8 Practical Holiday Gifts Every Teacher will Treasure

Written by Jackie Cali Hunt, Account Executive Manager

This time of year, teachers revel in receiving gifts from students, parents, significant others, or school leadership. It’s actually never a bad time to buy a teacher a gift, but this time of year marks the halfway point where teachers can take a small breath of reprieve before the holiday season.

They deserve a gift, but it might be best to skip cutesy cups or desk decorations. A teacher needs a lot of things, but more things to fit on their desks is usually not one of them (but we still very much appreciate it!). Teachers shell out hundreds of dollars each year in school supplies to educate the future, and your gift can show how much you value them while also saving them some cash.

Pens and Pencils

One of the best gifts a teacher can receive is a bundle of pens and pencils.

Don’t students bring their own pencils? No. Can’t you make them buy a pencil? No. Send them to their locker? No, because they don’t have a pencil there either.

Teachers start the year with so many pens and pencils and literally day two it feels like they’re gone. When I was teaching, I remember a recommendation from a senior teacher to collect collateral to keep my pencils from walking away (because pencils do grow legs and walk away). She used to keep one shoe of each kid who borrowed a pencil. Think of the smelly feet you will be saving that teacher from by just buying some pens and pencils.

Copy Paper

Schools across America may provide the ink for copies, but not the paper. We used to receive a box of paper at the beginning of each semester. Once it was gone, we had to buy our own paper. Copy paper is a place for worksheets, tests, quizzes, student artwork, and crafts. A box of paper isn’t that expensive, but it adds up over the course of an entire year. If your teacher doesn’t have to use their own copy paper or they already have enough, lined paper is also amazing. If you’re wondering why the students don’t have paper, please reference pens and pencils.


This is just self-explanatory. Skip the apple and buy your teacher some candy. Get them a variety. You want to purchase the Kit-Kats, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, and the Starbursts plus the Godiva Chocolate. You may think, “Why am I buying so much candy?” Because if you buy them enough they can both self-indulge and give it to their students as incentives.


Extra strength and the biggest bottle you can find. They need it when the pressure starts right behind their eye during third period and no amount of caffeine, chocolate, or quiet will help them recover. Every time they take it, they’ll think fondly of you.

Other first aid supplies are a good idea as well. Paper cuts are real!

Dry-Erase Boards and Dry-Erase Markers

Teachers love dry-erase boards. They are literally the easiest way to check for student comprehension. Buying a set isn’t that expensive, but because they spend all their money on copy paper and pencils, it may not be in the budget this year to get a new set. Yes, the students are going to leave their Instagram handles on them because they equate followers to social status, but this is a minor annoyance for such a great tool.

Sharpies are a practical holiday gift for teachers

Sharpies and Highlighters

Just get them a ton of Sharpies and get them in every color. Teachers are actually encouraged not to grade in red pen anymore. (Something about the student psyche.)

So, I used to grade all of my papers in different colors. Purple was my favorite. I can’t say that it did much for their psyche, but it did help me get through grading their papers.

Knowledge Tree Gift Card

Yes, I know gift cards aren’t always the best gift, but in this case, it probably is. Most teachers would probably tell you there was something they wanted for their classroom, but they couldn’t justify the funds for it.

You could get gift cards for places like Target or Walmart, but I recommend Knowledge Tree. A teacher never has a shortage of educational aids, and Knowledge Tree has some of the best variety. It’s also really easy to go spend all the Target money on other things (i.e. the Target Vortex). Trust me, your Knowledge Tree gift card won’t go to waste.

A Hug

Please combine this with one of the gifts above, but hug the teacher in your life and say that you appreciate them. They are literally educating our future engineers, artists, doctors, CEOs and even future Presidents of the United States…and it’s hard. A kind word that they are doing a good job in the chaos can go a long way.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Actually, you could get them any type of school supply and a teacher would appreciate it. So, please limit the gifts that are paperweights with angels and apples engraved with cute quotes about making a difference. It’s not that they aren’t appreciated, but maybe the apple paperweight could be accompanied by some glue sticks too?

About the author: Jackie Cali Hunt currently manages the Account Executive team at the School Planner Company. Before joining the School Planner Company, Jackie spent every day in a classroom teaching her students French and English. Deciding to try something new three years ago, she came to the School Planner Company where she has found new ways to be involved with education. While she loves her work, spending time with her husband and family is her first priority. In her spare time, Jackie loves writing, reading, and traveling anywhere she can.