Detroit Mom’s Educator Gift Guide: Holiday Edition

We know there is so much to think about during the holiday season. If an educator gift is an item on your to-do list, we want to help you cross that off your list. So, we asked local teachers to share what’s on their holiday wish list. And, we asked local moms what they planned on getting for the educators in their child’s lives!

Every person’s situation is different; some families purchase gifts for educators, and others do not, and this is totally okay! In fact, you’ll see from our gift guide that many of the educators we talked with mentioned that a gift is never expected. But, if you’re looking for educator gift ideas, we wanted to help you out with that in any way that we could.

You’ll find a wide variety of options in our list, with store-bought and homemade items included. We hope you find this gift guide helpful this holiday season!

Classroom Items

Teachers often pay out of pocket for their classroom supplies. Glue sticks, kleenex, pencils, construction paper . . .  these items add up quickly. Some of the teachers who responded to my question about gifts said they love consumables, or things to be used directly in their classrooms.

One gift that I was the most grateful for when I was teaching? A parent who consistently volunteered time in my classroom purchased a three-hole punch for me, because she noticed I didn’t have one. This was so thoughtful, and we definitely used it daily! You could send your child’s teacher a quick e-mail and ask what supplies are running low, and plan to replenish some of those.

Gift Cards

Another idea for an educator gift is to go the gift card route. While sometimes it may seem impersonal, I think it’s honestly perfect if you aren’t quite sure exactly what to buy. The teachers who shared their gift thoughts offered some great suggestions for gift cards: for groceries, Target, to grab some coffee, or even Amazon.

You could ask your child’s teacher where they like to shop or if they like coffee, and go from there. You could add a gift card to a little bag of treats, or give multiple gift cards in lower dollar amounts (for example, think about making a gift card “bouquet” with a few dollars to Target, Amazon, a local coffee shop, a local toy store, and/or the grocery store). Lakeshore Learning is another fun place to shop for classroom items.

Group Gifts

If your child has multiple teachers, you may be wondering how to make gifting work. Don’t forget about the power of the group gift! Consider purchasing one larger gift rather than multiple smaller ones.

One teacher who shared her ideas with us teaches high school, and she provided some great ideas that other parents have done for her staff, like bringing in food or K-cups (if they have a keurig machine). Personally, it always warmed my heart when I passed through the teacher’s lounge and saw a treat was left for the staff. It was a great mid-day surprise!

Non-Coffee Mug

Chances are, your child’s teacher runs on coffee. Especially those early mornings in staff meetings, and getting the classroom ready for a full day of learning! I always had coffee on my desk and just like in motherhood, it would sometimes take me all day to finish drinking it, because I was always on my feet with my students.

One overwhelming response from the teachers who responded was that if you’re thinking of grabbing a cute coffee mug, aim for a travel thermos instead, with a lid! This way they can carry it with them everywhere and they won’t have to worry about spills. I bet your local small business coffee shop would have perfect ones to gift!

Self-Care Items

As a teacher, you spend all day (and most evenings and weekends, too) pouring into your students and their families. It’s easy to put yourself on the back burner while cutting out laminated projects, grading papers, working on report cards, and organizing the classroom library.

Some of the teachers who shared their thoughts recommended items like Bath and Body Works lotions, or even items from local small businesses like Natural Red (the cracks are whack hand and foot cream was recommended!) or Brown Sugared Babies (check out their body butter!).


I most definitely had a desk drawer full of chocolate when I was teaching. It was nice to have a little treat when my students were at lunch or specials. Especially after a stressful day of teaching, a little chocolate really went a long way!

If you’re thinking of grabbing some snacks for an educator gift, have your child ask their teacher what they love. And of course, check for any allergies or special preferences. Whether you bake them yourself or purchase at the store, gifting food is a way to gift a little bit of love that will mean so much.

Their Favorite Things

One mom said that she will send out a “favorite things” survey to their child’s teacher to find out exactly what they like, and I think this is such a smart idea. There are tons of templates on Pinterest that you can easily print off and send in to school. Sometimes the school will also send out a weekly newsletter and it might feature little tidbits of information about the staff, so keep an eye out for that.

Once you know some of their favorite things, you could put the items together in a cute bin to be repurposed in the classroom. Or, pair a couple of favorite things with a gift card or coffee thermos.

Personal Cards

When all is said and done, it can really warm an educator’s heart just to hear how much they are appreciated. Many of the educators who shared their ideas also mentioned that personal, handmade, homemade items are ones they cherish. The time spent making and creating will not go unnoticed. And chances are, your child’s educator will hang on to these types of gifts for years to come.

If your child is younger, have them decorate a holiday card and draw a picture inside. For older kids, they could write a meaningful note to their educator about what they’re enjoying about the class or learning from them. It’s appreciated every day, but especially on those hard, difficult days–these notes mean SO much and are a solid reminder of why these educators do what they do.

What I hope you remember this holiday season is that it’s the thought that counts most with these gifts. If you’re able, consider gifting your time by offering to cut out lamination or volunteer in the classroom. If you’re unable to do this, simply send the teacher an e-mail saying thanks for all they’ve done. Our educators love our children like they are their own. Let’s celebrate them as often as we can.

Want to shop local this holiday season? Don’t miss the Detroit Mom-Approved Holiday Gift Guide!


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