As someone who formerly worked in education, I’ll tell you a secret… Teachers are tired of getting mugs for Christmas! Every single year, they get so many mugs filled with cocoa, tea, and candy that they eventually have so many, they cannot fit in their cabinets. Many teachers eventually donate these mugs to a thrift store. Another all-too-common gift is candles. Some people absolutely adore to burn candles around the house, while others totally despise it. So instead of going for the same old boring gifts, consider helping your kids make their teachers a DIY present during the holidays that will stand out from the crowd.
30. Chalkboard Crayon Wreath
During the holiday season, people love to hang wreaths on their front door. Some teachers even like to do this on the front door of their classroom. So what could be better than making a wreath with school supplies? With just a few items from the craft store, you and your kids can make this chalkboard crayon wreath at home. Once the project is done, your child can write a message on the chalkboard for their teacher, like “Merry Christmas, Mrs. Smith!”
The great thing about this wreath is that it could be hung all year long, not just the holiday season. For the full instructions on how to make this, check out A Pumpkin and a Princess. Blogger Crystal Owens explains that she got the boxes of crayons during a back-to-school sale at Target for just 50 cents each, and the dimensional sticker accessories like the apple, composition notebook, and pencil were all purchased from Michael’s craft store.
Almost everyone loves to go to Starbucks, but teachers on a tight budget may not be able to go as often as they would like. Instead of giving them yet another empty coffee mug, consider giving them a Starbucks gift card instead. Whether they like coffee or not, they can use the gift card to buy iced tea, lunch, snacks, or even accessories to take home with them. Giving gift cards during the holidays can seem impersonal, but they don’t have to be. Each of these gift card holders have a message, like the one seen in the photo above that says “Thanks a Latte”.
To make these at home, you can ask your local Starbucks employee if they would be willing to give you a few dry plastic cups with lids. There shouldn’t be an issue with them giving you these for free, especially if you are already buying the gift cards. Once you get them home, you can use a Sharpie to write on the cups for each teacher. Then, add the bows, draws, and confetti inside. The decoration can be found at your local craft store or Dollar Tree.
One of the best things you can do for a teacher is to encourage them to practice a little more self-care. Exfoliating is very important if you want to have soft skin and prevent ingrown hairs. Sugar scrub is a popular way to remove the dead skin, but it can be expensive to buy in the store. Believe it or not, sugar scrub is actually very easy and cheap to make at home. Check out Wellness Mama for step-by-step instructions on how to make sugar scrub at home. You can make this scrub smell and taste however you want. Since you will be making this around the holidays, we recommend trying out the sugar cookie scrub recipe.
Once you have made the scrub, put it in a small jar with a lid. (These can be found at your local Dollar Tree.) Adding sticker labels and little labels are a great touch, as well. In the photo taken from the Balancing Home blog, they included one that says, “Sugar and smarts and really big hearts. That’s what great teachers and made of.”
If you love to sew, you might already have a machine at home that does embroidery. (Or, you might want to invest in one.) If you already have one at home, why not create a tote bag or purse with your teacher’s initials, or a design? Even if you do not have a sewing machine that can do this, you could still create an iron-on decal if you have a Silhouette cutting machine.
Of course, the last option for making your own customized bags is to use fabric paint. This can be found at any craft store or Walmart, and you just need a paint brush. However you managed to accomplish this, your child’s teacher is sure to be impressed, and they will most definitely start using that bag.
During the holiday season, pretty much everyone loves a good old fashioned snow globe. However, these can be pretty expensive if you buy them from the store, with most costing between $30 to $40. There are plenty of “Make Your Own Snow Globe” kits online if you want to do this project together with your kids, too, but the ready-made sets are usually meant kids. If you are planning to create gifts for a teacher, is actually very cheap and east to make a DIY snow globe with mason jars.
Check out Mashable Watercooler’s YouTube video to see how they make snow globs from mason jars. In the video, they choose to use small Dr. Who action figures. This can be great if you know what your child’s teacher likes. If you are afraid of this leaking, you can choose to leave out the water all together, and create more of a snowy diorama rather than a traditional snow globe.
Every teacher needs to keep a lot of school supplies at their desk. A very thoughtful and useful gift you can give is a home made school supply organizer. At The Kim Six Fix, there are step by step instructions on how to make this project at home. They used a Silhouette cutting machine, but you could also make this if you (or your husband) have some power tools and a basic knowledge of wood cutting.
Once it is done, you may want to consider adding some school supplies in there, too. We already mentioned how precious those school supplies are to teachers. So giving them free dry erase markers, pens, and other supplies inside of the organizer would be greatly appreciated. As a bonus touch, paint on the teacher’s name, so they can have it facing the classroom as their own name plate.
Everyone loves a fresh homemade cookie, especially around the holidays. However, not everyone knows how to bake, or they simply might not have the time to buy all of the ingredients. This is why a DIY cookie kit is such a great gift. All you need to do it put the dry ingredients into a mason jar, and the recipient of the gift needs to add butter and eggs later.
Once the ingredients are put into the mason jar, you can add ribbons, fabric, and stickers to decorate it. You can also add a personalized message for each teacher on a card. The great thing about these mason jar kits is that it is easy to make multiples if you need to give gifts to several teachers. You can buy a set of 10 mason jars for $10, and you can buy the ingredients at Dollar Tree or a discount grocery store like Aldi’s.
We already mentioned that teachers have a lot of mugs as gifts from their students. So it only makes sense that you might want to help give them coffee! This should be easy to make with a basket or plastic container that you find at Dollar Tree. They also sell clear cellophane wrap, ribbon, and tissue paper.
Most people (especially teachers) drink coffee to help them wake up in the morning and stay awake throughout the day. Even if it turns out that they secretly do not drink coffee, it would be easy for them to regift this to someone else, or leave it in the teacher’s break room. Or, you could put in a mix of tea, coffee, and cocoa so that they have multiple options to choose from.
In case you didn’t know, teachers have to buy their own supplies to use at work. This includes dry erase markers. These dry out far more quickly than you might imagine. If these markers are left unattended, they just might disappear from one class to the next. It’s kind of like finding your lunch going missing from the fridge, only worse. This is why a lot of teachers keep backups in their purses and briefcases.
Now that you know how precious dry erase markers are to teachers, suddenly this gift makes a whole lot of sense, right? Getting a fresh pack of dry erase markers is as good as gold. The DIY part is to decorate it with a message from your child, like the one seen in the photo, “You have made a mark on my life that can never be erased.” Cute, right? The best part about this gift is that it is easy to make these for all of the teachers in your kids’ lives, from elementary school through High School.
If you have kids, chances are that you had plenty of broken crayons lying around the house. The good news is that you can reuse those crayons and turn them into a work of art. These framed crayon gifts just need a shadow box frame, paper, and a hot glue gun. If you don’t already have the crayons at home, you can buy a box at your local Dollar Tree, or stock up when they have a back-to-school sale at Walmart and Target. Everything else should be available at your local craft store or Walmart.
If you do not want to make the teacher’s initials, you can always opt to create a different piece of art, like the apple seen above. For the full instructions on how to make this project, check out the Cleverly Simple blog.
Giving someone a plant is better than giving a bouquet of flowers, because they will last a lot longer if they are taken care of. It’s very affordable to buy clay flower pots and some chalk board paint at Dollar Tree. Home and garden centers at places like Lowe’s and Home Depot will also have flowers on sale for just a few dollars each.
Many teachers are expected to provide their classrooms with supplies. According to the New York Times, 94% of teachers in the United States have to spend their own money to get the things they need for students. Unfortunately, since teachers do not make a lot of money, this can seriously hurt their paychecks. Most teachers are already underpaid, and the truly deserve better. After all, they are devoting their lives to educating children, and shouldn’t have to pay to do their job.
You may have received a letter in the mail at the beginning of the school year asking parents for classroom donations to help ease the costs. If this is the case, your child’s teacher would truly appreciate receiving this school supply “cake”. It’s layered like a wedding cake, but made up of all of the things teachers need. There are several different types of cakes out there, with multiple tutorials online.
Whether it’s at home binging Netflix in your pajamas, or going out to get popcorn and sit in a theater, pretty much everyone loves watching movies. This is why a “movie night” gift basket can never go wrong. It may be a good idea to give them a gift card for a local Regal or AMC movie theater, or a free month or Netflix. Then add some candy, a bag of microwave popcorn, and maybe even a bottle of soda.
At Dollar Tree, they sell packs of plastic popcorn bowls which is perfect if you are planning to make several of these for all of your kid’s teachers. If you cannot find them at your location, you can always order them online and have them delivered to your local store for free. Or, you can just pick any plastic container or basket to make your own gift basket.
A lot of people like to give teachers soaps and body wash from Bath and Body Works, especially since they can get great deals on Black Friday. While those are always greatly appreciated, they will eventually get used up and put in the recycling bin. Soap dispensers, on the other hand, are going to last for years, and they still look pretty even if you are refilling them with soap from the dollar store. This is especially great if you know that your child’s teacher likes farmhouse decor.
All you need to make these are mason jars, chalk board paint, and soap pumps. There are also pre-made mason jar soap dispensers available to buy online, and all you have to do is paint them. Include some ribbon and a nice little card, and it’s ready to go in the gift bag. Since this is made out of glass, you may want to consider wrapping it in a box. You also might only giving this to an older child who can responsibly make sure the glass does not break on the bus ride to school.
If you have any level of artistic talent, you might want to consider giving your child’s teacher a DIY painted globe. Out of all of the gifts on this list, it may be one of the most expensive options. But it is also the most striking gift that your child’s teacher will remember for years to come. It is very likely that they will proudly have it sitting on their desk for a long time. And if you have multiple kids in the family, it will give a nice lasting impression.
If you want to buy one that is already made on Etsy, expect to pay $68 plus shipping. It is definitely cheaper to make your own, especially if you already have acrylic paint at home. You can buy a globe online for $16, or search your local Walmart to see if they have one in a similar price range. Sometimes, you may be able to find them at a local thrift store. Remember that since you are painting over it, the globe doesn’t have to be super high quality. Let your kids help you paint this- (at least with the solid color) and they will proudly tell their teacher that they helped create this beautiful globe.
Giving a teacher an “emergency kit” is a fun way to let them have something in their desk drawer that is either genuinely useful, or a bit of a joke. For example, the “emergency kit” could really just be a plastic box filled with candy that they can snack on throughout the day. Or, it could be a pencil box filled with genuinely useful things, like deodorant, chap stick, gum, bandaids and anything else that they may need in the classroom.
Either way, these kits should be filled with things that are going to get used up during the course of the school year. Even if they are just small items from Dollar Tree, every little bit helps when you are living on a teacher’s salary.
We already mentioned on this list that teachers need to buy their own school supplies for the classroom. If you cannot afford to create an entire school supply cake, your gesture could be as simple as giving them a pack of post-it-notes. These can be found at the Dollar Tree, or at a local office supply store like Staples. This is perfect if you have more than one child, and they all need to buy gifts for multiple teachers in their lives.
One idea given by the blog The Happy Scraps is to add a sticker that says, “Thank you for ‘sticking’ with me & helping me learn.” This is essentially the same gesture as a “thank you” card, with the added bonus of actually being useful. Even though it is small, your teachers should truly appreciate it.
If you are artistically inclined, you may want to help your kids create a DIY wooden sign that has the teacher’s name on it. These wooden signs are very cheap to buy at craft stores like Hobby Lobby. All you need to do is paint them, and add a teacher’s name. If you want it to look professional, you should consider finding a text stencil online. If you have a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine, you could also print a vinyl decal to stick onto the sign.
Remember that a gift like this does not have to be perfect. Instead of worrying about the font, you could allow your child to write the teacher’s name by hand. This way, your teacher will know that their student actually took the time to make that gift for them.
Okay, a beach kit is technically not a gift you would give during the traditional holiday season. However, you may find out that the teacher is going on a much-needed trip to a tropical destination over winter break. A great beach relaxation kit includes a towel, sunscreen, aloe vera lotion, magazines, sunglasses, flip flops, and a water bottle. Instead of a gift basket, it can all fit into a beach bag. If you know that the teacher is going on a plane, remember to give them travel-sized products!
Many parents like to give teachers an end-of-the-year gift before they go on their summer holiday as a “thank you” for all the work they have done. So even if you do not want to use this idea for the holiday season, you may want to remember it when June rolls around.
Everyone loves a good jam, especially when they know that it’s homemade. Consider making a big batch of jam and dividing it up into small jars. Then, you can also put a custom sticker label on the top of the jar, like this one that says, “teaching is your jam”. (Get it?) This is a lot of fun to make, and you can get your kids involved with the cooking process.
The Crouton Crackerjacks YouTube channel has a great recipe video for homemade strawberry jam. You only need three ingredients; strawberries, sugar, and lemon juice. That’s it! Your child’s teacher will probably appreciate having jam that is free of preservatives. And in the winter time, there are plenty of opportunities to slather pieces of toast, bagels, and PB&J sandwiches with the jam.
Winter is a great time to start baking some comfort foods at home. Around the holidays, almost everyone indulges more in sweets like brownies and cookies. So a great gift to give a teacher is this cute brownie kit. Dollar Tree has pot holders, spatulas, and small bags of brownie mix available all for $1 each, so you could easily make these for just $3 per teacher. You could buy a pot holder that comes with a generic design, or try to customize it to have your teacher’s name.
On This Crafty Mom, they have free downloads for text saying “How sweet it is to be taught by you.” or “Trying to score brownie points”. There are also tons of other examples of how you can write a personal message with the teacher’s name on it. This can only be done if you have a Silhouette Cameo cutting machine and heat transfer vinyl.
Teachers work very hard, so it’s a good idea to encourage them to practice self-care over the holiday break. If you can afford to do so, giving them a gift basket full of bath and body products is great. The only and only downside to this is that it can get expensive! If this is out of your price range, or if you have multiple teachers to buy for, consider making mini “spa in a jar” gifts instead.
These mini “spa in a jar” kits are made with mason jars. There is a loofa, soap, chap stick, bath salts, and whatever else you can fit inside. All of these products can be found at Dollar Tree for just $1 each. It should be possible for you to spend between $5 to $10 per spa kit. Once you have these products available, you can choose to make as many as you want, if you have more than one kid who needs to buy for a teacher.
If your child’s teacher celebrates Christmas, they are probably going to have a tree in their home. They may even have one set up inside of their classroom if they are especially festive. This would be a great opportunity to make a DIY ornament together with your kids and give them to all of their teachers. It’s easy to make ornaments using supplies from the craft store or Dollar Tree. There are also plenty of ornament kits available online.
The only problem is choosing which style you want to make. You could go with painting plain white bulbs, creating ceramic ornaments from scratch, hot gluing something together, or sewing a plush ornament. There are so many different options for DIY ornaments on Pinterest, the possibilities are endless. Sit down with your kids and ask them what their favorite idea is, and you can go to the craft store together.
People love to get lottery tickets for the holidays. This is usually reserved as a stocking stuffer, but when you have to buy for multiple teachers, it can be a great way to give something cheap that seems to hold a lot of value to people. It can be exciting to think that you may win a lot of money. Even if they only win $2, it can still be fun. And, you never know. You just may have given someone a golden ticket. Best of all, these gifts could only cost between $1 to $5 each.
If you think that lottery tickets are not enough of a gift, consider adding a candy bar with a money-themed name. There is 100 Grand, PayDay, golden coins, and even Smarties would fit the theme since you are giving them to a teacher. (Get it? “smarties”?) Add a cute little note, like the one above that says, “Thanks a million for all you do”, and you’re all set.
A lot of these DIY gifts for teachers are cute, but at the end of the day, they are still adults. Many of your teachers will probably go home and pour themselves a glass of wine at the end of the day. Most adults appreciate free wine. There are a lot of ideas out there with DIY labels saying, “Our child might be the reason why you drink”. This is hilarious if you know that your kid can be a handful. A cheaper alternative to this gift idea would be to make mason jar cocktail mixers with a can of soda and a small bottle of alcohol.
Of course, you need to keep in mind that your underage kids probably shouldn’t be taking alcohol to school with them! This gift is best if you are able to meet with teachers at a classroom party and bring it to them yourself. Also call the school to ask if it would be against the school’s policy to bring wine into the building. If it is strictly forbidden, you may have to rethink this gift, and give it to a friend instead.
After 8-10 hours of standing in front of a classroom, plenty of teachers come home with sore backs. Not everyone owns a heating pad, so this DIY warmer is the next best thing. This gift is perfect if you are handy with a sewing machine, and have some extra pieces of fabric lying around your craft room. In the Spoonful of Sugar blog, they suggest using old flannel pajamas to make these wheat bags, if you want to up-cycle something you already have on-hand.
These can be heated in the microwave to get them at the right temperature. Each bag should come with a little tag that explains how to use it, since many people may have never seen these before. Unlike plugging in a heating pad, you could fall asleep with one of these bags without worrying about accidentally burning yourself or starting a fire in the middle of the night. The great thing about this gift idea is that you could potentially make several of these to give to each teacher in your kid’s lives.
Banana bread is delicious, and almost everyone loves to eat it around the holidays. It is also the type of snack that is easy to eat for breakfast, which is perfect for busy teachers who are on the go. Lucky for you, it is actually very easy and cheap to make banana bread at home, and you can have your kids help to bake them. All you need is ripe bananas, sugar, flour, baking powder, eggs, and butter. (Click here for the full recipe) All of these ingredients can be found at Dollar Tree, or discount grocery stores like Aldi.
If you want to make multiple loaves for several different teachers and school staff, consider buying a multi-section small bread loaf pan online. These cook up to 4 bread loaves at a time. Once they are cooled down, you can wrap them with doilies, plastic wrap, and tie it up with a ribbon. All of these wrapping supplies are also available at Dollar Tree. The best part about this is that once you have the pan and the wrapping supplies, you can make as many mini bread loaves as you want.
Goat’s milk soap is a popular gift, because it is a luxurious product that keep your skin soft. It is also guaranteed to be made with natural ingredients, which is perfect for people who have sensitive skin. You may have seen bars of this all-natural goat’s milk selling for $15 at a fancy boutique. The good news is that you don’t need to own a goat in order to make it at home.
Target sells cartons of goat’s milk for around $4, and Walmart sells cans of powdered goat’s milk for just $2.50 each. Check out Homesteading, where they have a recipe and step-by-step guide on how to make goat’s milk soap. Once the soap is done, you could wrap it in parchment paper and add a little hand written note or sticker for each of your teachers.
There are few things in this world better than a nice, warm bath. Teachers have a tough job, so they especially need time to pamper themselves. Bath bombs are great, because they add scent, fizz, and beautiful flowers to a bath to make the experience so much better. A lot of people spend a pretty penny buying bath bombs from places like Lush, but you can actually make these at home.
You can buy a bath bomb mold kit online or at your local craft store, and make as many as you want. This is a great project to make with kids too, because they can enjoy using the bath bombs even more knowing that they helped create them from scratch. Your kids will probably want to make bath bombs for everyone in their lives.
So many teacher gifts eventually get thrown away, donated, or stored in an attic. So it’s nice to give a gift that you know will actually get used, like a tote bag. Nowadays, we are more aware of the fact that plastic bags are not good for the environment. Most of the time, we come home from the grocery store with far too many bags, and they get thrown away. Your child’s teacher most likely has the same problem. So by giving them a grocery tote, they are helping them to be environmentally friendly when they go shopping.
These totes can also double as a way for them to carry school supplies to work, as well. Consider getting customized heat transfer designs, or get fabric paint from the craft store. You and your child can work on decorating the bag together. All craft stores have a tote bag section, and it should be cheap and affordable to make one for each teacher in your life around the holidays.