Question for teachers about holiday gifts

by | Dec 8, 2008 | housekeeping | 9 comments

Hey all you teachers out there: where do you prefer to get gift cards from? Target? Coffee shop? Bookstore? Liquor store?

I had good success last year getting the preschool teachers tote bags with Henry’s drawings on them from Cafe Press, but this year I feel like I don’t really want to add to the world’s clutter any more, and Henry’s teacher would probably rather have a gift card to just get what she actually wants (plus, of course, the requisite card saying how much I appreciate how Henry’s penmanship has improved and whatnot).

(A side note to say: What are people thinking when they give teachers apple-related tchotchkes? I remember one year going to Goodwill just after school ended and there was a huge set of shelves dedicated solely to displaying all the apple crap that teachers had Goodwilled. Do people think teachers really want this stuff? Like they think that teachers became teachers because of a love of apples or something?)


  1. Beth

    Julie, this is hilarious!! My mom was a teacher for 26 years, and I can’t tell you how much apple-related paraphernalia she received over the years. (I actually have one of her apple ornaments on my tree out of nostalgia for all the apples that went before it.) The worst present she ever got, though, was a doll that was actually a crocheted plunger cover. (the dress became the cover.) I wish I had that now, actually, just to show you and your readers. She did always love the home-baked goods, so I think that could be a way to go. This year, we got Alessandro’s kindergarten teacher a gift card to Target because Joe’s cousin (a First Grade Teacher) told us that hands down, they were the best. I figure A’s teacher can always buy herself a plunger cover, if all else fails.

  2. Emily

    Yes, I’m with you on the Target gift cert. Starbucks is nice too. I really didn’t get that many presents, when I did it was mugs and candles and weird little journals (I was an English teacher)…sometimes fun things like little guatamalan dolls (I taught in East Harlem, aka little guatamala). My favorite was a mexican soccer team shorts/jersey set for Wylie. He looked way cool. I wore a scarf someone got me for a while, but only because I loved the student. I liked the monogrammed sticki notes pad! But, where can you get all these things? Target! (which also has starbucks in it…at least the one in the bronx does). Well, maybe not the soccer set.

  3. Julie

    Target it is! Yeah, I’m feeling like I don’t want to fill Henry’s teacher’s life with more mugs and candles and weird little journals. If I pull myself together enough I’ll do Target gift card + baked good + heartfelt note.

  4. Elizabeth

    I’d be happy with a Target gift card. Other favorites were REI gift cards, Starbucks and Powell’s gift cards. At the charter school in CA where I worked, I got lots of champagne and wine. That was a good thing. But that doesn’t seem appropriate for Henry’s Kindergarten teacher. I was the recipient of many an apple themed gift over the years…all sold at yard sales or taken to Goodwill. I remember a Christmas tree ornament that said, “Teachers Have Class”. I also think a student gave me a candy cane one year with a typed explanation of how candy canes symbolize Jesus’s love. It was hard to know how to respond to that.

  5. Julie

    I think if it could actually be typed onto the candy cane itself, then it would be pretty impressive.

    And ugh, apple stuff is bad enough, but apple stuff with bad teacher puns really pushes the whole thing over the edge.

  6. sutswana

    Oh, if only this could be sent out to the entire apple-themed-gift-giving world. Yes, gift cards are the best and for me it doesn’t really matter where it’s from. I kind of like to have my horizons expanded, as long as it’s free. Someone gave me a small g.c. to Browne & Co, where I’d never been, and it was interesting to go there. Another was for Broadway Gardens. Baked goods aren’t bad either, but after too many stale cookies I find myself wishing for the $10 from Target.
    And I know this will sound all goody two-shoes, but I really do love simply getting a homemade (or not) card from a kid, written by the kid, saying something at least vaguely personal and meaningful.

  7. sutswana

    p.s. question for other post-ers: do you write thank-you notes for all of these gifts? Where do you draw the line? I like to model good manners and all that so I usually do (and feel like a stalker looking up students’ home addresses). But do I have to thank kids for stuff like Jesus candy canes? Stale cookies? A homemade card?

  8. Julie

    Oooh, good thought about horizon-expanding. That’s a nice idea. Though I’ll probably still stick with Target at the risk of having brain explosions from having to think of how to properly expand Henry’s teacher’s mind, since she seems pretty expansive mindwise and lives like four towns away so would she resent having to go downtown to Browne & Co?

    Maybe I’ll force Henry to make a card too. I could make him form a sentence using the high-frequency words he’s supposed to know. “I is the cat she were. Love, Henry”

  9. sarah

    Julie – I always give a plate of (very fresh) holiday cookies. Don’t think you can go wrong there.


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