Sunday, December 15, 2013

Gift Ideas For Teachers, Coaches, & Others Who Help

Only 10 days until Christmas and we've hit crunch time, folks. The kids have five days of school left which means teacher gifts are due this week and Diva's gymnastics team is having their Secret Santa. So I've been racking my brain (ouch!) trying to think of gift ideas. Here's what I've come up with:
  1. Candles and Coffee – Our PTA extorts money from parents at the beginning of the year for a class gift for the teacher. It makes the teacher happy, which is the most important thing, and earns the class parents a multitude of kudos for collecting the money.  It isn't, however, very personal. My daughter wants to giver her teacher something special from her 8-year old heart. She told me that Ms. Read likes candles and coffee, so we trekked down to our local drug store and found a heavenly-scented vanilla crème candle for about $5. Combined with a small $1 package of gourmet coffee from the grocery store (“Mom, she LOVES coffee!”) all I have to do is place the combo in a gift bag.
  2. Body Wash/Moisturizer– Diva suggested a large box of chocolate for the Secret Santa, but at least one team member doesn't eat junk food.  What if she get's the gift?  Argh!  All of the girls shower, however, so we're heading back to the drug store where I saw small body wash gift baskets for under $10 (the limit for the Secret Santa is $15 which puts us just in range). Or, we may opt for a basket containing moisturizer which will save the recipient from an awful lot of dry-skin scratching this winter.
  3. Lip Balms – Chapped lips are painful, as my daughter who gets them all the time, can attest to. Assemble a small gift basket yourself by placing some moisturizers you can buy quite cheaply at the dollar store in with some Chapstick.. You could even add in a few small bottles of San Pellegrino or other sparkling water to make a “Hydration Basket.” Or, I've seen Burt's Bees gift baskets containing lotion plus their famous beeswax lip balms advertised for as little as $14
  4. Dunkin' Donuts And Sporting Goods Gift Cards – Junior had some amazing soccer coaches this past year, so if your kid is still in a sport and you'd like to reward outstanding performance, you could assemble a small gift basket containing coffee and its accessories (creamer, perhaps a regular or travel coffee mug, sweetener, coffee syrups, etc.) or go the easy route that we took and just buy a Dunkin' Donuts gift card. We also give these to the wonderful bus driver who pauses mid-block to let my late-running kid on. Similarly, a coach is usually appreciative of a gift card to a sporting goods store like Modell's, Dick's, or Sports Authority.
  5. Water Bottles – Everyone is drinking water these days and an ecological as well as economical solution to always buying disposable water bottles is to get a re-useable one. The lovely ones pictured are sold at my local grocery store for about $6 each and would make great gifts for an adult or child alike.

    Everyone uses water bottles these days.
  6. Dark Chocolate – The evidence is mounting that dark chocolate is good for you! Run to your local discount store and pick up an assortment of these healthy confectioneries for someone with a sweet tooth. You can even fill the aforementioned water bottle or a coffee mug to make pseudo gift-basket.
  7. Gym Bag/Small Backpack  – Another coach or team grab bag suggestion is either a gym bag or small backpack that someone could carry their water and change of clothes in. Discount stores like Amazing Savings, Walmart, and Five Below carry these for under $10.
  8. Cookie/Popcorn Tins – My aunt's nursing home aide deserves something nice but we're short on cash this year, so when I go to the grocery store, I'll be picking up a goodie tin which the sweet lady can share with her family or other aides. Then again, I may purchase an empty gift tin from a dollar store and fill it with packages of candy she told me at Halloween that she likes. Economical and personalized!
  9. Bracelets – Last year my daughter and I bought memory wire, which retains its shape, at our local craft store. The little one picked out beads in colors her teacher would like and we made a very professional-looking bracelet for under $3.
  10. Hair Care Accessories – A final Secret Santa suggestion for the ladies is to purchase a decorative tube (I think these are used for wine?)  from your local discount store and fill it with hair care accessories such as hair brushes, Scrunchies, elastics, and bobby pins. Practical and pretty!
Have I missed anything? Share your gift ideas in the Comments section!

Thank you for reading!

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