iteach Insight &


Creative Teacher Appreciation Gifts

Teacher appreciation gifts can be a sticky subject. While everyone enjoys having their work acknowledged and enjoys feeling valued, many impersonal gifts can have the opposite effect. Instead of loading down the teachers in your life with unwanted gifts, consider these creative options. 

First and foremost, don’t be afraid to spoil the surprise of a gift by coordinating with its recipient. Impact matters more than intentions. By inviting the recipient into the gift-giving process, you can avoid sending your favorite teacher to the break room in a desperate attempt to trade a pile of scented candles for something they actually want. 

Handwritten Cards

Trends in teacher appreciation gifts come and go, but the most popular gift remains the same: a handwritten note. Letting teachers know how much they mean to individuals is one of the most impactful ways to show appreciation. 

Written messages from students, parents, faculty, staff, and leadership show teachers the everyday ways that their work impacts the lives of people around them. Include specific instances of meaningful connection in a written note and consider adding a gift card for a little added sweetness.

Catered Lunch

A catered lunch can turn a routine day into an exciting memory. The key here is to make sure everyone is included and that the gesture feels personal and thoughtful. A stack of cold pizza in the teacher’s lounge can feel more like an insult than a gift. But a delicious meal from a local favorite, or even something a little out of the ordinary can go a long way. 

It’s critical to consider dietary restrictions, allergies, and other important factors when providing a catered lunch. Coordinate with school administration and staff to make sure your gift meets everyone’s needs. You may also consider providing lunch for an individual classroom, keeping the same details in mind. 

Spa Days 

Self care has been at the forefront of employee appreciation more than ever, and with good reason. The well-being of teachers is critical to their success in the classroom. While a spa day or individual treatment may not be the best gift for everyone, for the right person, it’s an invaluable treat. The key to making a spa gift feel personal is in presentation. A thoughtful note explaining why the gift was chosen and why the recipient deserves it so much is the difference between this feeling carefully chosen or not. 

Choosing the treatment that the gift recipient receives may not be the best approach. Give them the freedom and flexibility to decide what works best for them. Also consider the location and hours before you choose  a spa. A free massage isn’t helpful if the location is only open while school is in session.

Creative Classes

Teachers spend a lot of time in the classroom imparting new information and skills on others. Consider giving the gift of a fun recreational class for a teacher with a budding interest outside of the classroom. Do you know a teacher who is interested in learning more cooking techniques? Offer them a fun cooking class. Have you heard a teacher say they’d like to take up painting? Gift them tickets to a sip and paint event. 

Giving the gift of a fun class might help a teacher prioritize their self care and free time. Be sure to account for teacher availability, scheduling, and transportation when selecting this gift.

Concert Tickets:

Experiential gifts are often some of the most memorable. If you know a teacher has a passion for music, a live concert may be the perfect way to show them how much you appreciate their hard work and talent. Concert tickets can be a tricky choice because of scheduling, transportation, and other considerations. This is a great time to offer teachers a gift certificate or gift card with a booking service or a venue so they have the freedom to choose which acts they’d like to see and when.

Sports Tickets and Memorabilia

Some teachers make it very easy to choose appreciation gifts, and sports fans often fall into this category. If the teacher you’re shopping for is constantly wearing their lucky jersey or has the team logo emblazoned on all of their supplies, you know exactly what they would enjoy. 

You may consider gifting them tickets to see their favorite team in person if they are local, or choose some fun or practical team memorabilia. There’s absolutely no limit to how much sports merchandise is available. From practical items like travel mugs and pens to fun and silly apparel, there’s the perfect gift for every sports fan.


Do you know a teacher who’s been looking to get outside or get a little more adventure in their life? Day trips and excursions are a thoughtful and memorable gift, because they provide the recipient with an experience they’ll never forget. This is another gift that requires communication with the recipient. Excursions should consider a teacher’s interests, skills, and abilities. 

Sending someone who doesn’t enjoy swimming on a white water rafting trip is not a thoughtful gift. Paying for a gentle walking tour of a slot canyon for someone who’s new to desert hiking might be perfect. Like most appreciation gifts, the secret is in making a thoughtful selection that is catered to the recipient.

Meal Kit Subscriptions 

Meal kits have skyrocketed in popularity for a lot of reasons. They make it more fun and easy to prepare fresh healthy meals at home while sticking to a budget and eliminating food waste. No one benefits more from meal kit subscriptions than busy professionals like teachers. 

Any teacher who’s been wanting to cook more at home but may not know where to start or may not have the time and bandwidth for the requisite shopping and preparation may delight in having pre-portioned ingredients paired with recipes delivered to their doorstep. Most meal kits offer extensive customization, making them accessible and useful to people with diverse nutrition needs and cooking abilities.

Professional Development 

Professional development is a fantastic appreciation gift. In many instances, teachers would love to pursue more certifications, expanded responsibilities, and leadership roles. If you know a teacher who’s interested in pursuing professional development that falls outside of school’s provided funding, giving these opportunities is a great way to show how much you care about their career and personal development.

Student-Created Cookbook

Teachers love gifts created by their students, but with classroom sizes of 30 or more, these gifts can  quickly become overwhelming. A fantastic solution to this is to encourage and invite students to create appreciation gifts collaboratively. Consider asking students and their families to create a cookbook with recipes inspired by their favorite teachers. 

If their favorite teacher is from Boston and loves lobster, they might include a family bisque recipe. Another student might create a spicy dish for a teacher known for their feisty personality. Encourage students to be as creative as possible and include illustrations with their recipes. This gift will serve as a reminder of the teacher’s individual connections to each student. 

Handmade apparel 

Apparel is a wonderful gift because teachers can be reminded of their students every time they wear their creations. This is another example of an opportunity for multiple students to give a teacher one item and avoid creating an avalanche of small gifts. Options like tie dying a school sweatshirt, or creating a t-shirt that each student has signed, make heartfelt but useful gifts. Consider teacher preferences and sizing information when choosing apparel as a gift. The difference between a meaningful and impactful gift that makes someone feel appreciated and a gesture that lands wrong is in the details. 

Thoughtful and creative teacher appreciation gifts can show educators how much they mean to their students and community. By choosing gifts that best reflect teacher interests and personal taste, you can appreciate the educators in your life in fun and creative ways. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when showing someone how much you care and value them.

Related Topics in Teacher Appreciation Week
Related Articles
Service Area A: Teacher Recruitment and Retention

Forecasting and Planning

Recruitment Campaigns

Licensure Programs for Paras and Subs

Access to our New Teachers Pipeline

Career Pathing Solutions

Skill Development Solutions


Service Area B: Professional Development 

Video Coaching and Self-Reflection 

Professional Development Courses 

New Teacher Programs 

Teacher Institutes 

Video Library Subscriptions 


Service Area C: Student Learning Acceleration 

Audits, Analysis and Solution Planning 

RISE Summer School Program 

Supplemental Curricula 

Teacher Coaching 

Institute Courses for Teachers 


Service Area D: Continuing Education 

Graduate-Level 1-3-Credit Courses 

Learning Pathways and Certificates 

Master’s Degree Programs 

Doctorate Degree Programs 


Service Area E: Leadership Solutions 

Strategic Planning 

Equity Consulting 

Leadership Coaching 

Custom Packages