The Ramshackle Glam Gift Guide for Teacher People 2023

I get a little stressed out about what to do for my kids’ teachers around the holidays. I want to make sure that they all feel appreciated…but I also very much don’t want to offend anyone (by, say, skipping someone I really should have given a gift to, or giving something that I think is thoughtful but that isn’t especially welcome).

So I went straight to the source, and asked a former elementary school teacher, Olivia (now the founder of Fresh Starts Registry) to tell me the honest truth about teachers and holiday gift-giving.

P.S. It goes without saying that the number one gift pick for teacher people, IMO, is this.

Q. Why teacher gifts?

A. Teachers love getting gifts not because they “love getting gifts”, but because they love the acknowledgment that they are the person who spends eight hours a day with your child, caring for them, getting to know them, thinking about them, and of course teaching them. We don’t want/need holiday gifts because we are greedy; we want the parents to say, “Hi, I recognize you care for my child, and for that, I thank you!”

The unpopular, but totally true, other reason we need gifts is…we need gifts for other people. Yikes. Yes, it’s true. Teachers – especially private school teachers – make no money at all, and those gift cards, candles, aprons, chocolates? We re-gift many of them to people we need gifts for!

Q. Which teachers should get a gift?

A. Here’s my rule of thumb: if the person touches your child within a week’s time, they get a gift (some classes, like PE, only meet once a week, but they do teach your kid!): nurse, gym teacher, art teacher, any classroom teacher, bus driver. You never give gifts to “almost” all teachers. Even if you don’t like the teacher, throw something small their way.

Q. What makes a great teacher gift?

A. Gift cards. Even for $5! Seriously, just hand out $5 S’bucks cards or Dunkin Donuts, and we’re happy campers – that is one less drink we have to buy! We also love good chocolates, mugs, picture frames, and I’ve gotten earrings, scarves I love. The gifts I really really love are the ones that have to do with the relationship with the student: a student of mine and I loved talking fashion and nails, so she got me an Essie set. Another student told me all about his dad’s BBQ steak, so he got me a Penzy’s spice set and his dad’s recipe (LOVED that gift!). Be mindful, be thoughtful.

What do teachers love most? A note from the parent or student saying thank you and what they’ve learned/gotten from the class/my teaching/our relationship. We save those forever. We promise.

And now…on to my gift picks, gleaned from a combined 20 years in teacher gift-related anxiety.


Mushroom Plant Watering Globes


Personalized Book Stamp

Protip: Teachers have the best book recommendations. I’ve scored some seriously great YA recs from my kids’ fourth and fifth grade teachers in particular – books that we can all read together and all enjoy equally.

But for the book-obsessed, there is a quandary: You want people to read your favorite books! But you also want them back. Solution: A personalized book stamp. I’m obsessed.


The Big Activity Book for Teacher People

Hitting this one over the head because I literally conceived of this book to fill the gap between what teachers want and what they get.


Sun Sprinkles Shop Bud Vase

Just the absolute cutest. I cannot imagine anyone who wouldn’t open one of these and give a little “squee”.


Rechargeable Hand Warmers

For those frigid playground supervision sessions.


The "I Love Trader Joe's" Cookbook

Self-explanatory. Excellent.


Kitsch Glowy Skin Bundle

Love this for a little frivolous, luxe moment – because teachers deserve those the MOST.


Kikkerland Rainbow Maker

OK, this is on my own personal wishlist – you put it on your window, and it reflects rainbow sparkles through the entire room. And it utilizes solar power, so it’s education-adjacent!


Personalized Pencils

So. Cute.


Money Tree

Until we convince the government to start paying our teachers anything approximating what they *should* be getting paid…maybe give them a leg up with a money tree.

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