8 Last-Minute Gifts For Teachers That They’ll Love… and Three to Skip

8 Last-Minute Gifts For Teachers That They’ll Love... and Three to Skip

Many of us are going to be hitting the stores tonight, hungry and hyper kids in tow, for last-minute teacher gifts. Don’t stress -a great teacher gift can be acquired quickly and easily without breaking the bank. I’ve received a wide range of gifts over my decades in the education field. In fact, the topic of gifts is frequently discussed in the faculty lounge. While we appreciate the thought, there are definitely some gifts we could do without.

Here are some tips for gifts teachers are excited to receive – and a few we wish you’d skip.

Good Ideas:

1. School or office supplies. 

We know you were already asked to bring in everything from copy paper to paper towels when school started, but those supplies are running low. Crayons, pencils, composition books, and other basics are always appreciated. Extra tissues, soap and hand sanitizer are especially welcome during cold and flu season! Not having to use our own money for supplies is a great gift.

2. Nonessential classroom materials.

Ask your child for recommendations. Is there something the teacher has mentioned wanting? Are there materials that need to be replaced or expanded? A parent bought a second set of plastic dinosaurs for my block area once because she noticed they were a hot commodity while volunteering. Interesting books for the classroom library are always a nice gift.

3. Coffee or tea.

I love hot beverages so this is something I will always use! My colleagues who aren’t caffeine enthusiasts gladly share these types of gifts with those of us who are. However, in my experience, most teachers are happy to have something to sip during their planning period to help them boost their energy level or soothe their nerves. 

4. Healthy snack baskets.

In a sea of chocolate and baked goods, having something healthy to snack on is much appreciated. One of my favorite gifts was a basket filled with individual packages of pretzels, nuts and granola bars, plus fresh apples and oranges. It’s nice to have healthier packaged snacks on those days we don’t have time to grab an actual meal.

5. Volunteering your time.

This is the most valuable gift you can offer a teacher. One year I even had a mom who volunteered to recruit other classroom volunteers! That was a priceless gift! Even if you just have an hour to give, your child’s teacher will have something you can do to help, such as stapling papers, stuffing plastic Easter eggs or cutting out wall decorations. Many schools aren’t allowing classroom volunteers right now, but teachers always have something we’d be happy to let you help with from your home.

6. A subscription to a fun box

Whether your teacher is into meal prep, wine, or fashion, there are so many boxes out there that will make a teacher’s day. Signing your teacher up to a one-month trial can be done last minute as they’ll receive an email directly in their inbox with a link to get started. We recommend Teacher Style Box for a sure way to put a smile on your favorite teacher’s face.

7. Children’s artwork.

Yes, we have tons of it, but it still makes us smile. This is especially true when it is accompanied by a heartfelt letter of thanks. Bonus: put it in a cute frame. Handmade gifts and notes from older students are often extra special because they are a much rarer commodity.  

8. Gift cards

If you want to give us something you know we’ll be able to use, gift cards are a safe choice. They are easy to carry home and we can get exactly what we need or want. Grocery stores, restaurants, coffee shops, movies, and local activities are all wonderful options. And they can be emailed if your child is doing distance learning!


1. Anything with an apple on it. 

We already have mugs, hand towels, stationery sets, utensils, tote bags and more covered in apples. Ditto on anything with “#1 Teacher” or “World’s Best Teacher” printed on it!

2. Lotions, body sprays or soaps.

Everyone has their own preferences when it comes to personal products. Plus, scented items give some people headaches.

3. Homemade baked goods.

While we love the warm intentions, being given something we might not like or be able to eat puts us in an awkward situation.

We don’t expect a gift at all. A warm smile and “thanks for all you do” fill our hearts with joy.  However, if you feel compelled to give a gift, please don’t make us lug home our 13th set of apple-shaped salt and pepper shakers!

For more gift ideas, also check out:

Last Minute Teacher Gifts-2

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Rachael Moshman
Rachael Moshman, M.Ed., an editor at Bored Teachers, is a mom, educator, writer, and advocate for self-confidence. She's been a teacher in classrooms of infants through adult college students. She loves pizza, Netflix and yoga. Connect with her at rachael.m@boredteachers.com
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