It may be on the calendar just once a year, but Teacher Appreciation Day is every day in my book. Teachers deserve appreciation for their hard work and dedication, especially given the stressful nature of their profession. Nevertheless, National Teacher Appreciation Day (celebrated on Tuesday of the first full week in May) is a great opportunity to express gratitude to a beloved educator—and a small token of thanks can go a long way to make them feel valued. With this in mind, below are some of the best teacher appreciation gifts.
The list runs the gamut from practical to sentimental to pleasurable indulgences, so you’re sure to find a gift for every kind of teacher. There are items that teachers can use in and outside of the classroom as well as ones that can bring teachers a sense of calm. There are also gift baskets and boxes that will certainly bring a smile to their face, as well as gift cards that will allow them to purchase what they need (or want).
Personalized teacher appreciation gifts
A personalized gift can make an item feel truly special—these items, ranging from thoughtful to practical, can all be customized to suit the beloved teacher you’ll be gifting to.
Many times, a handwritten letter is one of the best teacher appreciation gifts a student can give—and these thank-you cards are a great way to express your or your child’s gratitude. The cards feature adorable illustrations, emblazoned with phrases like “Thanks for helping me shine!” and “You are a great teacher.” For under $15, you’ll receive a 48-pack, so you or your child can write personalized messages to most, if not all the teachers on staff.
A picture can make a great sentimental gift to remember the school year. Put it in a picture frame like this one from RPJC and teachers can look back on the photo for years to come. You can select among various sizes and seven finishes with color choices ranging from classic neutrals to gold. Plus, it combines a solid wood frame with a shatter-resistant glass pane for durability.
These Inkifi photo magnets are sure to make a teacher smile every time they open the fridge. Simply upload images from your desktop or photo onto the Inkifi website, and they’ll transform them into magnets. You can also edit, crop, and add a filter to your chosen photos using Inkifi’s online digital designer. Select between a four-pack of four-by-four inch magnets (like the version featured above) or a nine-pack of four-by-four inch magnets.
Mugs are common gifts from grateful students, but this customizable pick from Uncommon Goods lets you capture a beloved teacher’s essence with an illustration in their likeness. On the Uncommon Goods website, you can choose from a wide variety of illustration templates as well as several options for hair colors, skin tones, and clothing colors. You also have the option to add their name and the year. The mug itself is made from ceramic and it’s both microwave and dishwasher safe.
The Well+Good team loves Yeti’s Rambler travel mug—and we’re positive a teacher will love it, too. Thanks to double-wall vacuum insulation, the stainless steel mug has the ability to keep drinks hot or cold for up to several hours. Plus, its leak-proof lid prevents the risk of liquids from spilling onto important documents or worse, a laptop. You can also customize it with an image or a recipient’s name or initials for a few more dollars. It comes in a 30-ounce size (pictured above) or a 20-ounce version.
Teachers who prefer taking notes might appreciate this personalizable notebook from Papier. Its color-block design will give them a hit of dopamine and it comes with an option to personalize the cover with the recipient’s name. This beautiful notebook can be purchased with blank, dotted, or lines pages to suit a teacher’s writing preferences, and it comes in nine striking color-block options, including the pink-and-red colored pick featured above.
If a teacher schleps around large amounts of stuff, L.L. Bean’s widely-talked-about tote bag can help carry the load—and stylishly so. It’s made from a canvas material that can bear the heft of books, and school paper, and it’s reinforced with sturdy handles and double-stitched seams. The handles add a pop of color to the tote bag’s otherwise simple and straightforward design, and if you want to make it truly personal, you can also monogram the bag with the recipient’s name or initials.
Say “thanks” to a beloved teacher with this candle from Homesick. It’s fragranced with cucumber, lemon, and patchouli, and one reviewer described it as a “pleasant fresh scent” that isn’t “overpowering,” and another mentioned that it’s a versatile scent that many people will enjoy. The candle itself is made with a soy wax blend that is non-toxic and free of parabens, phthalates, and synthetic dyes. For a personalized touch, you can also include a custom note.
Add some greenery to a teacher’s desk with a plant. This succulent from Lula’s Garden comes in a box with the words “thank you” printed on it. The succulent your recipient will receive will vary according to what’s available on Lula’s Garden and the season of the year, making for a pleasant surprise. As a bonus, each purchase on the website goes to support Water.org, an organization that provides access to safe water in developing countries.
These custom-printed rubber stamps will delight any teacher. You can choose among six ink colors, 30 illustrations, and personalize each stamp with your teacher’s name and a phrase of encouragement, with examples like “You are great!” and “Excellent job!” Each set comes with four rubber stamps, and if you’re ordering within the United States, the manufacturer says that it’ll only take a day or two to make—perfect when you’re in a time crunch.
Self-care teacher appreciation gifts
Give a hard-working teacher some extra TLC with these gift ideas. They can tackle stress relief, the aches and pains that come with the job, or simply give them a hit of dopamine.
Bleary-eyed teachers might get a kick out of this moist eye compress. Filled with flaxseed that holds onto moisture while it heats, it provides instant relief for tired or dry eyes. Using it is easy, too: Just heat the eye compress in the microwave for up to 50 seconds and use. The eye compress also comes with an elastic strap that is adjustable to most head sizes, plus the outer cover can be hand-washed to keep it clean.
These massage balls roll out knots, aches, and tension, making it ideal for teachers who spend long working hours sitting at a desk. The set comes with three balls in different sizes, colors, and degrees of firmness. They’re designed to be used on the body, but the manufacturer states that the smallest ball can also be used on the face. The balls are made from rubber, and they come with a bag for easy storage.
Comrad’s knee-high compression socks provide comfort during shifts spent on feet. They help facilitate circulation to keep pains, aches, and fatigue at bay. The cushioned heel and toe provides added comfort during wear while the breathable nylon material wicks away moisture. It doesn’t hurt that the compression socks look attractive, too. Choose from solid colors or prints, such as tie-dye and stripes, and sizes ranging from small to extra-large.
This essential oil roll-on scent makes it easy for teachers to get a dose of aromatherapy on the go. They’re diluted with sweet almond and grapeseed oil, and each blend works to evoke a different response. The Breathe blend can help offer clarity, the Focus blend can perk up the senses, and the Happiness blend can uplift the spirits. The roll-ons can be sniffed straight from their vials or applied to wrists, temples, or behind the ears.
Give a teacher the gift of moisturized and germ-free hands. Grown Alchemist’s hand cream is formulated with cedarwood, which is purported to have antibacterial properties, along with bisabolol that moisturize the skin without leaving it greasy. One reviewer confirmed that “it is lightweight and absorbs super quickly.” It also imparts a subtly pleasant scent, which one reviewer mentioned contains hints of rose and ylang-ylang.
A teacher’s coffee or tea will never go cold again with this handy mug warmer. It keeps hot drinks at a consistent temperature of 131 degrees Fahrenheit for hours. The heating plate is made with a layer of thermal glass, making it water-resistant, too. The gadget is easy to use: Simply plug the device and place a mug on it. It’ll automatically power on (and turn off when the mug is removed).
After a long day, this mini sound machine can bring in some calm. The device features six sound options (dohm, white nose, brown noise, gentle surf, stream, and thunderstorm) and a dimmable amber-hued nightlight that won’t get in the way of relaxation. It comes with a lanyard and is portable enough for a backpack or handbag. Plus, it operates cordlessly, so teachers can use it anytime, anywhere.
This looks like a funny contraption, but this head massager can offer euphoria akin to a satisfying head scratch. The claw-style tool has 20 prongs and when used on the head, each prong glides gently over the scalp. “A few ups and downs on my head and I’m in nirvana,” one Amazon reviewer wrote—and many other shoppers have agreed as evidenced by the product’s 4.6-star overall rating.
This deck of cards features 52 tips to help manage stress, cultivate personal well-being, and encourage mindfulness in everyday life. “[They] provide great ideas for mindfulness practices and for self-care,” one Amazon reviewer mentioned, while another proclaimed: “I am learning to destress my life and this is a pretty simple start!” Reviewers have also mentioned that the cards are well-made, and their colorful design makes for a delightful touch.
This scratch-off poster from Uncommon Goods doubles as a bucket list of ideas to practice self-care and it’s ideal for recipients who want to carve more time for themselves. There are 100 ideas in total, with prompts like, “Do something you loved as a kid” and “Take yourself on a date,” plus illustrations for each prompt that are revealed as one goes through the list, making it all the more satisfying to scratch everything off.
Best gift baskets, boxes, & bouquets for teachers
Gift baskets, boxes, and bouquets are all great ways to show teachers appreciation. From food-centric bundles to boxes that pack all sorts of delights to make for a pleasant surprise, you’re bound to find something to speak to a teacher’s tastes.
A box of chocolate is always sweet, but it’s even better when the chocolate is made with ethically sourced cacao like Beyond Good’s bean-to-bar chocolates. They’re made with cocoa that’s grown and produced in Madagascar and the company adheres to sustainable agroforestry practice. Introduce a sweet-toothed teacher to three of their single-origin chocolate bars by way of a bow-wrapped gift box. All the chocolates are organic, vegan, and free from gluten and soy.
This gift box from Delight Patisserie features 24 shortbread cookies, each with a heart and the words “Thank you” carved on top—a thoughtful and delicious gesture to show a teacher appreciation. Recipients can certainly enjoy the vanilla shortbread cookies on their own, but they would also make the perfect companion to an afternoon coffee or tea. While it might be tough to space out, the cookies can stay fresh for up to two months.
With a 4.5-star overall rating on Amazon after more than 7,000 reviewers chimed in, the Cravebox snack box is a crowd-pleaser—and it’s easy to see why. Inside the box are 30 snacks, including veggie chips, popcorn, nuts, and fruit chews that are sure to satisfy when your giftee becomes hungry between meals. Plus, the recyclable cardboard box is easy to dress up: A bow (and a handwritten card) should do the trick.
The Hickory Farms Hearty Bites gift box contains dry-cured sausages, cheeses, and mustard condiments—all the makings of a fine charcuterie platter that teachers can enjoy with family, friends, or colleagues. Inside the box are three varieties of dried sausage (Signature Beef, Spicy Beef, and Sweet and Smoky Turkey), three flavors of cheese (Farmhouse Cheddar, Smoked Cheddar, and Three Cheese and Onion), plus Sweet Hot and Belgian Ale Mustard.
Stocked with salty and sweet snacks, Pack With Purpose’s gift box serves up sea salt popcorn, lemon butter cookies, and a bar of dark chocolate with chocolate cookie bits. Each snack is made with premium ingredients and goes to support the brand’s “Impact Partners.” The snacks in the box support agricultural diversity as well as women- and diverse-owned businesses and empowerment for girls.
Flowers, beautiful as they are, only last so long, and while edible bouquets are no exception, at least they can be consumed. This fruit arrangement from Edible features daisy-shaped pineapples, strawberries, as well as cantaloupe and honeydew melons. They also come in a vase that teachers can use long after they’ve eaten their bouquet. Choose from three sizes: Petite (featured above), Small, and Regular.
Break the monotony of a teacher’s usual coffee drink with Bean Box’s tasting kit, which contains 1.8-ounce bags of whole bean or ground coffee. You can curate the kit to a recipient’s tastes, such as whether they like their java regular or decaffeinated—and if they prefer regular coffee, you can also choose among various roast flavors. Whatever their preference, each purchase supports independent roasters across the United States.
If a teacher prefers tea to coffee, they might be delighted to receive the David’s Tea assortment kit. The kit includes a total of twelve loose-leaf teas and there’s one for every mood. There’s Earl Grey, for instance, to help energize mornings, and come time to wind down, the brand’s “Valerian Nights” tea blend (which also contains chamomile) will offer much-needed relaxation. The aesthetically pleasing packaging also means that you can give it as is—no wrapping needed.
School supplies can be both functional and fun—take Papier’s Fun Desk Days Gift Set as proof. The set includes a salmon-pink ballpoint pen, colorful pencils, blob-shaped erasers, printed washi tape, and a ruler with straight and curvy edges. The mere sight of them is sure to brighten a teacher’s day. Plus, the box itself is pretty (Just look at the cyan hue!), which adds (even more) sunshine to their school supply collection.
Knack gives you the opportunity to build a gift set from scratch for an extra special touch. You can build a gift based on occasion (like the “thank you” gift set featured above), recipient, interest, or ethos. Furthermore, you select what goes in the box, so you’re likely to find something that will appeal to a teacher’s unique tastes. Customizing a recipient’s gift box is only half of the fun. The unboxing makes up the other half.
Best teacher appreciation gift cards
Gift cards are great simply because your recipient can decide how they want to use them. Below are some popular options that can help bring ease to a teacher’s everyday life or help them indulge (because they deserve it!).
A Starbucks gift card can go a long way for teachers who rely on coffee or tea to power through busy school days (and nights).
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