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Holiday Gifts Teachers, Neighbors and Helpers Will Love

From Gift Cards to Time to Family Night Fun, these thoughtful gifts will “wow” the people on your Holiday Gift List.

Sue Kirchner is a family fun coach and weekly contributor to Patch.com. She created ChocolateCakeClub.com and ChocolateCakeMoments.com both sites dedicated to helping busy families have more fun together. Sue and her family fun ideas have been featured on TV, newspapers, magazines, and blogs. 

Need some fun ideas to say “Thank you” and “Happy Holidays” for your kid’s teachers this year? Helpful neighbors, sitters, or co-workers on your list? I try to be creative and come up with something unique or homemade, but many years I give gifts that I think they could really use, like gift cards or books. I am fortunate enough to have 6 teachers living in my neighborhood so I asked them what they like to get at the end of the year from their students. Here were the top answers, as well as some of my own ideas for thoughtful ways to say Happy Holidays.

CLASSROOM GIFTS:

Book Gift Cards – Many teachers have to buy their own books for the classroom so gift cards help to cover that expense for them. You can also donate some of your favorite, gently used books for the classroom as another thoughtful gift.

Anything Homemade by the Student - Photos collages, or a written story are nice gifts to make for your teacher. Artwork to hang in the classroom is nice, too. Here are some fun homemade teacher’s gift ideas. (Note: Although some teachers told me they appreciate handmade gifts, others say they don’t know what to do with it all. If you get a handmade gift from 26 kids over a 30 year period, it’s overwhelming. While I totally understand that, I also think it is nice to get your kids involved in the gift and there’s no better way to do that than to have them create something and give their time.)

School Supplies - A reader last year told me she gets a canvas bag and fills it with extra school supplies and chocolate. Something for the teacher and something for the classroom. Both very appreciated.

Time – Offer to give your child’s teacher some of your time in the next year. Can you and your child volunteer to help clean up the room? Can you come in and read for story hour? Ask your child’s teacher where she would most need help and then offer to do so. You can create a coupon if you want something tangible to give. 

To read the rest of the article, head over to my blog for more holiday gift ideas for teachers, neighbors, and friends.

What ideas do you have for Holiday gifts for your kids' teachers, neighbors, co-workers or friends?

Paul Harris December 08, 2011 at 12:03 AM
Thanks for the excellent tips. In our time of waning literacy books make a gift that lasts for years and can educate, entertain, and be passed on. Paul Harris Author, "Diary From the Dome, Reflections on Fear and Privilege During Katrina"
Kathy O. December 08, 2011 at 04:03 PM
For parents who do not have the money to buy extra presents and on a budget, I think a handwritten 'thank you for your hard work and dedication' card from the parents and/or students is more than appropriate. I don't like the pressure that accompanies the unrealistic expectation that we need to buy something for everyone, especially in this economy.
Meg December 08, 2011 at 04:59 PM
In previous years I have given our daycare providers gift cards to Jewel/Dominicks, Kohl's or Target. The teachers at day care centers are generally not paid much so I try to be as generous as I can be with them. For the grade school teachers in past years I have donated to the class fund that combines money from all the students to buy one gift, typically a gift card. I have also given gift cards to a spa finder so they can choose where to go. Lands End canvas tote bags one year were a huge hit with all the teachers. One male teacher is a big blackhawks fan so I gave him a gift card to NHL.com. Vera Bradley zip id case makes a great gift. I stuck in starbuck gift cards. Hope these suggestion help or spark another idea for you.
Sue Kirchner December 08, 2011 at 10:28 PM
Thank you everyone for these ideas. I appreciate your viewpoints and for sharing what you do for holiday gift ideas.

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