‘Tis a Gift to be Simple…

       It’s hard to believe that the holidays are almost here!  I don’t know about you, but I feel like they come sooner every year.  One of my favorite holiday songs is “The Christmas Can-Can” by the great a capella group Straight No Chaser.  The song is a hilarious farce of the holiday season.  One of my favorite lyrics in the song is “Heard this same song twenty times and it’s only Halloween.”  Plus, it references Chanukah and Kwanzaa, so it’s great no matter what holiday you celebrate.  (Check out the video here on YouTube —  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7E-47VmFopE.)

       Anyway, back on topic.

       With the holidays approach so quickly, this is the time of year when we stop and think of others — like our teachers!  However, time gets away from us and sometimes we just don’t have time to give our teachers tokens of our appreciation for all that they have done.  Granted, giving your teacher a gift for the holidays is not mandatory, but the thought is always greatly appreciated.

       When I was little, I remember what a chore it was for my mom and I to shop for teacher gifts.  Most years, I had three primary teachers — plus a music teacher, a gym teacher, a French teacher, and a religion teacher.  That’s seven gifts right there…not to mention the women in the main office!

       But the great thing is that thoughtful teacher presents don’t have to break the bank.  Here are some simple and creative teacher gift baskets that are not only inexpensive, but so much fun to make that the kids will want to help, too!

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1. A “Survival” Basket

When I was living in Florida, I volunteered with a lovely woman who was a third grade teacher.  I wanted to give her a teacher-themed holiday gift, but wanted it to be unique.  I found a great design for an adorable survival basket on http://funkypolkadotgiraffe.blogspot.com.

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       The website has a list of all the supplies inside, most of which can be purchased at your local dollar store.  Print out the list before you go to the store and make it a scavenger hunt for your kids.  My favorite part of the basket was the Starbucks gift card hidden inside the fake Frappuchino.  You can also print out the adorable poem for free to include with your gift.  (Don’t worry if you can’t afford all the items.  Find a small basket and include what you can.)

 

2. A “Great Escape” Basket

       Not only do the holidays seem to start earlier each year, this year the snow came early, too!  After living in Florida for the last six years, coming home to an immediate snowfall seemed like the perfect Ohio “welcome home.”  It probably doesn’t surprise you that I get a little green with envy when my Orlando friends send me pictures of the beach.  Here I am in a foot of snow while they are working on their tan.

Hmm.  Beach, tan…what a great gift for an Ohio teacher!  While our wallets may not contain enough to send them on a seven-day Caribbean cruise, we can bring the sun to them with a “great escape” basket.  Here’s an example from www.therachelberryblog.com.

RachelBerry

       Ask your kids for a list of things they would take to the beach.  (Talk about a fun project to do during the winter!)  Head over to your local dollar or discount store and look for items on their list, like a beach towel, sunscreen, sunglasses, a sweet snack, and a magazine.  Tie it all together with a colorful ribbon and a hand-written note.  You could put it all in a colorful tote bag, but as you can see in the picture above, it is also possible to wrap the gift without a basket.

 

3.  A “Soup-er” Basket

       Growing up in a family who loved to plan events, I am always a fan of a good theme.  While I was searching for ideas for this article, I came across this precious “Thanks for Being Soup-er” basket from www.darlingdoodlesdesign.com.

souper

       What a great idea for a teacher, especially with cold and flu season looming in the distance.  Simply find a soup bowl and spoon, a couple of different soups, a colorful dish towel, and a variety of crackers.  Add a note for a personal touch.  (There is even a free template online for making the card in the picture.)

 

4. “You’re a Star” Basket

       Sometimes, a teacher just needs a break from everyday life.  After a long day of teaching and coming home to lesson plans and grading papers, an escape from the real world would be just the ticket.  So, put together an adorable movie themed basket!  Here is a very basic one from www.thefrugalgirls.com.

popcorn

       This one is so simple and effective.  Find a popcorn cup at the dollar store and fill it with microwave popcorn, sweet snacks, and codes for Redbox.  (You can go online and buy a free movie code then write it on a homemade card!)  Attach a thank you note and you have got a priceless present for a great night in.

 

5. “Thanks for Being so Sweet” Basket

The great thing about gift baskets is that they do not have to be given in a basket.  I saw this gift set online a few years ago while looking for ideas and I still think it’s the most unique little baking set.  Here’s the picture from www.mrkate.com.

ovenmitt

       Think of how much fun your kids will have at the dollar store picking out an oven mitt and stuffing it with baking supplies.  You can never go wrong with wooden spoons, a rubber spatula, a metal spatula, a wire whisk, and a timer.  Add some cute cookie cutters, a baking mix, and some colorful sprinkles for an extra sweet touch.  Write a little note and attach it to the mitt on a scrap of holiday ribbon.  Simple and thoughtful!

 

6. “You’re a Lotto Fun!” Basket

       Ask any teacher and they will tell you that they still daydream of winning the lottery.  Well, here’s an easy way to help make that dream a reality – a lottery gift basket!  This cute one is from www.lovetoteach123.blogspot.com.

lottery

       You can go to a gas station or a discount store and buy lottery tickets for a dollar a piece.  Have your kids help you pick out some cute ones.  (Remember, no gambling till you’re 18!)  Stuff the bottom of a pot or basket with some recycled plastic grocery bags.  Stick the cards together with tape or attach them to sticks and put them in the basket.  You can top the basket with paper shreds or leftover Easter grass.  For a special touch, find some chocolate gold coins or add a roll of pennies.  (Caution: your teacher may win the lottery and retire, so be ready for the consequences!)

 

What other gifts have you given to your teachers?  Or teachers, what gifts would you like to receive?  Add your comments below…and make sure to bookmark our blog so you can read the replies.  Happy shopping!

 

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Top photo copyright: [Untitled Image]. Retrieved November 20, 2014 from www.principalspage.com.

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About the Author

Nikki

Nikki is the Director of Student Services for North Coast Education Services. She coordinates the tutoring for all private students, assists with in-school programs, and is responsible for the NCES blog. Nikki is also the Assistant Camp Director of the Academic Fun & Fitness Camp, a summer program for students with learning disabilities in Kirtland, OH.