed keepsakes and whimsical desk ornaments to fill a museum, many classrooms from coast to coast lack anything beyond the most basic supplies. As a result, many teachers spend hundreds of their own dollars each year to outfit their classrooms and their students with supplies and instructional aids.

Whether your gift is from one family or many, consider giving something that will enable your child’s teacher to choose items for classroom use. Gift cards from popular general merchandise stores, book sellers, art-supply stores, and office-supply retailers are always appreciated and give the teacher a wide array of merchandise to choose from. Gift cards also offer a great deal of flexibility: Teachers can spend a portion of the money to buy supplies for the classroom and use the rest for something personal. If your child’s school has a scrip program, consider giving scrip. Not only will the teacher be thrilled with your gift, it will help earn money for the school as well.

Teachers also love to receive gifts with a homemade touch – especially when they include something created by their students. Themed gift baskets are popular choices because a child can add a handmade card or item. For example, a bookthemed basket can include a recent bestseller or a gift card for a local bookstore, a book light and a bookmark created by your child. A baking basket might include a card containing a favorite family recipe (written and decorated by your child), a mason jar tied with a ribbon containing the dry ingredients needed for the recipe, and a wooden spoon, whisk or spatula. For a movie basket, purchase two movie passes, add in some popcorn or other treats and top it off with a handmade card from your child featuring a colorful drawing or a description of his or her favorite movie. Each of these baskets contains the perfect combination — something useful and something unique. And the pos-

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