What NOT to Buy a Teacher for Christmas

What NOT to Buy a Teacher for Christmas

In my husband’s favorite Christmas movie, “A Christmas Story”, every student gives their teacher the same gift – an apple – for Christmas. Except for Ralphie, of course, who brings an entire fruit basket

Teachers, especially elementary school teachers, get inundated with similar gifts during the holidays. Same thing for middle and high school teachers, just on a smaller scale. Some of those gifts I loved and some, well, not so much.

Listen, I realize that receiving a gift is a luxury and I always appreciated the intent. And I am well aware that the holiday season can feel like just one giant shopping list. What do you get your hair stylist, mailman, and your kids’ teachers? Let me help you out with that last one!

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the link and buy an item, I earn a small commission. This doesn’t cost you a penny. As always, I only recommend products or services I use and love. Thanks for your support!

Teacher Christmas Gifts to Avoid

teacher christmas

Scented Candles

Lord, please stop giving scented candles to teachers. While the sentiment is kind, does anyone actually want to receive a scented candle? Anyone?? The incredibly talented women of SNL summed up my feelings about candles oh-so-well.

Scented Lotion

I get the temptation here – a non-food gift that everyone loves. Except they don’t. Teachers fall into 2 categories – those who never use lotion and those who use it all the time. Those of us who use lotion are crazy particular. I only use one (unscented) brand and every other brand goes in the trash.

Not to mention that scent is just as personal as flavor, even more so. There were a few years when I thought I would never get the scent of freesia out of my desk.

Apple-themed anything

Just don’t do it. It’s cute – if you’re 6 or 80. But no young(ish) teacher wants apples on every mug, tote, or piece of stationery she owns.


Giving glitter is the equivalent of slapping the teacher in the face. So cruel and unnecessary. Glittery gifts are always a bad idea. For anyone.

Consider these teacher Christmas gifts instead:


Each year, I spent Winter Break buying and writing thank you notes for all the gifts I received. Take 1 step out of the process and buy some pretty stationery or thank you cards.


Teachers LOVE pens. We are often pen hoarders, in fact. We spend back-to-school season checking out the new pens in the school supply aisle. It’s a sickness, actually. Feed our obsession with some new colored pens.

Water bottle or mug

I don’t know a teacher that doesn’t have a water bottle or mug (or both) on their desk. It’s probably time for an upgrade.

Just a note here – I was a high school teacher and we tend not to get a lot of gifts. However, I understand that elementary teachers, in particular, get a LOT of mugs. Keep that in mind and proceed accordingly . . .

Gift card

Let me give you a hint – teachers want gift cards. These are easy for you to buy and easy for teachers to use. Here are some suggestions:

  • Coffee Shop – Most teachers would insert a caffeine drip IV if they could. Until that’s a possibility, coffee will do. 
  • Target – Many teachers spend a ridiculous amount of their paycheck at Target. Might as well make your gift card super useful.
  • Amazon – Is there anyone who doesn’t shop on Amazon? 
  • Teachers Pay Teachers – This is a website where teachers can sell lesson plans and curricula to other teachers. I use it and love it!

A note in a nice card

The Christmas gift teachers love above all is a heartfelt note. Grab a nice card and pour out your heart (and have your child write, too). What has the teacher done for your child? What is your child’s favorite thing about the teacher? This will melt any teacher’s frozen heart.

What Christmas gifts did you get your teacher? Let me know in the comments below! 

Related Posts: 10 Holiday Gifts Your Remote Teacher Will Adore, Awesome Gifts for the Harry Potter Obsessed Teacher, The Best Gifts for Coffee Addicted Teachers, Teacher Appreciation Gifts that Teachers Actually Want, 9 Thrifty (but awesome) Teacher Appreciation Gifts

2 thoughts on “What NOT to Buy a Teacher for Christmas”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *