Holidays,  Shopping

Tell Me What You Want, What You REALLY, REALLY, WANT – A Teacher’s Perspective About Holiday Gift Giving/Receiving

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I was approached a few months ago about being a contributor to this very blog and thought to myself, “Well why the heck not?!” As any teacher reading this knows, we usually bite off more than we should – you notice I did not say more than we can chew because we notoriously get it done one way or another! So the time has finally arrived for this gal to contribute, and I hope this info helps bring a little peace during this crazy busy time of year.

Just a quick reminder – I have been in education for 13 years, and I feel that I am qualified to guide you in this season’s quest for gift giving. Let me preface something first before I start dropping some very informative knowledge – This is NOT a requirement! So please hold all calls, texts, and emails about this topic if you feel the need to Grinch-it-up. I have talked with parents and teachers equally and these are a few nuggets of advice to help make gift giving less stressful for YOU and your child/ren.

Holiday Nugget #1

Teachers usually have a list on file with the PTO at your school. This is a great place to start to get ideas.

Holiday Nugget #2

Chat with the Homeroom Parent. They usually have spent a little more time with the teacher and may have some valuable input. I know one of my homeroom moms still brings me an iced tea even though I don’t teach their child any longer! Amazing! I can walk into my room and there it is glowing like an angelic caffeinated cup of get-me-through-the-rest-of-the-day!

Holiday Nugget #3

Now let’s get to the two lists- What Teachers Really Want and Please No More, Thank You – This is where some of my teacher friends got a little sketchy about answering the question- What Do Teachers REALLY Want?

After a bit of hemming and hawing, it came-to-light that they truly fear hurting anyone’s feelings and nothing would be worse to them to come across ungrateful. So after what felt like a therapy session (including sweets and coffee), I gained their trust in answering this question and in creating the lists below.

Please remember, I chose this idea because I have always been close with my classroom parents and cherish their children, as do the teachers I interviewed for this. This is to help and is in no way a high- pressure scheme to have a present counting contest!

Please No More, Thank You

  • Candy/Sweets (stress eating is alive and well, and we try valiantly to fight it as do the buttons on our pants)
  • Mugs/Cups
  • Tote bags
  • Ornaments
  • Scented items
  • Notepads

Now that wasn’t so bad, was it?! Just like a band-aid, we ripped it off! Now on to the cheerful & fun stuff!!

What Teachers Appreciate Greatly
(renamed it here, so you continue to get the point that we are grateful for all you do for us.)

  • Flair Felt Tip Pens are great for keeping grading more positive and faculty meetings more entertaining!
  • Mani or Pedi Gift Cards
  • Homemade coupons for a favorite drink once a month (remember how that iced tea saved my life?!)
  • Volunteering during Classroom parties & field trips

Now I am really going to blow your mind! You will be amazed at how far $5/$10 can go!
A credit or gift card to any of the following will almost always go right back into your child’s classroom.

I hope you take this information to heart and see that, first, we are grateful for any and all gifts we receive, and secondly, we want you to enjoy the season as much as we do and to give you a small bit of peace during a high-stress time of year.

Peace-Love-Wine from the Wine Slinging Teacher AKA Jane Smith




  • Vox

    As a soon-to-be former teacher, I can tell you that the gifts I cherish most are cards with handwritten notes from kids and/or their parents, pens (since they all seem to disappear no matter how many you think you have), and sticky note pads (because is always that stray note that needs to attached to paperwork). What I can do without is home baked goods (sorry, but they don’t get eaten), gift cards to fancy restaurants (I have wasted so many of these in the past), and I can’t think of anything else. The bottom line is that I love it when kids or their parents think enough of me to let me know. Thanks for sharing.

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