Lisa MacColl went up to the teacher's desk and asked a question. In fact, she queried several teachers. "What do you like to receive from your students as Christmas gifts?"
The result was an article for Reader's Digest that should have parents everywhere breathing a sigh of relief.
MacColl's article lists nine ideas, many of which cost very little or even nothing at all. Some of my favorites:
Make something, like a unique personalized ornament, with your kids or bake up a batch of cookies with them. Pop the cookies into a dollar store cookie tin, add a bow and you're golden.
One elementary school teacher said she treasures dollar store gifts that have been selected by the student and given with pride. Hey! It really is the thought that counts!
MacColl offers no suggestions as to what those gifts might be, but you know I will. What about a set of three matching ornaments? I recently found colorful acrylic snowman ornaments in three different designs. Or how about the small white porcelain-look angel ornaments that come in a variety of styles? Each ornament is only a buck. You could also give a new desk or pocket agenda with a pen; $2 for the set. I've also seen some really nice wall calendars. Just a few thoughts.
Another really inexpensive idea from the article comes from a musician/teacher, whose student gave him a framed photograph of himself playing at a local jazz festival. Again, there are lots of nice frames at the dollar store and you can bet this teacher will keep this memento and remember the kid who gave it to him.
Perhaps the best gift of all is a simple "thank-you." A heart-felt note written by the child will be kept and re-read. I'm sure more of our teachers would appreciate knowing that they have made a difference, especially since the day-to-day running of a classroom can be downright tiring at times.
Now for a few ideas that will cost a bit of green:
Teachers really appreciate books for the classroom or a donation to the school library in their name. Or, how about donating a goat to a family in Africa in the teacher's name? A charitable donation has the two-fold benefit of honoring the teacher while helping others.
If you plan on giving a gift certificate for a movie, include concession treats. MacColl suggests pooling your resources with other parents so you can give a gift certificate for a spa or restaurant.
Another idea is to give wine or chocolates, but I would avoid these unless you know that the teacher in question enjoys wine, or in the case of sweets, isn't a diabetic.
MacCall also adds on three gifts that it would be best to avoid:
Coffee mugs. What teacher doesn't have a car-load of these already?
Perfumes. Some people just can't wear perfume because they have a sensitivity to it. I have a friend (not a teacher) who must avoid people wearing a strong scent because it causes her to have an asthma attack.
Underwear. Really? There are people who think it's okay to give a teacher underwear? Ooh! In my opinion underwear is something you can safely give to immediate family members. According to the article one poor lady was presented with a negligee. How inappropriate is that?
Marlene Alexander is a freelance writer and dollar store diva. She writes ideas and tips for home decorating using only items from the dollar store. Marlene has also written an e-book, Christmas - Dollar Store Style, which shows you how to entertain, decorate and give great gifts using only items from the dollar store.