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Inexpensive Teacher Gifts – Ideas for Teachers, Coaches and Parent Volunteers

Easy ways to say thank you

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Whether it's the holidays, the end of the year or even just because, many parents want to find a way to say thank you to the teachers, coaches and parent volunteers that give their time and resources to their child's class, team or organization. Here are some quick and inexpensive teacher gifts -- ways to show your appreciation for all these folks do. (Note: check the school's policy before you give any teacher gifts. Some may restrict what teachers are allowed to accept due to concerns of favoritism or inequity. Remember too, gift-giving is optional -- teachers teach for a love of what they do, not for presents.)

Pool Your Resources for Teacher Gifts

If you are the organizing type (or friends with one of the another parent in the class who is), set up a class collection, asking each parent to donate $5 per child (or whatever they would like to give) so you can purchase one large gift together, whether it is a gift certificate to a local eatery or a favorite store. Purchase a card and have every child sign it and present it to the teacher at a holiday party or the last day of class.

Give a Big Night Out -- In

Give your child's teacher the night (or morning) off with a fun basket full of foodstuffs that will minimize cooking for at least one meal. From a pasta dinner -- a jar of gourmet sauce, pasta, breadsticks or maybe even a bottle of wine -- to a pancake breakfast complete with mix (make your own or pick up a box at your grocery store) to syrup, pre-wrapped sausage, juice and maybe even some fruit, this is a fun gift to put together as well as one that will be heartily received.

Gift of the Arts

It's the worst-kept secret that many teachers and coaches (and class moms and volunteers) pay for their own supplies for the classroom, whether it is markers and crayons or craft items like googly eyes and felt. Take on some of the cost by either purchasing a gift certificate to a local craft or dollar store or pick up some of the items yourself -- even better, ask each parent to pick up one craft item to give at the holiday time or end of year.

What Does She Like?

Does your child's teacher show up every morning with a cup of coffee from Starbucks? Does she read romance novels at lunch? Does he like to play lotto or take a few swings at the batting cage? Pick up a $5 or $10 gift certificate at the place where the teacher likes to go the most. It might not cost a lot, but will certainly go a long way.

It's Movie Time!

Send your teacher to the Great White Way with a marvelous movie gift. You can go two ways -- pick up a gift certificate to a local movie theatre and include some pre-wrapped candy or, buy a big box of microwave popcorn and enclose some candy, a bottle of soda and a gift certificate to a local video store. An inexpensive gift sure to make for a fun night!

Indulge When Giving Teacher Gifts -- Even in Little Ways

If you want to really treat the teacher, try purchasing a little indulgence that she might not think to buy herself -- cashmere gloves or socks, a small box of gourmet chocolates, luxurious bath supplies, a bouquet of flowers in a vase, a pretty candle, a warm, soft blanket, the list goes on and on. The best part: all of these items can be purchased for $25 or less.

Let Your Little One Get in the Act

Never underestimate the value of a handwritten note or beautifully-drawn picture from your child. These folks work with children because they want to and love to, so a simple sign of appreciation from one of "their" little ones will go a long way. One year, one industrious mom suggested that all the parents and kids in the class get together and create a scrapbook page for each preschool teacher in the class. We all chipped in a few dollars to pick up a scrapbook and supplies and went to work. The teachers were touched and the kids were so proud of their work.

Bad-weather Pack

Many preschool teachers spend lots of time outdoors, watching the kids run around on the playground or lining them up outside when it's time to go home. Pick up a set or two of neutral-colored gloves, hats and scarves for the teacher to keep in the classroom in case she forgets her own or has lost them. Throw in an umbrella and a rain hat and she'll be good to go.

Kindness From Your Kitchen

Busy holiday baking? Get your preschooler to help you bake an extra pie or two or whip up another batch of cookies. Wrap in pretty saran wrap and viola! A tasty gift your teacher can share. And unless it's a secret, enclose a recipe card so she can make it again and again.

The Best Teacher Gift of All? Voice Your Appreciation!

If you aren't comfortable buying a gift or just don't have the cash this year, that's O.K. But you can still show your appreciation in a simple note telling the teacher how much he means to you and your child. Not good with words? You only need two: Thank you!
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