holiday gifts

Gifts for tutors and teachers – What to give? Day 5 of 12 Days of Shopping

First, find out school policy and abide by the rules. What, I am bossy? Yeah, that’s news. Really, figure out (ask other parents in the school) what is customary and either follow it or if, for some reason, it doesn’t seem enough to you… get creative and come up with some new ideas.

Many districts have also have programs in place to help you, like Honor Thy Teacher  run by the Newton Schools Foundation where you can make a donation in a teacher’s name.  Some schools let you buy books (at a PTO run Book Fair) or donate a book to the school library in the name of the teacher.
There is no shortage of great gifts (books) and you can grab a gift card to a local book store (more books) or coffee shop. Have your children make the card – it is always appreciated. Maybe you can organize a Teacher Appreciation Coffee before the holidays. Get the PTO involved and start a new tradition – maybe you can give everyone a goodie bag or, I don’t know, a book?

So, what to give? Is handwritten card and cookies enough or do you slip a gift card inside? If you do, try Sephora, Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts or iTunes.  Sometimes a group gift is in order. so pony up and be the one that collects the money and buys the gift, assign someone else the task of getting the card signed by all of the students. More work for you but you will make some teacher’s day.

What else to give?  Always welcome gifts :  hand-knitted or commercially made scarves, sweaters, gloves, socks which also all fit the not too personal rule (include a gift receipt to be extra nice). What else? Holiday decorations (Hanukah or Christmas) and candles, anything homemade (see Friday’s post),  notecards or plantable paper from Botanical PaperWorks. How about a magazine subscription? I like Uncommon Goods for really different but reasonable gifts like this Stackable Lunch Pot Set.

The new Flour Bakery cookbook (add some sweet wooden spoons or a whisk and a pretty dishtowel and put them in a mixing bowl). You could also make your favorite recipe from the cookbook and include the baked goods with the book.


Penzey’s is a great stop – the catalog is great but the store is even better (in Arlington, MA).  They also have the best packaging for the spices; whole nutmeg, cinnamon sticks, and bay leaves are placed between the bottles in many of their gift boxes. You can put together your own, too.  Pretty and sweet or savory.

Don’t forget plants.  Sure, a poinsettia or a white amaryllis or some sweet paper whites. Sounds boring? Not this time of year in New England! Go get a nice orchid (Trader Joe’s has them, as does Whole Foods) or a big gorgeous flowering tropical house plant (just be sure to cover it well when you run it outside). Nearby garden centers will have a nice selection and you will get a much needed dose of green while you shop. Usually know for their more expensive arrangements,  Winston Flowers has some less expensive choices that are lovely, too. I have also had great luck at the Waban 1-800-Flowers store. Great selection and great customer service, too.

The most important thing is to thank the teachers and let them know they are appreciated. Happy Holidays and head over to Pragmatic Mom for super Tutor Gift Ideas.

The 12 Days of Shopping

I will be posting The 12 Days of Shopping jointly with Capability:Mom. Please visit her blog to see the other half of each post.

 Dec 1: Make Your Own Gifts GRANOLA, Amazing Granola from Nigella Lawson versus Amazing Granola Bars from The Barefoot Contessa

 Dec 2: Kids Make Gifts CRAFT (ModPodge versus Clove Fruit)

 Dec 3: Personalized Gifts (Fancy Address Stampers versus Pretty Papers Giveaway)

 Dec 4:  Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

 Dec 5Tutors/Teachers

 Dec 6High Tech/Low Tech

 Dec 7Hostess/Doing Good and Getting Something

 Dec 8: Sanitation EngineersMail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer, etc. (a.k.a. who else did I forget?)

 Dec 9Husband, Me (Our Own Wacko List)Capability:Mom Husband/Wife

 Dec 10:  Dog/Cat

 Dec 11: Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store

 Dec 12: ’Cause I Am So Together,  Last Minute Home Made Gifts:  Cookies Personalized Holiday Tags


12 Days of Shopping with Pragmatic Mom

Pragmatic Mom and I are sharing a series of 12 posts for the 12 Days of – not Christmas – but Shopping; one a day starting today.  We selected those tough to figure out (in-laws, tutors, etc) gifts and “wracked our brains” (we had a blast) for several  hours at our coffee shop.  We’ll be joint posting for the next twelve days.  She’ll do half of each post, and I’ll do the other.

Here are the posts we are doing for …

The 12 Days of Shopping

Friday, Dec 10:  Make Your Own Gifts GRANOLA, Amazing Granola from Nigella Lawson versus Amazing Granola Bars from The Barefoot Contessa

Sat, Dec 11:  Kids Make Gifts CRAFT (ModPodge versus Clove Fruit)

Sun, Dec 12: Personalized Gifts

Mon, Dec 13:  Father-in-Law/Dad and Mother-in-Law/Mom

Tue, Dec 14:  Tutors/Teachers

Wed, Dec 15:  High Tech/Low Tech

Thu, Dec 16:  Hostess/Doing Good and Getting Something

Fri, Dec 17:  Sanitation Engineers, Mail Carriers, Hairdresser, Delivery People, Babysitter, Cleaning People, Dog Walker/Dog Trainer

Sat, Dec 18:  Husband, Me (Our Own Wacko List)

Sun, Dec 19:  Dog/Cat

Mon, Dec 20:  Quick Gifts from Whole Foods versus Gourmet Food Store

Tue, Dec 21:  ‘Cause I Am So Together,  Last Minute Home Made Gifts

This is a pic of my present drawer – what? you don’t have one? You will after you read these posts – I used to have a present cabinet but that is another story!

capability mom has a stash of small gift items for those last minute gifts
Capability Mom's Present Drawer
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