Thoughtful gifts for teachers
I think it's nice to give a little gift at the end of the school year just to show appreciation of all that the teacher has done for our children, but am also keen (having had a mum as a teacher myself and knowing what she used to be given each year!) that the gift is something thoughtful and useful rather than just a box of chocolates bought in haste from the corner shop en route to school!
Have you seen the amount of marking teachers have to do these days, even in the early years?! Skull and Cross Buns have a lovely little set of three stamps with an inkpad (spares and other colours available!), which can be used by the teacher on work to add some colour whilst also completing their marking duties!
Homemade jam or biscuits
Giving something homemade is always a nice touch, although teachers have probably seen enough 'beautiful' drawings from the children all through the year to warrant steering clear of these as an end of year gift. Equally strange models and constructions are also likely to be guiltily disposed of all too soon, so stick with something that is actually useful and/or edible! Simple, well-made jam or biscuits are, I believe, the answer! Try something like the biscotti in a jar idea that I posted a while ago or make some jam or chutney out of fruit from your garden. Make sure your child lends a hand with the stirring and then you can add a cute label with "Picked and made by Ben" for example, to make it extra-special.
As much as I don't really advocate high street gift vouchers most of the time, for teachers where you probably don't have too much of an idea what they do/don't like (which is why we so often revert to shop-bought chocolates, biscuits and flowers!) I think they make sense. It means nothing is wasted, and I think when added to an inexpensive but personal gift such as the jam or biscuits above, it makes a really nice set. A good one to get is the SayShopping voucher which allows the recipient to spend it in many different shops and outlets rather than limiting it to just one.
Personalised canvas bag
All teachers have to carry lots of books, papers and the like around with them, so a lovely bag is not only thoughtful but also practical. Try decorating your own with fabric paints or gluing on a design with bits of material (Hobbycraft have plain ones available for reasonable prices), or if you're not very arty/don't have time, try Alice Palace bags. They have eight designs to choose from which you can personalise to suit your teacher.
There are many 'thank you for helping me grow' type presents out there, but how about painting a terracotta pot or house plant pot with this saying (and a nice background colour and pattern) and then using cuttings or seeds, growing your own plant in it. This is again, a cost-effective but thoughtful gift to hand over, and once planted in teacher's garden, can be a lasting reminder :-) If you don't have the time/skills to decorate the pot yourself, there are a few available like the one pictured from Snapdragon.
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