First, let me list for you what the top requests for teacher's gifts - as given by teachers themselves - were for this year: (Any teachers that are reading along please feel free to comment and add to this!)
- A heartfelt card of how that teacher has helped or inspired your child in a specific way
- Something the child was involved in creating or wrapping
- Gift Cards to 1) Starbucks 2) Staples/Nearest Office Supply Store 3) Amazon 4) Barnes & Noble 5) Target
- School Supplies they use frequently (Yes! They would enjoy a pack of bright colored dry erase markers or a nice pair of scissors!)
- Books, supplies or equipment for the class room
- Specialty chocolates, candies, teas, coffees & foods they wouldn't buy for themselves
- Personalized/custom stationary, note cards, etc. for all the notes they have to write (bonus if they are hand made)
- ANY kind of home baked items!
What wasn't on the list (and the teachers politely requested "No More Please"):
- Coffee mugs (get the Starbucks style tumblers & customize the insert instead),
- Teddy bears, plush toys, etc. unless the teacher specifically collects them
- Perfumes, lotions & bubble bath (opt for classroom hand sanitizer instead)
- Expensive, flamboyant gifts (most school districts dissuade teachers from accepting gifts valued at over $50)
So as I was brainstorming it kind of came to me that people want their gift to stand out, which is why the pratical items teachers really want are often not given. I was also remebering how impossibly shy I was as a child and how I hoped the outside of the gift said everything it needed to so I wouldn't have to answer a lot of questions while she was opening it. I also recall being a junior in high school and giving one of my favorite teachers a tin full of a gourmet nut mix (with these divine candied pecans) which she loved snacking on so much, she not only gave me a thank you note before christmas break but she mailed one to my mother as well! Then it occured to me how these ideas could all come together. Give the item the teacher wants or if it is food, opt for something from a gourmet boutique, then spend a little extra time and money with creative wrapping and presentation. Your child will have something beautiful to give the teacher and she'll love that it's not another teddy bear!
To illustrate my point, I have snagged some photos from a popular paper crafting website that show how stunning you can wrap a simple bag of candy:
Any of these would probably send the recipient squeeling with delight to the teacher's lounge! Talk about standing out - imagine how beautiful this style of "scrapped wrapping" would look sitting next to other regular boxes and bags. And why stop at candy? A bundle of white chalk in a clear cellophane bag with a tag would be just as appreciated.
Tay's Teacher Gift "Kits":
Since celophane bags tend to come in packs of 50 (49 more than you need) and it does take a substantial amount of ribbon and scrap supplies to complete this type of wrapping job, I'm offering 'Creative Presentations' this year along with a few completely ready gifts for last minute emergencies. (You wouldn't believe how many calls I get. I'm the emergency gift headquarters! And yes, I gift wrap.)
I'll be offering a few decorative plates with vinyl lettering (intended to display), delicious chocolates and glass candy jars with vinyl lettering, all delightfully wrapped and ready to give for $15 or less. (Including some adorable $3 candy items.)
In addition I'll also have a selection of celophane bags, coordinating ribbons & handmade tags for you to choose from if you'd like to wrap your own. I'll have pictures posted here before December so you can see just how adorable that Office Max gift card or bag of chocolate covered raisins can look!