It’s winding down to the end of the school year, which means inevitable chaos as we rush in between parties, ceremonies, graduations, talent shows and regular life. My last week included all of these things plus a last-minute costume ensemble. Never mind finding the time and energy to properly recognize and thank the people who have loved, taught, nurtured and taken care of our precious (aka loud) children all these months while we breathed in the calming sanity of peace and quiet!
Yes, they are coming back home for the summer. Which, I’m finding, is both wonderful and terrifying at the same time! But in the midst of the chaos of the last few days and weeks of school, I want to share how I try to put together a teacher gift that is both practical and beautiful. Because, let’s face it: the last thing your teacher needs is another coffee mug or teacher/apple paraphernalia.
My teacher friends expect nothing from the parents of their class kids, but would be thrilled with a gift certificate or something they can actually use. For me, personally, the gift card feels impersonal. Partly because I’m so personal. I’m not a gifts person but if I’m going to give a gift it has to be personal. I have to know it’s for that person — or, as lousy as it sounds, I probably won’t give a gift at all.
With multiple kids, I have at least three and sometimes four teachers to buy for every year so for the sake of simplicity, I have come up with a way to give the same gift, with minor differences to make it personal. And I just love what I came up with this year. Seriously, it is so easy and fun and versatile that anyone would love it — and it won’t break the bank either.
Here are some of the things I think of when deciding what to include in my teacher basket:
- Something living – A plant, vegetable or flower adds volume and height. Plus it has a scent and often a purpose. I chose basil this year because it’s one of my absolute favorites to smell and cook with. She can whip up a yummy dinner making a fresh pesto, or enjoy one of my summer favs: caprese salad.
- Something edible – Who doesn’t love to savor something simple, sweet and delicious? Small packages are even better because…less guilt!
- Something fun – I absolutely love sitting on my porch swing with nothing to do but read a magazine and zone out into dream land. This year it was the perfect way to add a personal touch, choosing a magazine that I felt reflected the nature or interests of each individual teacher.
- Something practical – A basket serves two purposes: it provides the shape and structure to hold all your goodies together, and can continue to be used long after the treats are discarded or gone.
- Something personal – Again, what teacher wants or needs another mug or cliche teacher/apple paraphernalia? Not one. This year I wrote a note to the teacher and my children wrote their own personal note that I tucked inside. I didn’t help them or even tell them what to write, what paper or what writing utensil to use. See? There’s hope for us all. Even I can loosen the control-freak in me some of the time.
- Something beautiful – This year I tucked in a fresh peony stem from our yard. It was absolute perfect timing when the buds were bursting with the blooms and I just knew each teacher had to have one. They’re my favorite. And I think the basket, all together, is pretty beautiful too.
And before you start thinking something like this is too expensive, this entire gift is under $30. The basket was 50% off at Michaels for only $9.99, and the food stuffs (the fresh basil plant, bottle of lemonade, lemon cookies, chocolate covered almonds, and coconut strips from Trader Joes) totaled $14.50, and the magazines were $4.99. Note: I took one big container of the dark and milk chocolate almonds and divided it into three separate bags, and even had a few left over for me! The note cards and string I had at home, and I picked the flowers from my yard. And if $30 is too much for your budget, you could certainly shrink this in size and put in less things and still make it beautiful and special.
I got my basket at my local Michaels Craft Store, but there are a few cool ones on Amazon like this awesome wire one for only $12.97. It’s a great size and totally practical for your teacher to use and remember your child long after her treats are gone.
Okay! I hope this helps tame your crazy week and at least take one stressful thing off your to-do list and make it fun. You can do this. Blessings! xo