This is a guest post by my friends at Volunteer Spot, just in time for the holidays and especially for those Room Parents who are scrambling last-minute to get things together for teachers (ahem, like me. . . ).
A Tisket, A Tasket – “Teacher Gifts” in a Basket!
Delivering a delightful group surprise to the special teacher in your child’s life is as simple as a thoughtful basket of goodies! Filled with treats tailored to his or her favorite pastime or geared towards providing a relaxing evening, themed gift baskets are the thoughtful way to say Thank You this holiday season.
Be creative! Use one of these Ten Terrific Basket Themes (or come up with your own)!
- Movie Night! Grab a couple fun DVDs, add a pack or two of microwavable popcorn, frozen Jr. Mints and 2 bottles of cream soda to create the perfect movie night! Top off with a gift certificate to the movies! (Label it, “Stay In or Go Out?”)
- Spa Day! Gift certificates for a massage, manicure, pedicure, or haircut with bath bubbles, a loofa, body wash and candles provides a super relaxing and enjoyable gift.
- De-clutter! Organizational notepads for grocery lists and menu planning, or personal schedulers and lesson planners look great wrapped up with a gift card on top!
- Cozy Night In! Treat the teacher with a basketful of warm goodies including gourmet hot chocolate, teas, and cider with a personalized mug. Top off with warm and fuzzy mittens and a scarf!
- School supplies! Ask each student’s family to donate one or two small items which are running low in the classroom: pencils, markers, glue, stickers, tissue, hand sanitizer, table wipes, etc. Gift card donations from office supply and craft stores can also help with classroom supplies. Parents who can’t afford to donate can participate by cutting coupons for frequented retailers.
- Get your read on! Ask the other teachers in the same grade, and you are bound to find what your child’s teacher likes to read. Gather donations for a magazine subscription, or fill the basket with a couple best-sellers, a personalized bookmark, and a gift card to the local bookstore.
- Music Mania! Find out your teacher’s favorite band or simply the type of music they enjoy and get tickets to a local show. Include a gift card for downloading music, a cd, or concert dvd. *Have the class sing a holiday song on a recordable card which can be given to the teacher with their basket.
- Hey Sports Fans! Ifyour teacher is wild about their favorite team, organize a basket with tickets to a game, favorite player jerseys or other sports memorabilia, pennant banner for the classroom, and a holiday ornament with the team logo.
- Let’s get cookin’! Ready-to-make cookies and muffins-in-a-jar, family recipes submitted from each student and their family (hole-punched and bound together with ribbon), a gift card to a specialty grocery store, and measuring spoons or a personalized apron (think class handprints) will spice up any kitchen!
- Caffeinated? We know most of our teachers aren’t making it day in and day out off pure adrenaline. Wrap up a gift card to a coffee or tea shop with biscotti or tea cookies, chocolate covered espresso beans, and specialty coffee or tea. Top off with a personalized craft mug – think thumbprints on a glazed mug you bake.
More Teacher Gift ideas in VolunteerSpot’s free e-book!
It’s easy when you use VolunteerSpot— free online sign up sheets allow you to request (via email) all the perfect items for your ultimate group gift. Either ask for donations of small amounts of cash to combine, or request specific items for donation to your gift basket. Volunteers can even sign up from their cell phone or mobile device.
And to up the ante on the memorable factor, personalize your gift baskets with unique items from students:
- Include personal Thank You notes from students or class parents
- Hand-made booklets of student drawings and writings can be bound and included with any basket
- A behind-the-scenes photo album or class picture is a sweet way to make your gift “memorable”
- Holiday cards signed by each student, or recorded with students singing or saying “Thank You Mr/Mrs. . .” are a real treat
- Have a tech-whiz handy? Make a quick movie of students and parents saying Thank You & Happy Holidays – include a little note in your gift basket for the teacher to “check their email”
Teachers are worth a bushel of cheer during the holidays! Get creative – make their winter break shine and show your group’s appreciation, all in one basket!
Written by Jessica Young.
Jessica Young is VolunteerSpot’s social media specialist. When she’s not blogging, tweeting and being socially savvy, Jess coaches volunteer leaders in getting the most out of VolunteerSpot’s free and easy online volunteer coordination tool. Jess lives in Asheville, NC.
The law starting this year in AL is that children can only give teachers a gift with little or no value (i.e. teacher’s mug, homemade card (which I adore, by the way), etc…). I think it’s crazy. We loved my daughters’ teachers when she was in school and I (and my daughter) enjoyed coming up with something special for them at various points during the year. A lot of parents are upset about it, so they did decide that parents can go in together to get a gift card to a teacher supply store or some other place as long as it goes to the classroom and it’s not a gift card worth too much. But not to a favorite restaurant…and no fancy themed basket…Kind of takes the fun out of trying to appreciate someone for doing an all important job. I think the reasoning is based on ethics…don’t want people paying for their kids’ grades via an Olive Garden gift card. Says a lot about lawmakers’ trust in our teachers to choose to behave ethically. And as far as I know, this law came out of left field because I haven’t heard of any scandals concerning teachers changing grades based on Christmas gifts. Nor, have I ever heard of a teacher expecting presents in the first place. Parents here will just have to get very creative. My favorite gifts when I was in the classroom weren’t things that cost much at all except time, and I guess that’s probably true for most teachers, because teachers are suckers for sappy sentimental things. However, that’s beside the point. Sigh. I didn’t even realize I had a soap box about this until I stepped up on it to comment here.
Wow! I just reread this all these hours later and my voice in it sounds angry. I really wasn’t angry. Just disappointed. I should do a better job portraying my real voice the next time I step on a soapbox. LOL!
Brandy–hey–it’s a busy time, and it’s easy to sound curt when we’re on the computer. One of these days we’re going to get together–not sure how, but I sure hope so!–so we can hang out. I do wish we were closer, soapbox or not! Happy holidays, my friend!!
Brandy–I never mind when you comment here–ever. It’s hard when education policy falls into place and we’re not totally behind it. No worries–I get it, my friend.
Thanks for being so understanding. Truly, I hadn’t given any thought to the whole situation (because it doesn’t affect us personally) before I started typing the comment, nor did I have any strong feelings one way or the other. I guess that’s why when I reread it, I was surprised at myself.
Since, I’ve had time to mull over the whole situation and look up more details than what little I’ve read in the paper recently, I really can be a good bit more diplomatic about it now. I just love teaching/teachers and parents/parenting so very much…but lesson learned.
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