Gift Guide: Meaningful Holiday Gifts for Teachers


The holiday season is upon us. It’s the time of year where the scramble for gifts begins and our pocketbooks start shrinking. Hopefully, this short article will give you some easy, meaningful and economical gift giving ideas for those in education this year.

School Program Donation

Our public schools in Ontario are always looking for funds to run better programming for students. Many schools run breakfast programs, athletic teams that compete in out of town tournaments or expensive sports, drama/music programs that require materials, robotics clubs that need funding and even clothes closets for disadvantaged students. My school also runs a program that purchases fresh fruit and vegetables to be on hand daily in our main office.

All of these programs require funds, and unfortunately, there never seems to be enough to go around. Why not ask at your school’s front office and donate to a school program in your child’s teacher’s name? This way, your gift will support teachers, students and the school community.

Homemade Food/Baking

I don’t know about other teachers, but my favourite part of the holidays involves homemade foods and baking. This is an economical and meaningful gift that goes a long way for any teacher — especially one like me with young kids! I’ll take a homemade meat pie over a scented candle any day of the week. To make it extra special, have your kids help with making the homemade item.

Crafts & Art

Similar to homemade food, teachers and educational staff love when students make us special mementos like crafts and art. I’ve kept many homemade gifts from students and because of the time and effort that went into creating them, they are very special to me.

This year, my own kids will be making their teachers door decorations/wreaths made out of antique skates. They are very excited about this, it’s economical and in turn, their teachers will have a beautiful holiday decoration to display on their classroom or home door.

Philanthropic Gift

Another meaningful and economical gift idea for those in education is philanthropic gifts. Our local Salvation Army sells holiday cards whose purchase equates to a gift of a meal to a homeless member of our community. The cards can be purchased and then given as a gift to teachers in lieu of something materialist.

A second option is purchasing a philanthropic gift from a company such as UNICEF that sells gifts for children in third world or war-torn countries, such as warm clothing, food, educational supplies, athletic equipment or books. I have both received and given this type of gift and it is incredibly meaningful for both the giver and recipient. This also leads to some great conversations and teaching moments about the ‘real’ meaning of gift giving and the holiday season.