I've given my children's teachers some pretty crappy gifts over the years, but the worst has to be when my son Giovanni, 10, wanted to give a particularly favoured teacher something special. He just didn't know what.
Rushed for time and on a budget, I grabbed a cute travel coffee mug I'd seen on my way to do the grocery shopping. We gave it to her one afternoon and as she unwrapped it, it fell into pieces.
So, this year I asked a couple of teacher friends of mine for advice, because I want the gifts to reflect the regard I feel for each and every one of my children's teachers.
LISTEN: The latest episode of our Honey Mums podcast has just dropped. (Post continues.)
"You can’t go wrong as long as you steer clear of mugs, chocolates and wine," one advised, adding, "Yes, we love wine but I prefer not to receive it from my students."
She also thinks vouchers are a good idea but can feel a little too impersonal, although one of her all time favourite gifts was "an authentic, home-cooked Indian meal delivered to my house".
"Gifts are lovely, kind and very much appreciated, but absolutely not expected or necessary. If you do choose to give a gift I’m sure it will be lovingly received no matter what it is. The words on the card are way more important," another teacher tells me.
One said she always loved receiving things she could use in class.
"I would have appreciated a swag of stuff from Officeworks that I could use for myself/in my classroom, or a subscription to an online electronic book service so I could download books for the kids on their school iPad."
Here are 12 gifts any teacher would be happy to receive, that will not only ensure they feel their efforts with your kids are appreciated, but you'll be proud to give them.
1. An original (and affordable) artwork
Local business The Thought Gallery Australia offers original hand-drawn works of art, created specifically to honour the relationship between teachers and their students. Parents can choose from the super-cute range of affordable creations.
Not only do these original pieces highlight the importance of educating children, but they would look amazing hung up on the walls of teacher's offices or classrooms.
Creations range from $15 to $120 and you can order through The Thought Gallery Australia website.
2. My Discreet Bully
The issue of school bullying is an ongoing one, with most teachers being offered limited training to handle such delicate situations.
A gift that can help teachers care for students—one that offers as much value to teachers as it does for students—is the book My Discreet Bully written by Monique Mastrobattista.
The Aussie teen has devoted her life to helping teachers and students deal with bullying, and this book marks a step towards compassion and understanding.
Purchase the book via the My Discreet Bully website for just $19.99 – there's also a range of #getkind clothing and stationery.
3. A Totes Amazing Teacher bag
Most teachers walk around school carrying piles of books and papers needed for class. This gift serves to help them both carry these piles from room to room while reminding them they are "Totes Amazing".
An added bonus of choosing this gift is that proceeds will help support the Indigenous Literary Foundation.
You can pre-order the bags for Sydney pick up or have them delivered. Check out the website to place an order at a cost of only $22.00.
4. Noise-cancelling headphones
As per my teacher friend's suggestion, all things Officeworks will be welcomed by teachers—particularly items they can use in class.
If you would like a gift with a more personal touch, choosing headphones or some cool computer/tablet/device accessories is also a great idea.
Noise-cancelling headphones may be most appreciated by teachers who need a few minutes away from the chatter of busy classrooms to get some work done. Officeworks offers them for as little as $69.00 and you can order them online.
5. A calendar with a twist
Being organised is part of a teacher's job, so what better gift than something that helps them keep on top of their many and varied lessons, commitments and events?
Collins has some great products on offer including calendars, year planners, and this 'Mottos for Success' Calendar that will serve as inspiration for both teachers and students.
The daily desktop calendar includes thought-provoking quotes and ideas to help you better interact with others, plus gems on a variety of other topics to encourage, motivate and inspire.
You can order it online at the Collins website. At just $24.99 it's an affordable and inspiring gift to give this year.
6. Scented candles
It only takes one trip to the classroom to understand the unique smell that comes with having 20-plus kids sitting in a confined space all day.
This means a scented candle is probably a welcome gift—not only because they are so beautiful, but smell lovely and will fit nicely on the teacher's desk.
Glasshouse Fragrances has the most beautiful rage of candles, complete with lids to preserve the scent outside of classroom hours.
Candles retail from $19.99 to $42.95 depending on size, and for the festive season you can purchase the Night Before Christmas candle for extra Christmas cheer.
7. A photo printer
I've never needed as many printed photos as I have during my children's primary school years. Sometimes it's nice to have printed copies to hang up or use as the centre of worksheets.
While Polaroid cameras are all the rage, the quality isn't always the best. A Canon Selphy CP1300 photo printer is both affordable and produces good-quality prints so your children's special school moments can be used and preserved.
It makes an ideal group or joint gift. You can order the photo printer online or purchase it from your local electronics retailer for $179.00.
8. Personalised notebook
Teachers write, a lot, so a personalised notebook with a cover that reads 'Notes from a teacher' from Gifts Less Ordinary is perfect.
This stylish gift is one your children's teacher can use at work or at home for the myriad of thoughts and to do lists that make up their days. You can even choose to include their names on the notebooks to add an even more personal touch.
This notebook costs $53.00 and is delivered free in Australia via the website.
9. A personalised phone cover
It can be hard to find good-quality phone covers that last, which makes these leather covers such a great choice for teacher gifts.
Get creative! You can choose the phrase 'World's Best Teacher', or just their name.
Either way, a lovely phone cover like this will be much-appreciated by any teacher and only involves a little bit of investigative work by your child to figure out what kind of phone their favourite teacher uses.
These personalised covers are available at The Personal Print for $49.00 along with many other personalised gift ideas.
10. Beauty products
Healthy Life has some amazing beauty products on offer this year. Teachers work hard, and a gift that encourages them to rest and pamper themselves, even for just a few minutes a day, is sure to be welcomed.
The beauty of purchasing them here means you know products are high-quality and made from natural ingredients. Acure is a great range they stock and you can select gift sets for as little as $29.99.
Order online or head to your local Healthy Life outlet and take advantage of some of the great specials they have in the lead up to Christmas.
11. For the history buff: an Ancestry DNA Kit
Ancestry kits are all the rage at the moment. It's fascinating to discover exactly what your heritage is, and teachers will love using their test results as a teaching moment for their students.
It's so exciting to discover all of the surprising places your ancestors are from and makes for a perfect and unique gift for teachers (especially if they're into history).
Kits retail for $109 at the moment, which is $20 less than they normally cost. You can purchase one online via the website.
12. A planter stick with a message
A lovely, low-maintenance plant can be a perfect end-of-year present for teachers, but why not add a more personal touch?
Arlo & Co offer these sweet Teacher Planter Sticks that allow you to thank your children's teacher personally. They can keep the sticks for years and use them either in the classroom or at home.
My teacher friends say they love reading Christmas cards from their students; with this gift they'll get the best of both worlds. You can order them online here in time for Christmas.
Share your ideas for Christmas gifts teachers will love by sending an email to 9Honey@nine.com.au.
Share this post if you enjoyed! 🙂