What your child’s teacher really wants for Christmas…and what they don’t want.


Christmas. The season of glitter, parties, too many cookies, warm adult beverages, and gifts for every person in your life from your garbage man to your spouse. If you have a child in school you probably have started thinking about what you are going to get for their teacher.

I used to teach high school English. As a high school teacher you maybe receive 5 or so gifts because parents have stopped giving teacher gifts a LONG time ago. Let’s be real, a high schooler also has 7 different teachers so that is a lot of gifts to get. Elementary teachers on the other hand get inundated with lots of….”things” at Christmas because there is one teacher to shop for and parents don’t see elementary teachers as soul-sucking dream-crushers generally. Here is my list of things your child’s teacher would and wouldn’t like from students and parents at Christmastime that they are too afraid to ask for.

  1. A nice e-mail or a note. If your child enjoys their class in any way shape or form, share that with them. Do you have any idea how many nasty/crazy e-mails your child’s teacher receives? Too many (I’d say 1 of these is too many). This gift is FREE, takes very little time, and goes a long way.
  2. The benefit of the doubt. Before you leave a public servant a 4-minute long voicemail the day of the final exam listing the reasons as to why they are a kid-hating, dream crusher because your child that has obviously never done something wrong has a 65 since their grade book is filled with zeroes; take a step back and don’t pick up the phone. I have a secret for you. Teachers aren’t out to get you or your child, that is completely in your mind. If they really wanted to crush dreams they would have become an insurance claims agent, a cheerleading tryout judge, a dentist, or an IRS auditor. This gift, also FREE.
  3. Gift cards. Do they look exhausted when you see them? Starbucks. Seem stressed out and you are positive they aren’t a Mormon? Spec’s. Crafty? Hobby Lobby. Do they eat food? Restaurant gift cards. Human being with a pulse? Target or Amazon.
  4. Baked goods…if they are worth the calories. You get a lot of cookies and baked goods thrown your way this time of year. If you are going to commit to being a baker of gifts you better bring your “A” game and stand out amongst the crowd. Dry banana bread? Not worth the calories. Homemade chocolate toffee? Worth it, every time.
  5. Not a mug. As much as you may want to get mugs and fill them with candy, just stick to #1-4. If you want to give someone candy then put it in something disposable so they don’t feel guilty throwing it away. I know you may feel the need to dress up said gift with a cute christmas mug…please stop. You know how many mugs someone can use at once? One. You know how many Christmas mugs someone needs in their life? 5, tops.
  6. Not bath goods. I don’t understand this gift to be completely honest. Do you look at someone and think, “They seem dirty or smelly and they are a teacher so they probably can’t afford soap so I’m going to buy it for them?” If you think they need soap that bad just get them a Target gift card. Not everyone wants to smell like vanilla or sun-ripened raspberry.
  7. Not a candle. This gift says “I have no idea what to get you because I don’t know you at all so I am going to get you a $1 candle so you can have a small, poorly-scented fire in your house.” You don’t know what smells I like. Just do #1 and #2 because those are FREE.
  8. Not knickknacks. Have you ever thought to yourself, I need more clutter in my life? No? Your child’s teacher hasn’t either. Don’t give them things you wouldn’t actually use or enjoy yourself. So this should take random ornaments, decorative jars, Christmas socks, and Christmas dish-towels off your shopping list.

Happy shopping or note-writing! Remember, it’s the thought that counts until someone has 20 Santa mugs filled with bath beads on their desk.

Not this. Never this.