Do I Really Need To Buy Every Teacher a Holiday Gift? (2024)

Key Takeaways

  • A holiday gift is great way to show your childs' teacher you appreciate them.
  • It truly is the thought that counts, a homemade gift or a heartfelt card is just as good as something store bought.
  • The decision is up to you and your family, there are many ways to show appreciation outside of a holiday gift.

The holidays are a magical time of year, but frankly, they can also be chaotic. With decorating, juggling social engagements, themed school days, and moving around The Elf on the Shelf (if that is a tradition for your family), it seems like there are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. December flies by, and before you know it, it’s a new year.

Holiday shopping, and getting gifts for all the friends and family on your list, are stressful, but there’s an added panic many parents feel when thinking about giving a gift to their child’s teacher. Do you get them a gift? What should you get? Should you buy something or make something? Are gift cards acceptable? It’s a lot to decide and it can feel like a lot of pressure—so we've tapped teachers, parents, and an etiquette expert to guide you on your teacher gift-giving decisions.

Yes! I'm On Team Teacher Gifts For The Holidays

Teachers are some of the unsung heroes of the world. They teach the minds of future generations and have a huge impact on our children. Teachers don't only shape children academically, but also have the ability to affect their character, and motivation to learn. Historically, educators are extremely underpaid and systemically underappreciated, which is why there are teacher shortages nationwide. Giving your child's teacher a holiday gift is a thoughtful way to show your family's appreciation for all that they do.

Melissa Flocco, a Christopher Columbus Charter School kindergarten teacher says that she loves to receive gifts from her students and their families. She recalls one of her favorites, "a Disney plaque with my name and quotes from my favorite movies that related to the fun in my classroom.”

Many parents agree and do get gifts for their kids' teachers. Angela Culbreath, a mother of four, says it is important to express our gratitude for their care, concern, and instruction. Their roles can be challenging on many levels.

"Over the years, we have given gifts to my children's care providers, teachers, and coaches. A small token of thanks serves as an acknowledgment that what they do is valued. It truly takes a village," Culbreath says. Among the gifts she's given are mugs, gift cards, candles, scarves, tasty treats, and Bath and Body Works Stress Relief products.

The Best Teacher Gifts That Show Just How Much You Appreciate Their Hard Work

What's an Appropriate Teacher Gift?

What do you buy for your child’s teacher when oftentimes you may not know much about their personal lives, or their likes and dislikes? Myka Meier, a two-time best-selling author, social savant, and founder of Beaumont Etiquette says getting something thoughtful that relates back to the children or their teaching role is always a great gift idea for a teacher. “A sweet coffee cup with a photo of the class printed on it, almost anything monogrammed like a personalized notebook, planner or calendar, or lovely new pen set.”

"Class materials are always welcome; whiteboard markers, pencils, laminating sheets, tissues, etc. I've got enough mugs though, thank you," says Veronica Rohach, a teacher and English-language assistant in France.

Meier says to never gift money to your kids' teacher. "It can be seen as bribing and many teachers have policies against accepting monetary gifts. Feel free to chip in with all the other families of the class who wish to join in to give one class gift," Meier says. "Don't sign specific names on the group holiday gift, however, as you would never want to leave one family or child out who were unable to put finances into the gift."

No! Giving Every Teacher a Gift is Too Much

On the other hand, giving your child's teacher a gift may be too much, and buying something can be problematic, says Lillie Marshall, a veteran teacher of 18 years and the creator of Drawings Of and Teaching Traveling education sites.

“First, this can cause pressures for families that can't afford them—either financially or in terms of time,” Marshall says. “Second, such gifts raise ethical issues, as teachers may feel expected to give different treatment to children who gave them.”

Additionally, if your kid has numerous teachers that are heavily involved in their schooling, it can be unrealistic and expensive to buy every teacher a gift.

How Parents Can Become More Involved in Schools

Should Middle and High Schoolers Give Gifts?

As kids transition from elementary to middle and high school, so do their academic classes. They often don't spend as much time with a homeroom or specific teacher. In these cases, giving gifts becomes less practical or necessary. When they become older, gift-giving becomes more sparse. There are also added social pressures to consider. Gift-giving can single your child out amongst their peers, as a 'teacher's pet.'

However, if your child has a teacher they have a special bond with you can always give them a gift away from the other kids to show your appreciation. "I think gifts are appreciated no matter how old the child is—a gift simply shows gratitude, which is always appreciated at any age," Meier says.

Other Ways To Show Teachers Appreciation

Gifting doesn't always mean buying something, there are many other ways to show your child's teacher appreciation. "The #1 best gift, in my opinion, is a detailed letter explaining specific reasons why that teacher is appreciated. These letters are treasured by educators, and can make a world of difference in morale," Marshall says.

Rohach also values the sentiment no matter the gift. "As a teacher, I love receiving gifts even if you've regifted them, even if they're homemade. I'm just grateful to receive a little recognition."

"The more thoughtful the better, so you often don't even need to spend any money on a purchased gift at all," Meier adds. "A homemade holiday ornament, a batch of homemade cookies, a beautifulChristmas card made by your little ones, a thoughtfulpoem, or a painting will be loved and show appreciation."

What This Means For You

Giving your kid's teacher a holiday gift is a wonderful way to show them appreciation for all that they do, but buying something isn't always necessary. There are many other ways to give, that are just as thoughtful, such as a homemade gift or a card with heartfelt words.

Teachers will be moved by anything that shows your family values their contributions to your child's life (maybe except mugs). But remember staying involved, and helping in the classroom is a wonderful way to show appreciation all year long.

How Parents and Teachers Can Work Together for the Child's Benefit

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Do I Really Need To Buy Every Teacher a Holiday Gift? (1)

By Chelsie DeSouza
Chelsie DeSouza is a writer specializing in parenting, sharing her knowledge on all stages of motherhood. She has a 5-year-old daughter and has been writing for the last 3 years with bylines in WHYY, The Everymom, Mother Mag, and more.

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Do I Really Need To Buy Every Teacher a Holiday Gift? (2024)

FAQs

Do I Really Need To Buy Every Teacher a Holiday Gift? ›

Giving your kid's teacher a holiday gift is a wonderful way to show them appreciation for all that they do, but buying something isn't always necessary. There are many other ways to give, that are just as thoughtful, such as a homemade gift or a card with heartfelt words.

Do you give Christmas gifts to all teachers? ›

Be sure to check with your school's handbook to find out the school policy on gifting. Some schools don't allow any financial gifts to faculty and staff. No family feels pressure to contribute (nor should they contribute any amount over $5).

What is an appropriate amount for a teacher holiday gift? ›

Don't spend too much

A safe bet would be to keep your gift under $20, and public opinion is right around that same number.

How much do you give teachers for Christmas? ›

According to surveys like this one from the website SheKnows, most parents give the teacher something worth between $10 and $50.

Are you supposed to get teachers end of year gifts? ›

While giving a gift at the end of the school year isn't required, it's a nice way to tell teachers THANK YOU for being there for our kids every day.

Should teachers get Christmas gifts yes or no? ›

Giving your kid's teacher a holiday gift is a wonderful way to show them appreciation for all that they do, but buying something isn't always necessary. There are many other ways to give, that are just as thoughtful, such as a homemade gift or a card with heartfelt words.

Is $50 too much for a teacher gift? ›

Our etiquette expert would like to remind parents, “You don't have to spend a lot of money, and sometimes, a handwritten note from the heart is the best gesture of appreciation.” That said, Schweitzer says that, depending on the school policy, $50 may be appropriate (and she prefers a pooled gift) if your child has the ...

Is $25 a good teacher gift? ›

There is no set amount you should spend on a teacher gift—it really depends on your budget. A good rule of thumb is to spend around $20-$30, but if you have a larger budget, you could go up to $50.

Can teachers accept gifts over $50? ›

Gift limits

The limit also applies to group gifts, and taking up a collection for a teacher is against the law if the gift will be more than $50.

Is it OK to give teachers cash for Christmas? ›

Gifts raise ethical and fairness concerns.

Legally, most public school teachers are not allowed to accept gifts worth more than $50, but even if a family gives me a $5 gift, I think about the time and labor that went into it… and frankly, feel uncomfortable.

Do teachers like gift cards? ›

l asked educators about their holiday wishes. Gift cards and school supplies topped the list, along with handwritten notes and other simple acts of appreciation.

Is $100 too much for a teacher gift from parents? ›

It really depends on each individual family's circ*mstances, too. For some, $100 is right on the mark, while for others it's overly generous. It certainly seems that no one finds it stingy, however.

What is a good gift card amount for a teacher? ›

Most teacher gift cards fall between $10 and $30, but there is no required amount for a gift card — we're sure they would appreciate any and every amount you want to give! There's no pressure for an amount. Choose an amount based on your budget.

When should I give my teacher a holiday gift? ›

Last Day of School

Gifts at the end of the year are great for students to give teachers because the family may have that teacher again in the future.

Do teachers like getting gifts from students? ›

Teachers really appreciate gift cards (along with handwritten notes). No surprise here. Think Amazon, Costco, Target or Staples. These allow teachers to buy what they want for their classroom or for personal use.

Do you give Thanksgiving gifts to teachers? ›

While Thanksgiving gifts for teachers are not expected, you may want to show a teacher friend or your child's teacher how thankful you are for them with a gift. Whether you're a room parent, parent, or fellow teacher looking for ideas, here are 36 ways to say thank you this season.

Do you give teachers a family Christmas card? ›

Teachers and Daycare Providers

If you have children, don't forget to send a card to their daycare providers or school teachers. Bonus points if you pair it with a heartfelt holiday gift.

How much for a teacher gift card for Christmas? ›

There is no set amount you should spend on a teacher gift—it really depends on your budget. A good rule of thumb is to spend around $20-$30, but if you have a larger budget, you could go up to $50.

Do you get your kids teachers gifts? ›

If you suspect that your child's teacher is not making a living wage, by all means feel free to individually give them presents of gift cards, useful items, or even cash — if and only if you can afford it, yourself, and if the gifts fall within the ethics of the particular school.

Do teachers want gifts or gift cards? ›

So, what do teachers really want? It's simple, really—and fits every budget: notes of appreciation, school supplies and gift cards.

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