Easiest End of the Year Teacher Gift to Start Now

I’m usually scrambling at the end of each year to find a gift for our teachers. And when I think about all of the time, love, and effort these amazing people have put into my child’s life for nine months, it makes me wish I had thought ahead!

So here’s what I’m planning. I’m going to start now with a gift that’s meaningful, easy, affordable, and surely appreciated.

A memory keeper.

memory keeper

This is a jar that will hold special memories from the year. And at the end, it will be wrapped and given to each teacher as their gift.

Both of my girls are super excited about this whole project. Our goal is to drop in a note at least once a week. It can be anything from their favorite lesson, funny story, or piece of wisdom that was shared by their teacher.

And we’re being relaxed (and realistic) about how often we’ll remember to do this. I told the girls if they forget a week, or don’t have anything specific to share, that’s totally fine. There might even be weeks they want to share more than one note. (Like the first two weeks of school!) I’m sure it will all work out, and these jars will be filled to the brim with cherished memories come time for 5th grade graduation. Sniffle.

Want to make one yourself? Here’s all you need…

teacher gift1

  • Glass jar: Large enough to contain a year’s worth of notes. You can even recycle something, like a large (and clean) Mason jar.
  • Label: I’m using a chalkboard label, but you could also use individual letters to spell out your message.
  • Maker: I have a chalk marker to write on my special label. (Remember when I used this for my mantel project last Christmas?!)
  • Paper scraps: We’re using bright colored paper so the jar will look festive when it’s finished. I found a pad of 4-inch square card stock from Hobby Lobby, which fits nicely in our container. Any scrap paper that’s trimmed neatly will work great.

teacher gift2

That’s it! Super easy, right? Oh, and we keep one for each teacher on the counter in our laundry room – which is a fairly high-traffic spot for us. 😉 That way they don’t become “out of sight out of mind.”

Have a great school year with your sweet kids, and here’s to making happy memories!!




The Best Gifts for Teachers

TeachersThis thankful Thursday is all about teachers. I’m willing to go out on a limb here to say teachers are some of the most patient, kind, humble and intelligent people on the planet. My sister, Debby, has been a 4th grade teacher for many years, and she certainly fits this description. Not all teachers are perfect (who is?), but they’re certainly special. So when it comes to making your Christmas list, be sure to check it twice for those teachers of yours.

Since the best gift is a thoughtful one, I asked a few teachers for some ideas. Here are the top five faves!

GiftCard#1 Gift cards: I was originally thinking of offering a slew of ideas besides gift cards, but after my research it became clear. These are by far the most favorite and preferred gift. If you’re worried about it not being personal, you can make it extra special by getting a gift card from your teacher’s favorite store and wrapping it in a box that’s her favorite color or fits her style.

These adorable gift card holders are on Etsy.

These adorable gift card holders are on Etsy.

Most teachers love gift cards from bookstores, craft stores, spas, coffee shops and local restaurants.

If you have a super organized group of parents, you can coordinate getting one big gift card, which will make that terrific teacher of yours feel like she’s getting a bonus. You could also purchase several smaller gift cards and display them on a photo holder with a pretty bow tied around the base. The holder makes a great desk accessory, too!

Photo Holder

Something like this would be perfect for holding gift cards.

Using a plant or little Christmas tree is another fun way to arrange an assortment of gift cards. My sister had a class use a lavender tree one year, and she said it was lovely.

This is a live tree with gift cards tied like ornaments.

This is a live evergreen tree with gift cards tied like ornaments.

Speaking of group gifts…

#2 Gift Baskets: Jump on a site like SignUpGenious or BringIt to make a list of your teacher’s favorite things. Have each family sign up to bring one item, and then turn it into a big gift basket. That way your teacher gets items she loves or needs – and ensures she doesn’t get another dozen coffee mugs.

One thing NOT to give teachers is coffee mugs. Their desks, counters and cabinets are brimming with mugs, and they don’t need any more to add to the stash.

coffee mug

As cute as this is, just walk away! That goes for knick-knack ornaments, too.

#3 Goodies: I know it might seem like teachers live at school. I thought that when I was little. I’d see a teacher at the grocery store and think, “What are you doing here – in public?” Spoiler alert, teachers have lives outside of school. Many of them are working parents, too. They don’t have much time for things like baking, so edible gifts are a welcomed treat for them to enjoy and take home to their families.

Christmas Goodies

These are peanut butter cookies with M&M features and mini chocolate-covered pretzels for antlers.

If you go the route of homemade treats, be sure you’ve tested the recipe and packaged the goods in a new container that looks appetizing. No one likes sketchy food – even if it is dipped in chocolate.

#4 Board Games: Teachers usually have to provide their own supplies, books and games for the classroom. So checking your teacher’s wish list is always a thoughtful idea. In addition to stocking up on Post-its and pencils, think about adding a fun board game to the class. With a long winter ahead, a quick game of Cranium or Bananagrams might be the ticket to a teacher’s sanity. Here’s an awesome list from Education.com that recommends games by age group starting at preschool.


Our family loves Cranium.

#5 Handwritten Notes: Good old-fashioned letters that are written from the heart always make priceless gifts. Pretty much every teacher’s goal is to help children, so to receive hand-written confirmation that they’re making a difference in a child’s life can be incredibly affirming and joyful. You definitely can’t go wrong with this gift!

I hope this was helpful. If you’re a teacher, let us know what else you’d add to this list.

May you all have a day full of gratitude! #ThankfulThursday