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Toronto, Canada

312 Adelaide Street West, Suite 301
Toronto, Ontario - M5V 1R2
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Creative and Budget-Friendly Gifts for Teachers

Written by Robyn Eidinger

Growing up with two teachers for parents, I know that teacher gifts can be tricky. While they are absolutely not required, many families and students like to show their appreciation by offering a little something before the winter break. Teachers have a whole class of students and that can mean a lot of gifts and they appreciate it when you strike the right balance of thoughtful and useful.

Tis’ the season for gift giving and with the holidays right around the corner, some might be starting to feel the stress and pressure that often comes with the holiday season. Personally, I love giving gifts but I hate picking gifts especially for those that I don’t necessarily know on a personal level, Like my kids’ teachers. Not to mention, teachers are often bombarded with gifts and I don’t want mine to be just another gift. I want it to be useful, memorable and/or purposeful.

I have nine teachers to buy for this year and although I would love to be able to buy them each a lavish gift, financially it is just not feasible. To be honest, I think less is more. That people will often appreciate something from the heart rather then something costly. I also like to take the opportunity to get the kids involved, after all, they know their teachers more than I do. So, we take the time to sit down and brainstorm gift ideas together. By getting the kids involved you are teaching them a valuable life lesson: the gift of giving. It’s a concept that is hard for some to wrap their heads around, especially if they are little but a lesson that is so very important.

I am going to share with you that list of gifts ideas that my children and I put together. Perhaps you will find that perfect gift idea for someone on your list. We narrowed it down to three categories; food, artsy and good deeds.


Sugar cookies

Pretty straightforward, easy and fun for the kids. We make a large batch of cookies using the recipe below and the kids get to decorate the cookies as they see fit. Once the icing has dried, we package them in clear holiday bags and add a cute note personalized for each teacher such as a “sweet cookie for the sweetest teacher” or “something yummy for my favorite teacher.” I typically let the kids choose what we write since they are the ones giving the gift.


  • 1 cup salted butter
  • 1 ½ powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2-3 cups of flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Preheat to 400 degrees F
  • In a large bowl mix the butter and sugar and add in the egg and vanilla.
  • Slowly add in the dry ingredients
  • Roll out the dough and use your favorite holiday cookie cutters
  • Bake for 7-9 minutes.
  • Once cooled, decorate as you wish. Options: icing, melted chocolate drizzled, sprinkles, Etc.

Pretzel bites

These little guys are so addictive, be careful not to eat them all before you have a chance to package them. Pretzel bites are slightly more time consuming and you do need to find specific ingredients to be able to make them. But well worth it since they turn out so pretty, not to mention so tasty. There is nothing better in my opinion that the combination of salty and sweet!

What do you need? Square pretzels, Hershey kisses or hugs and festive smarties or M&Ms to put on top. To assemble, prepare baking sheets with parchment paper and line your pretzel squares on them. Then add a Hershey kiss or whatever chocolate you choose to use on each pretzel. Bake them just long enough for the chocolate to become soft and then place a candy on top and push it down ever so slightly so that it will stay. That’s it, that’s all. You can then package them as you wish, I chose to use a festive cellophane bag and ribbon and of course, I add a little note to these as well.

Hot Chocolate Snowmen

This gift idea is so much fun and also allows you to customize each one as you would like. You will need hot chocolate mix, marshmallows and crushed up candy canes and little jars. I used two jars per snowman. In the top jar, I added crushed candy canes and mini marshmallows and I filled the second jar with the hot chocolate mix. I then stacked them using a glue gun to build my snowman. I let my kids use their imaginations to add the finishing touches such as the eyes, nose, buttons, scarf and hat. They had so much fun making these guys and were so very proud to give them to their teachers.


Personalized Christmas ornaments

At your local art store, you can find clear glass ornaments. There are several ways in which you can decorate these. Our favorite is to take broken crayons that we have lying around and on wax paper I grate them. I then fill the ornament with a mixture of coloured wax and melt it using the blow dryer. Be sure to rotate the ornament as you are melting the wax to ensure that colour gets dispersed all over. In the past, I have melted wax on one side of the ornament and on the side that does not have any décor, I inserted a photo. These make great gifts for teachers and family members alike.


When time is ticking and I don’t have the chance to run around and find specific items, I make holiday cards with the kids. It seems so simple and nothing out of the ordinary but sometimes kind words and the thought behind the gift is more than enough to brighten someone’s day/holiday.

Picture frames

For this activity, I purchase inexpensive picture frames and either let the kids paint and decorate them or I do them myself framing the picture frame with crayons. It is very teacher friendly and you can then select a picture or a quote that you feel is the most appropriate for the person you are giving it to.

Good deed

This is by far my favorite thing to do, especially during the holidays. Our teachers work tirelessly each day, shaping the minds of our little ones and I like to show my appreciation by making a donation to a local charity in their honor. I typically choose a local charity that works with children since that seems most appropriate.  Out of all the gifts that I have given to teachers over the years, the responses I received from a simple donation was remarkable. Each and every teacher was beyond touched.

As previously mentioned, they receive an abundance of food, gift cards and so on that they of course appreciate but by going that extra step and giving to the less fortunate or those in need made the world of difference for them. No matter your situation, every little bit helps and so donations make for a very affordable, convenient and kind gift. This is definitely my go-to gift idea for anyone over the holidays!

So, there you have it, our list of fun, creative and affordable gifts for your children’s teachers. Gift giving does not need to be hard or stressful this holiday season, after all it is the thought that counts. Happy holidays from my family to yours!

*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Parent Life Network or their partners.