The Gifts Not To Give Teachers

Tis the season for racking your brain to determine what gift is appropriate to give to your child’s teacher for Christmas. With so many options for gifts anymore, it’s often a difficult to decide. With just a couple weeks left to shop until Christmas, and even less since most kids are out of school the week before Christmas arrives, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty and figure out what to buy.

As a parent, you want your child’s teacher to know how much you appreciate all that they do for your child day after day. You also want to make sure they know that you understand how stressful some of the kids, possibly even your own if you admit the truth, can be when confined to a seat for seven hours a day.  Even with lunch, recess and other small breaks, kids can be annoying in the classroom from time to time.

We want the teacher to like what we get them, but how can we be sure they really like it? First, you can try to avoid some of the definite no-no’s when it comes to buying the gift. To understand this a little better, let’s look at the top ten things that should never, and I do mean never, be on your list of things to consider for your child’s teacher for Christmas.

Coming in at number ten is going to be anything, and I do mean anything at all, that says the word teacher anywhere on it. Whether it’s a Christmas ornament, a plaque, piece of wood or anything at all, skip “teacher” gifts entirely. Your child’s teacher knows who they are and chances are, especially if they’ve been teaching longer than a year or two, they already have any of the cheesy teacher gifts that you and every other mom on the planet can find.


You are a coffee-a-holic and chances are that you simply can’t imagine a day passing without it beginning with a pot of coffee. Caffeine runs through your veins but guess what? Not everyone loves coffee as much as you do. Shocking, isn’t it? Try to stay away from gift sets with coffee, tea or hot cocoa in them. If you find one that you like, buy it for yourself and enjoy!

Here is a little advice from one mom to another; your nine-year-old probably loves sleeping with fifty stuffed animals piled around the bed night after night. That’s cute for a nine-year- old, but guess what? No matter how much, or how loudly, your child begs you to buy that cute teddy bear for their teacher, stay away from it. What in the world is a teacher going to do with a stuffed animal besides re-gifting it to a family member under the age of ten?

No, your child’s teacher does not want you to buy her, or him, a Christmas sweater or a trendy t-shirt for Christmas. As cute as you may think that blouse that’s on sale for a whopping $19.99 at Macy’s, it is not appropriate to buy the teacher. You will also want to stay away from pajamas, slippers and all other wearable items when shopping for teacher gifts.

Yummy! That bath oil and lotion set that you found on the shelf of grab and go gifts sure smells good! However, unless you know your child’s teacher intimately and they have specifically told you that they want the passion flower bath oil, body spray and lotion that you can buy for five bucks this season, then stay away from it. As a matter of fact, stay away from all lotions, liquid soaps, bath gels and other items that one could soak in or spray on. Just because you like it does not mean that anyone else will.

Candles are great for setting a mood, keeping a room smelling great or just looking nice sitting on a shelf. Don’t buy the teacher a candle. Let’s just leave this one at a simple, do not buy.

Nothing says love better than a homemade cookie or cupcake. Unless, of course, it is coming from a child who the teacher has had to tell fifty times a day to blow their nose or wash their hands. Your child’s teacher may adore your child but just as anyone else, they are not going to want to eat food that was prepared in a home they have never been in. For all the teacher knows, you may be the crazy cat lady and have twenty cats roaming free through your kitchen at any given time. You also have no idea whether the teacher has allergies and can’t eat something in the recipe. Your baked goods will most likely end up in the trash can once the teacher gets them away from school and out of your site.

Your kid is so adorable and you love taking pictures of every move they make. Their teacher does not want you to send them a framed picture this holiday season. A holiday card with the child’s picture is fine, but framing one and wrapping it up is going to get a smile and a thank you, but unless your child’s teacher also happens to be their grandparent, that picture is never going to hang on a wall or adorn a table top in the teacher’s home.

Cash is great if you’re spending it to buy someone a gift! Giving a teacher cash as a gift is tacky. Are you trying to bribe your child’s teacher? Let’s hope not! If you want to give them something they can spend, give them a gift card to their favorite restaurant or even one to spend at Walmart or the local Mall. Everyone loves gift cards and it allows them to spend it on something they really want!

The obligatory teachers mug is something that every teacher has groaned about at one time or another. Yes, the stores fully stock up every holiday season with hundreds of coffee mugs to sell to moms trying to find a gift for their child’s teacher but that does not mean you need to succumb to the marketing tactics of the discount store when you are shopping for the perfect gift this season.  Your child’s teacher has already been given 9,998 mugs over the last five years or so. They really do not need another to add to their dusty collection of tacky teddy bear Christmas mugs.

Do you have any items that you would place on the list of bad Christmas gift ideas? If so, we would love to hear from you in the comment section below!

Be sure to watch out for our list of things teachers love to get for Christmas!

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