Low Cost Teacher Gifts That Spread Holiday Cheer


Winter holidays present the ideal opportunity for showing appreciation to our children’s teachers. We know they deserve piles of money for their hard work and effort, but budgets trump desires (and in many districts, it’s illegal to present teachers with cash gifts over $10).  It doesn’t cost much to send a meaningful holiday gift that recognizes your teacher and shows how much you care.  Good news for you AND the special teacher in your life!

VolunteerSpot has polled dozens of teachers, and we’ve learned you can skip the jewelry, candles, and sweet treats. Teachers have drawers full of these items already and many are trying to stay healthy over the holidays.  Former Teacher: Charlotte of @SmartPlayBlog says: “I have too many apple earrings. Please, no more!”

The most memorable gifts are free or low-cost.  We’ve compiled several simple options and a ZiggityZoom Teacher Gift Giveaway! One is sure to fit your situation and all are guaranteed to be welcome and appreciated.

Child-Made Gifts That Melt the Heart

Teachers tell us their most treasured gifts come from students. Gather your kids on a quiet afternoon and try one of these three simple gifts.

  • Handwritten note about why this teacher is special, presented in a decorated envelope
  • Holiday poem or drawing dedicated to the teacher
  • Handmade ornament or small holiday craft item such as this easy tissue paper tree from The City Cradle. Or a simple book mark from ZiggityZoom.

Great Group Gift Ideas

Each parent making a small contribution will be sure to WOW the teacher, and collectively it’s easy to pull together!

  • Winter Break Basket: Ask parents to contribute small items to make your teacher’s holiday special with her own family.  E.g. movie tickets, video game rental cards, discounts for local holiday productions, craft kits, restaurant gift cards, gently used books and DVDs.
  • The Gift of Time (it’s free!): Create a sign up calendar on VolunteerSpot.com and invite parents to choose a shift to supervise recess, help in the classroom, bring the teacher lunch or a morning coffee.  Each parent helping once every month or more makes the teacher feel loved and supported all year!
  • Pampering Package: Collect a set dollar amount from each parent to purchase a larger day spa gift certificate, a shopping card for her favorite department store or fresh market, or to pay fees for your teacher’s favorite hobby: be it golf, yoga, pottery, sewing or rock climbing.

TIP: WePay is a new website making it easy to collect funds from class parents – online through a link. If you’ve ever spent your own money rounding-up the gift, or time chasing down parents to contribute, you’ll love WePay.  (Click this link and get $10 added to your class gift courtesy of VolunteerSpot and WePay – with at least 4 distinct people transacting $10 or more before Dec. 20th, 2010.)

Super Easy DIY Gifts

If you’re in a crafty holiday mindset, try these kid friendly art projects. Younger children can easily help and older kids may be able to make the gifts themselves (with supervision):

Win A Terrific Teacher Gift!

Enter to win one of 3 Teacher Winter Break Baskets from ZiggityZoom.com!

About the author: Karen Bantuveris is the founder & CEO of VolunteerSpot, a time and sanity-saving online coordination tool that empowers busy parents, teachers and grassroots community leaders by making it easier get involved. VolunteerSpot’s free sign up sheets can be used for organizing anything – classroom volunteers, snack schedules, charity fun-runs, tournaments, community potlucks, holiday parties, Giving Trees and more. Karen is passionate about increasing parent participation in schools, engaging parents to fund education technology, and using new media tools to inspire social action in the ‘real’ world. Karen lives in Austin, TX with her husband and daughter.
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Bio: In a former life, Carissa Rogers was a molecular biologist. In her current life, she is the chief researcher of bloggy karma, parenting dos (and some don’ts), new recipes, and for spice she pretends to be a photographer. She started blogging in February of 2008 and publishes her good & crazy thoughts on GoodNCrazy.com. Find her on Twitter and Facebook.


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