Thu 17 May 2012
Do you decorate your home with apples and primary colors that smacks of Kindergarten classrooms?
Neither does your child’s teacher.
Vector Designer Tay Silver asked several teachers what gifts they appreciate most and gathered lots of ideas to make end-of-the-year gift giving more thoughtful and much easier, from start to finish!
Buying a gift for a teacher can kind of be like shopping for your mother-in-law; you know her pretty well yet somehow you have no idea what she would enjoy. I’m Tay and this year I’m going to help you get through the stressful bustle and rush of coming up with the perfect teacher’s gift so you can get back to juggling swim schedules, managing activity sign-ups and paying camp fees. Let me share the short list of preferred gifts that were mentioned by all the teachers I asked, along with some suggestions of how to turn these ideas into awesome gifts!
1. Gift Cards
Teachers are busy, just like you and me. Often they don’t have the time to make room for twenty new pieces of clutter and like us, they don’t really want to. Every teacher I asked mentioned that gift cards were the most useful. Keep in mind each school will have a limit on how much you can give – typically $50 or less – but even if your budget is $5, the gift card will be appreciated. Most teachers will privately confess that gift cards to big-name stores, like Target or Wal-Mart, are desirable but they are even more pleased with the Visa type gift cards that can be used anywhere like a debit card, including obscure online websites where they may wish to purchase a special item for the classroom. When giving a gift card, be sure to take the time to dress it up a bit. A couple dollars spent on attractive wrapping supplies will make any small gift the envy of the teacher’s lounge. Our Pillow Box Templates and other printable wrapping products will help get your gift cutely covered in no time! The example below features the ice cream card from the Summer Treats Cuttable Cards pack, a gift card to a brand new frozen yogurt shop and all of it packaged in a cellophane bag with crinkle fill and a topper made using the Bracket Mat shapes.
2. Home Décor Gifts
Your child’s teacher isn’t sure where she is going to put a third framed initial made of broken crayons or another dust-collecting item bearing the hideous school colors in her classroom. However, she has seen all the trends in home decorating and organizing online and wishes she could find the time to begin. This is an incredibly thoughtful place to start because teachers typically spend hours on grading & prep work after arriving home and they often have families of their own, meaning decorating projects just don’t get done. Help her out by sleuthing what paint and furniture colors she has in her home (other teachers can often help) and creating something custom for her. I was surprised when my son’s teacher recalled a large sign board I’d made using the Prominent Home Word Art for a fundraising auction and, when pressed by me for gift ideas, asked if I’d be willing to make another one for her because she had fallen in love with it. Aside from a sign board, here are some other insightful ideas every teacher we asked has nearly shouted her excited approval of:
- Pantry Labels: Adorable bracket labels for pantry staples really dress up the space and bring clarity to the inevitably cramped quarters found in most cupboards. Plus your teacher is guaranteed to have one that needs organizing! Our Pantry Label Shapes have been a hot seller because they were deliberately drawn long and skinny, perfect for fitting lengthy text. Most people opt for black vinyl labels because they are easy to read against clear glass and the floury white or pasta tan contents they may hold. But don’t stop there! They’re just as useful for labeling laundry products, art supplies, classroom bins and office items. A stack of labels with application instructions tucked inside a charming lidded glass jar labeled “Miscellaneous” will give her a great start on a Pinterest-worthy organization project! If you want labels that are universally useful, both at home and at school, check out our Basic Label Shapes that can be cut from chalkboard vinyl and applied anywhere.
- Snack Basket:Wire baskets are fast replacing wicker ones and your child’s teacher will love the update. The trick is adding a trendy detail, such as a hanging tag naming the contents, to make the basket a decoratively useful gift. One clever option is to create a snack basket where she can easily corral granola bars, fruit cups, individual bags of chips or crackers and other last-in-the-box strays for convenient summer storage. She’ll continue to appreciate the grab-and-go ease when school starts next fall.
- No Soliciting Door Decal: I’m bombarded by friends begging for these so I know they’ll be appreciated! In addition to the wildly popular Please Knock decal features a twist on the classic No Soliciting sign to include special instructions for delivery packages to be placed somewhere out of sight. This makes the window cling a thoughtful addition for teachers who are not home during the day to accept their parcels.
3. Custom Gift Buckets: You can’t go wrong with these! One of our favorites features a bright metal pail with our Sunshine Seals cut in vinyl for the front and filled with summer essentials. Items such as sunblock, a box of freeze and eat popsicles, packages of heat-friendly candy, sparklers or pops for July fourth and gift cards to a local ice cream shop or sno cone stand creates a brag-worthy bucket of summer fun that’s ready to go the moment school is out! Once emptied, the bucket makes cute, convenient storage for sunscreen, bug spray & swim goggles.
If you want something that will help her start school next year, use one of our School or Teacher Bin Decals and fill the pail with vibrant colored whiteboard markers, a pair of comfy titanium non-stick scissors, a new badge ID lanyard, a funny wrapped chocolate bar (see our Printable Candy Wrappers ), Crayola colored teacher’s chalk and any other must-haves she’ll appreciate for next September.
Check out our full line of Bin Decals for other inspired ways to turn an ordinary bucket into a great storage catch-all and gift container for Coaches, Administrators, Counselors and Camp Directors!
Hopefully these ideas give you a lot of inspiration for putting together a touching gift worthy of the wonderful teacher your child has been lucky to have for the last year. Feel free to share any other ideas you may have and post pictures of your creative concoctions in the gallery.
Happy End of the School Year!