Teacher Appreciation Week Gift Ideas (what teachers REALLY want)

Teacher Appreciation Week is around the corner. And, when I Google ideas for gifts what I usually see is kinda tragic. So, I wanted to round up some awesome Teacher Appreciation Week gifts to help give some inspiration to the same old ideas we’ve seen time and time again. I even polled my teacher followers to get insights to what teachers REALLY want.

As a former teacher, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Teacher Appreciation Week as a parent. Because gosh darn it, these people need our appreciation. While I try to go out of my way year-round to ensure they know I appreciate them through various volunteering opportunities at my school, I think this week is a great time to go for it. You trust these people with your most valuable and treasured people, your children. And every day, they love them, care for them, teach, and inspire them. How lucky we are for good teachers in this world.

How much should I spend?

The question I always get when I talk about Teacher Appreciation Week is how much I should spend. The question should be how much you can afford to pay. There isn’t a blanket cost that a Teacher Appreciation gift should be. So, look at your own budget and find a number that feels comfortable to you, and then divide that by the teachers you want to gift. As a teacher I’ve gotten a $5 gift card, and it was VERY much appreciated, so don’t feel like you need to be spending big bucks. The whole point is that they feel APPRECIATED. 

Teacher Appreciation Week Gifts Teachers Actually Want

I POLLED TEACHERS. I want to let you know I turned to actual teachers for my list. I asked you guys who are teachers to share what you really want for Teacher Appreciation Week and you didn’t hold back with amazing ideas! So, this list is right from the horse’s mouth (if you’ll excuse the idiom)

Gift Cards

Gift cards are honestly the best choice when it comes to Teacher Appreciation gifts. I know it feels boring but just think about a teacher getting 20+ individual gifts. How many little knickknacks does someone need? A gift card is a true gift because the recipient can use it on their own time for what they want. 

Also, many teachers told me that their classroom budgets are just so tight. A gift card is a great way for them to treat themselves or splurge on things they’ve been wanting for their classroom

Where to get gift cards? Here are the top recommendations from teachers:
  • Amazon
  • Local restaurants/coffee places
  • Massage or nail salons
  • Target
  • The Container Store
  • Starbucks
  • A local caterer or food delivery (many teachers mentioned loved getting the gift of not having to cook!)
  • Teachers Pay Teachers 
  • Grocery store
shop everything pictured here

Now, I’m all about giving the gift cards in cute and fun ways! Consider some of these:
  • Buy cute gift card holders – like these or these
  • Gift the gift card with a handmade note from your child
  • Gift the gift card alongside one of the ThoughtFulls Pop Up Cards
  • Ask them their coffee order and deliver the gift card with their favorite drink
  • Gift it with a little basket or bag of some treats: I found these bulk clear bags if you need to make a lot, or here are 3-packs. Then I filled it with just a few little treats. Check out my Amazon Storefront list, which has tons of ideas on what to fill gift baskets/bags with.

Some ideas for filling a gift card bag:


A note about food: Remember, there are many dietary restrictions. Ensure to include all the ingredients and consider contacting school staff about restrictions ahead of time. Also, a few teachers kindly mentioned how foods obviously handmade by kids are sweet, but they usually don’t eat them. So, consider something from a local shop or caterer if in doubt. 

  • Catered Lunch – this was a big one! I’ve teamed up with other moms before to get lunch catered for teachers. They really appreciate it.
  • Bring in breakfast for the teachers
  • Ask for their favorite coffee order and bring it in
  • Snacks for the classroom 
  • Chocolate or candy
  • Alcohol—A lot of teachers on my poll said wine. Personally, I would not give it as a gift, but I think if you know the teacher and it feels appropriate to you, then it can be ok. 


If you want a real actual gift to give, think useful but special. They have enough mugs and desk knickknacks with teaching quotes. 

  • High-quality office supplies (this one was mentioned A LOT by teacher). Most teachers have limited budgets and won’t splurge for high-quality things for themselves.  Pens (Flair pens were mentioned a lot) and nice mechanical pencils for themselves. Some teachers mentioned to me things like nice dry erase markers, post-its, etc. 
  • Snacks for the classroom (be mindful of diet)
  • Flowers or a plant: I’ve heard this one a few times from teachers that flowers or a potted plant to keep in their classroom is usually always appreciated. Or a really nice bouquet to take home.
  • Check out my full list of “things” ideas on Amazon

Remember the note!

I always remind everyone that no matter what your budget or big you give, that including a note is the most important. After all, it’s teacher APPRECIATION week. Make sure they know why they are special. Include a reason your kid loves them. When I polled teachers, handwritten note was surprisingly TOP of the list. Remember that sometimes little kids aren’t the best as expressing gratitude so they do a lot of work all year and don’t always feel full recognized for it. Nows the time to do it!

Some items to think twice about (because the teacher already probably has about 30)

  • Mugs
  • Wine glasses
  • Tumblers
  • Overly teacher-themed things (you know, they are normal people when they aren’t at school)
  • Loitions or bath soaps
  • Candles

Hey There!

I'm Kallie!

Also known as That Practical Mom

I’m all about helping you simplify the chaos of life so you can slow down and enjoy it.

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