What Do Teachers Want for Christmas?

Before I took on food as a career, I was an elementary teacher for 12 years.  Here’s me in action back in the early 90′s!  I’m teaching my first graders about syllables… how you can clap while you say a word to figure out how many syllables it has.


I loved being a teacher.  I worked all day and then came home and worked all night, correcting papers, cutting things out and planning meticulously for the next day.  I loved spending time with a roomful of energetic kids, and I loved watching them learn and making school exciting and fun for them.


Here’s one of my many favorite students from my Kindergarten class.  She’s in COLLEGE now (yikes!)  And we’re friends on Facebook :)

I don’t have a desire to teach anymore since things have gotten so political and the budget cuts have squashed much of the fun out of the profession.  But I admire those who are still sticking with it.  They are to be thanked and praised each and every day for all they do with our little ones.

So what kinds of things do teachers desire from parents?  I have to say that the letters of praise kept me going.  And I’ve kept all of them in a special scrapbook of my teaching years.

Yep, the nice notes and praise always meant much more than candles and knickknacks and home-baked goodies.  I suppose nice notes are only appropriate though if you are happy with your child’s teacher!  You’ll have to decide if a grande note-of-praise is appropriate.

If you’re really stuck on what to get your child’s teacher for Christmas, please know that gift cards are best.  Most teachers love book stores, craft stores, iTunes, Starbucks and Nordstrom.  It doesn’t have to be for a large amount.  Teachers usually get gifts from several parents, so they all add up.  One year, the parents in my class got together and all contributed to a very nice gift card to Nordstrom.  That was super cool and very much appreciated.  Handmade gifts were always wonderful too.  I loved getting crafty things.  Basically, whatever you can do to show your gratitude for your child’s teacher is really very nice during the holidays (and every day, for that matter).

If you’ve got an idea for what to do for your child’s teacher for a holiday gift, please share! 

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15 Responses to “What Do Teachers Want for Christmas?”

  1. 1

    Adrienne — December 13, 2011 @ 8:53 PM

    Aw, that’s sweet! My husband is a teacher and I know he loves the handmade, handwritten things from the kids and parents.

  2. 2

    theblindbride — December 13, 2011 @ 8:55 PM

    I was a teacher for four years… middle school. I agree that the cards are the nicest. One thing I would warn against is something that the teacher has to use in front of the child. For example, I got a hideous sweater that I had to wear to show my appreciation. Even though people asked me if I was pregnant when I wore it, I knew it made her feel special that I liked her gift. Cute.

  3. 3

    Kelsey — December 13, 2011 @ 9:18 PM

    I’m currently in my seventh year of teaching and this post makes me smile. You are so right…the notes are so meaningful. I teach in a very low income district (almost 95% free or reduce lunch) and don’t receive much in the way of fancy Christmas gifts. However, I did receive one birthday gift I’ll never forget. I came to my room after lunch one day to find that my students had put together a surprise party, complete with a gorgeous chocolate cake with ganache and strawberries. When I asked who had brought the cake, one of my sweet little girls told me she did. I couldn’t stop (and still can’t stop) the tears from coming when I realized it was my student who had come to school crying of hunger just a couple of weeks before. Her family had spent some of their food stamps to buy me a birthday cake. I will never forget that moment and how bittersweet that cake tasted.

    • Lori Lange replied: — December 13th, 2011 @ 9:40 PM

      Heartwarming story. I’m sure if I sat down and thought about it, I could come up with a few of those myself. Totally amazing what people will do for one another to show their gratitude.

  4. 4

    Jessica — December 13, 2011 @ 10:09 PM

    Aw Lori! I love all the photos! How fun to see a glimpse of your past!

  5. 5

    Meagan — December 14, 2011 @ 3:38 AM

    I am in a tough spot this year. My son turns one next week. He has been in daycare since he was three months. He was in the infant room until November when he moved into the toddler room. There are four women in each room! I have been teetering back and forth regarding what to do for gifts for these women! My thoughts are to make small gift baskets for each room of teachers that he was with. So two baskets, filled with a Dunkin Donuts gift card for each lady, a couple of scratch off lottery tickets and then a homemade baked good for all of them to share.

  6. 6

    Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray — December 14, 2011 @ 5:00 AM

    My husband is a high school assistant principal, and I do not envy him or any of the teachers. God Bless you! Shelly and Kristan did a great post about fun gift ideas for teachers: http://thatswhatwesaid.net/2011/12/gift-guide-teachers/

  7. 7

    Maria — December 14, 2011 @ 6:31 AM

    So fun! Thanks for sharing! I would have loved to be in your class:)

  8. 8

    Renee - Kudos Kitchen — December 14, 2011 @ 6:32 AM

    Wonderful idea about the gift cards! I’m sure you were an awesome teacher.

  9. 9

    Kara — December 14, 2011 @ 7:01 AM

    As a teacher, I’d have to agree that the notes and cards are the dearest to me. I think I’ve kept them all. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to show your appreciation. I think handwritten words go a very long way. :) Happy Holidays!

  10. 10

    Lisa @ The Gonzo Gourmet — December 14, 2011 @ 8:33 AM

    We’re doing a gift card tree – I found an adorable rosemary topiary (she also likes to cook!) and I’m speaking to all the parents to have them donate a gift card of their choice. Another class got all Barnes & Noble cards so their teacher could buy herself a Nook. Gift cards are such a great idea, and the little tree adds a nice touch. Love seeing you in the classroom!

  11. 11

    carly {carlyklock} — December 14, 2011 @ 1:29 PM

    I don’t have kids yet, but I will definitely remember this advice!

  12. 12

    MaryEllen — December 15, 2011 @ 7:02 PM

    I am a teacher, and I have to say that I have received some very elaborate and wonderful gifts over the years. The most special gifts come from parents that really know and appreciate you. When you receive a hand written note that states how grateful the family is to have you teach their child, it is quite touching.

  13. 13

    Ellie — February 6, 2012 @ 8:51 PM

    Lori…I haven’t been on your website in a while. Well, OMG!!!!! I recognize the cute little girl with the really pretty teacher in the above picture (I see Geoff on the left). How sweet of you to put that picture of Elizabeth and our letter to you on your blog. We were so fortunate to have you at the beginning of Elizabeth’s academic journey. She is 21 now and will graduate this year…
    xxox

    • Lori Lange replied: — February 6th, 2012 @ 9:10 PM

      Crazy that she is totally an adult now! And to think that I could sit down and drink a glass of wine with my Kindergarten student. Yikes! Miss you all!!