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Monday 5.05.2014

Most Popular Gift Ideas for Teacher Appreciation Week

teacher gift card holder
Image credit: Amy Miller Designs

My sister is a school teacher, and every year, her husband looks forward to the influx of gift cards she receives during Teacher Appreciation Week. Though she enjoys the handmade gifts and is grateful for every gesture made (seriously, every gesture), gift cards are simply more useful than most other gifts. The “#1 Teacher” mugs pile up, the apple-themed teddy bears get dusty and the handmade paperweights start to take over the desk. Gift cards, on the other hand, rarely get old, dusty or take up too much space.

That said, we did an informal poll on Facebook and asked other teachers to tell us the best gift they’ve ever received. While gift cards are popular, they are outranked by two other things.

Most Popular Gift for Teachers

Above all, teachers appreciate heartfelt, handwritten thank you notes from students and parents. The note doesn’t even have to be from current pupils. One educator reported that her best teacher gift came in the form of an invitation to a former middle school student’s college graduation. Another teacher loved receiving a letter from a student who used his best penmanship to write her a thank you note. Below are a few of their comments:

“I received a letter written by my special needs student, thanking me for being more than a teacher–for being his eight hour mom when he is at school. It hangs in a frame on my wall at work.”

“I received a poem and a drawing from one of my middle school students. I love middle school kids!”

“My kids gave me cute drawings and messages about my beauty. LOL!”

“A written letter from a parent thanking me for the difference I had made, made my day.”

Most Memorable Gift for Teachers

In a addition to receiving sweet letters, simple gestures are often the most memorable teacher appreciation gifts. From the hoodie with all of the kids’ names on it to the class picture decorated with candy kisses, teachers are often moved by small and simple acts of gratitude. Below are just a few examples:

“In lieu of a gift, my students learned a song and sang it just for me. It was beautiful.”

“The best gifts I ever got were the little, yellow dandelion flowers. When a little one hands you this with a smile and tells you, ‘I picked this just for you,’ that means a lot.”

“Our parents all got together to watch our classes so the teachers could all sit together, socialize, and enjoy a catered lunch. It was divine!”

“Best gift? a hug and handmade picture from a student who didn’t have much, but always had a smile.”

Most Popular Gift Cards for Teacher

Besides those priceless missives and shows of affection, gift cards rank right up there as the best gifts you can give teachers. The question is, what gift cards should you buy? Our customizable ‘Thank You’ Teacher Appreciation gift cards are perfect, of course. What else? I’m so glad you asked, because the best gift cards for teacher appreciation week fall into the following six categories:

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Discount Superstores

Gift cards to stores like Walmart and Target are great for teachers because the stores carry a wide variety of merchandise, so teachers can redeem for personal use or for the classroom. Tuck a Target gift card into this free printable for an easy teacher gift.

store gift cards for teacher
Image credit: Hip2Save

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Bookstore

Since teachers typically enjoy books or at least champion the value of reading, a bookstore gift card is a great choice. Like the suggestion above, this gift card can be redeemed for personal use, for the classroom or maybe a little of both. Here’s a cute way to give a bookstore gift card to a teacher. It’s a bookmark that holds a gift card.

gift card in a bookmark
Image credit: Zaaberry

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Office Supply

Although I wish our school systems provided all the supplies teachers need, we frequently hear that teachers spend their own money on everything from classroom decorations to hand sanitizer and dry erase markers. With a gift card to an office supply store like Staples, maybe teachers won’t have to contribute so much. You can even add a photo to personalize a gift card to Staples. Snap a picture of the kids hanging out with the teacher on their next fieldtrip and turn it into a useful and personal brand name gift card.

office supply gift card

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Salon or Spa

For the teacher who needs a little pampering, a salon gift card or a spa gift card is perfect. With summer vacation drawing near, she will have more time to indulge. Deliver a pedicure gift card with nail polish and this free “sparkle” printable. For the teacher who would rather blow off steam at the ball park than get a mani/pedi, a gift card to a ball game, electronics store, video store or sporting goods store will get you high marks. Add a Best Buy gift card to this “simply the best” gift idea and you’ll move to the top of the class.

nail polish gift
Image credit: Love the Day

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Restaurant and Movie

On a teacher’s salary, dinner and a movie may be too expensive. Give teachers the gift of entertainment with restaurant gift cards, movie gift cards or a combination of both. Here’s a super cute way to deliver a movie gift card in a popcorn container. Did somebody say butter?

movie gift card holder
Image credit: Skip to my Lou

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Hot and Cold Drinks

No surprises here. Starbucks gift cards rule the school. If your teacher prefers a different brand or would rather have a smoothie than a latte, then go with one of those gift cards instead. There is also no shortage of cute Starbucks gift card deliveries on Pinterest. Here’s a coffee cup sleeve printable, tailored just for your teacher.

starbucks printable for teacher
Image credit: Alpha Mom

Don’t Forget Support Staff

Spend two minutes in an elementary school office and you’ll quickly find a variety of other people who deserve to be thanked for all they do in our schools. From the janitor who has to mop up the puke in the cafeteria, to the school nurse who has to decide if kids are sick or just avoiding tests – it takes a village to teach our children. Thank goodness we have so many willing villagers. Try this “MOUNDS of thanks for all you DEW” gift for support staff. It’s easy to make and would be so much fun to give.

Pinterest Thank You Teacher

Find more teacher gifts on my Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas Pinterest board. While there, take a moment to appreciate the creativity of others. It blows me away. Plus, it makes me think that all these artists, photographers, designers and bloggers who share their talents with us must have had some pretty great teachers in their lives.

Happy Gift Carding!

~ Gift Card Girlfriend (GCG)

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