Gift Ideas for Teachers

From Nathalie

We have featured Far & Wide Collective on the blog before, and I am so happy to keep suggesting them as a place to shop for gifts.  Far and Wide Collective is a fair-trade on-line marketplace for artisans in post-conflict and emerging economies.  I have bought for myself and for others from their site, and the delivery and presentation of the gifts is beautiful.  In December, I could not help myself and I did a “one for you and one for me” kind of shopping with these Afghan silk scarves ($60), which come in so many gorgeous colours.  They came beautifully wrapped in tissue paper folded like origami, all ready to present (or, um, open for yourself….).

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These geometric patterned notecards ($20) would also make a great end of year gift for a teacher.

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And I loved this post on how to write a thank you note to a teacher at the end of the year from fellow Savvy Mom Storyteller, Jan Scott.  I think you can never go wrong with personalized stationery for teachers, but what a special addition to make sure that you send along your own detailed thanks for the highlights of the year.

I’m nuts about stationery and books, and this gift idea makes me happy in so many ways: a bookplate stamp personalized for your child’s teacher.  From Etsy retailer Stamp Out Online.

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Or what about a great tote bag for your child’s teacher to carry around all his or her summer reading?  I love the bold impact of this one from Nicole Tarasick available on the One of a Kind site.

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From Beth-Anne

Nathalie is the best gift giver of anyone I have ever met. Receiving a gift from her is the ultimate! I once asked her how she always knows just the right thing to give and she told me her secret. She listens. She listens to what people are talking about, what people are planning and what people are saying. Hard to believe in a society where everyone seems to be tapping on their phones to post to their social media more than actually being social. So here’s my take on the perfect gifts to give teacher this year . . . first off, listen. Find out what their plans are for this summer and use that as a springboard to curate the perfect gift. It’s worth noting that the perfect gift doesn’t mean expensive or hard-to-find. It can be something simple or it can be a more elaborate group effort. Either way, it should be well thought-out and ultimately come from a place of sheer gratitude.

Here are few suggestions to help get you started:

The Foodie

This teacher can’t wait to sample the latest food trends on a patio, and has already planned supper club with friends to while away the summer. A gift card to a new resto getting rave reviews may be ticket but if this teacher prefers the prep to the pomp, then I would suggest one of these cookbooks.

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It’s perfect for the more unconventional cooks but beware, there are some naughty words that could get Teacher sent to the Principal’s office.

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Brown Eggs and Jam Jars is chock-full of gorgeous photos that make even me want to cook!

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Fellow Savvy Storyteller, Amy Bronee of Family Feedbag, recently published her much buzzed about book The Canning Kitchen – the perfect accompaniment to the bounty that summer gardens bring.

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This ash and wood salad bowl from Indigo is tops on my list. For some reason, I can never seem to have enough bowls and this one says “summer salads”.

But my favourite gift to give a foodie is something you’ve made. Baked goods, canned goods, pasta sauce . . . wrap it pretty and serve with your favourite how-to instructions.

The Traveler

This teacher has been meticulously planning their trip down to the nitty gritty details. Of course guidebooks are recommended but chances are this teacher has already highlighted and dog-eared every other page.

Literary travel books like We’ll Always Have Paris: A mother/daughter memoir are a great way to build excitement for a trip and supplement the facts gleaned from traditional travel books.
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Cookbooks featuring cuisine from the country is a way to whet the appetite for what’s to come. In the past year I have heard many travelers (and Paddington too) touting the glory of Peru. The Fire of Peru by Ricardo Zarate caught my eye.

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I also like the idea of getting a travel kit, like this one from Herschel, and filling it with all sorts of drugstore goodies like earplugs, sunscreen and bug spray.

The Binge Watcher

This teacher is going to score an A+ in relaxation this summer with plans of sinking into a vegetative state binge watching TV programs. My recommended favourite is Call The Midwife, granted not exactly up everyone’s alley so my second recommendation is True Detective.

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And you can’t score top marks for vegging without all the accoutrements. Gourmet popcorn is a must and while I have not tried this Toronto-based company, I just may have to because Tuxedo is calling my name!

From Carol

I have a strong practical streak and can’t shake the flawed practice of giving people what I like, so keep this in mind as you read on.  In a nutshell, I think giving soups in a jar is delightful. It’s giving both the gifts of nutrition and time, especially to one of our teachers who is also a single mom.  I love the idea of giving her what essentially amounts to a night off from cooking, but still having a pot of steamy nutrition bubbling on the stove.  You can make these easily enough, or Soup Girl has some wonderful options at the ready.

I’m not sure how helpful this is for a gift guide, but honesty will reign, so herewith goes a plug for handmade presents.  I really enjoy making things, often with my kids, and I try to involve them with all of our gift-giving.  Handmade cards make frequent rounds, and this year I will be gifting some natural cold-pressed soap that I made.

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One of our teachers is also a health buff and loves his protein smoothies… we drink smoothies around here so know a dedicated travel jar for them might be nice.  Maybe for the mornings when he’s racing to work to teach our littles?  (How hard could it be to make one of these…?)

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Finally a confession: I also tend to contribute to classroom gift cards for the teacher.  It’s easy, it works, and we do try to personalize them to the teacher’s interests.  Let summer come!

Gift Guide for Teachers, Coaches, Instructors, Mentors and More!

Need help finding gifts for the adults in your kids’ lives?  Here are some fabulous ideas for your kids’ teachers, coaches and mentors.

From Nathalie:

I love to find the right gift for the right person, and for several years now, I have shopped for my kids’ teachers and coaches on behalf of the class, school or team.  At my kids’ elementary school, a class parent collects money from all of the families for a group gift, and a portion of what they collect gets pooled for gifts for the music, gym, French, and ESL teachers, as well as for the office staff, custodial staff, librarian and principal.  I am the person who shops for all of those gifts, and I look forward to it every year.  When Eldest moved to Middle School with different teachers for each subject, I was first in line to do the shopping for them too.

If you have a large budget to work with, it is often easy to give the gift of an experience.  I have given gift certificates to a teacher’s favourite restaurant, a membership to the zoo or to the Royal Ontario Museum for teachers with young children, and tickets to the aquarium and sports events.  Carol’s recent experience of a class where she learned to make chocolate truffles would be a great gift, or even one of the workshops offered at Carol’s store, Little House in the City!

Even with a modest budget of $20-$30, you can find so many apt and personal gifts.  Surfing fun gift sites is a huge part of the pleasure I take in finding gifts.  My top tip for finding the perfect gift for a teacher, mentor or coach is to go to a site like Etsy, One of a Kind Online, Redbubble, or Café Press and type in a key word for the person’s field of interest or hobby.  The hive mind is so very versatile; ask, and the interwebs will provide.

For the Math Teacher:

A square root t-shirt from Redbubble ($30).  (Check out what happened when I entered “square root” as a search term!  Or math.  So much great stuff!)

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For the French Teacher:

This notebook made from a re-purposed text book ($23), made by Margi Laurin, Maker of Stuff is so perfect. I met Margi at the One of A Kind show, but you can find her online.

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For the Coach:

I saw these amazing kits ($24) at the Etsy Made in Canada event.  They are made by Michelle at Aide Bodycare, and you can buy them on line through Etsy.  I think this is a great idea for any guy in your kid’s life.  It is a bit on the personal side, but sometimes we spend so much time with the coaches that they begin to feel like family!

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For the Hockey Coach:

I can’t tell you how excited I was to find these beauties at the One of a Kind Show: photographic image transfer art by Patrick Lajoie, who works out of Caledon, Ontario.  (You can also find him on Etsy.)  I first saw his work in the summer, when I bought one of his pond hockey photographs.  I have loved living with his art hanging in our home (on the landing outside of the boys’ bedrooms) was thrilled to find more iterations of hockey in the great outdoors.  At only $20 each, these are affordable, beautiful and unique gifts for any hockey lover.

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For any teacher with young kids:

I have bought many of these amazing Story Blocks by Fidoodle, and this year I bought a set for our kids’ gym teacher, who has a young son.  I love how versatile it is: building blocks, scenery for setting the stage for a story, action figures, and characters from both Red Riding Hood and Peter and the Wolf.  In order to create a gift basket with the theme of family reading, I’ve paired it with a book about reading to kids called A Family of Readers by Roger Sutton, about reading to kids from infancy through to the tweens, and with a gift certificate for a book store so that he can choose a book for himself.  I bought the story blocks at Carol’s new store, Little House in the City!

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From Beth-Anne:

For the Art Teacher – The Art Gallery of Ontario is currently exhibiting the works of Alex Colville.  The installation is an amazing collection of his finished works, sketches, interviews, and photos.  Consider giving an experience – a ticket for your teacher to enjoy over the holiday.  Don’t live in Toronto?  No problem, you can shop the AGO and purchase Colville inspired gifts like this binocular necklace.  AGO Colville Necklace $32

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For the Music Teacher – Encourage your teachers to rest-up this holiday with this whimsical pillow from coverLove for $43.00

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For the Math Teacher – Math, science and technology teachers usually have a witty sense of humor.  It’s always fun searching for the perfect kitschy gift that will get a laugh or two.  If jokey gifts aren’t your thing, maybe this geometric doormat is.  Available from the Drake General Store, $38.

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For the Science Teacher –  Janette, whom I met years ago through my moms’ group, is a scientist.  She has that witty sense of humor and enlightens me by posting interesting science-y articles on Facebook.  She gave me some ideas for what the science teacher may like including naming a star after them!  Her other picks: www.thinkgeek.com and http://www.ilovesciencestore.com where this DNA necklace ($29) and Atom keychain ($15) are from.   If Janette’s husband is reading, I have it on good authority that the meteorite necklace would be well received on Christmas morning.  Just sayin’.

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For the Classroom Teacher – The possibilities are really endless but I like these words of wisdom prints from Indigo.  This one says There Is Nothing Like A Dream ($29) and I think that’s pretty fitting for a classroom where dreams are nurtured by great teachers.

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From Carol

For the eco-conscious and slightly practically-minded teacher, Abeego natural food wrap is a great choice.  Handmade in Canada (Victoria, BC), this effective alternative to plastic cling is made from organic cotton and hemp, and covered with a blend of beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin.  Re-usable and durable, it will last over a year with proper care.  Best gift option is the set of 3 wraps (small, medium, large) for $18. Available at Little House in the City.

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Also lovely are the hand-printed, organic cotton tea towels created by Bookhou.  Affordable luxury and functional beauty at $16, and sure to brighten any kitchen.  Available at Little House in the City.

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