Teacher gifts

Gifts for Grads, Dads, Teachers, Newlyweds, Birthdays and Babies

sharon schindler photography, boats, capability mom blog
Photo by Sharon Schindler

…that should cover it! I find this time of year even more challenging than the holidays in December and am always looking for creative, beautiful gifts for Teachers, Grads, Father’s Day, Baby Showers, Weddings…Whew. I am probably forgetting something, too. Really, I am frequently forgetting things…peri-menopause or something worse? You make the call.

Since our school system has a strict no gift policy that no one adheres to…oops, I mean, everyone does…really, they do. It is not as if we want to give Birkin bags or cars in exchange for a kickin’ recommendation letter, for goodness sake, we are talking about a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble, maybe, and our kids are too young for college rec letters anyway. Don’t get me started on how hard working and underpaid teachers are (disclosure, my sister and dad are teachers). So you want to thank your child’s teacher – what is a rule-following person supposed to do?

Wilder Glassworks Capability:Mom
Wilder Glassworks

Well, we have Honor Your Teacher – a program run by the Newton Schools Foundation* that lets you make a donation in honor of a teacher – a very nice thing to do, and, as an added bonus, you are following the rules.  You can also give a class gift – which for some reason is okay or at any rate, accepted practice.  Pragmatic Mom and I brainstormed and came up with some good ideas on Teacher Gifts back in December. Other great teacher gifts are: sweet stationary – love Pixie Chicago for that – homemade treats are always nice, as are large flowering plants, books or gift certificates to your local bookstore. Don’t discount the lovely note from your child thanking their teacher for a wonderful year. Handmade cards are always the best but if you are feeling flush, go to Paper Source (good easy to pick up gifts for Grad and Dads, Teachers, too).  I also found great cards (and sweet journals – just add a pretty pen or nice colored pencils) at Target in the dollar spot (my favorite part of the store).

If you have a little more time on your hands (and you still do, relax) you might want to get something a little more special. I like to find local artists and luckily there is no shortage here (Newton Open Studios, was, as usual, wonderful). Don’t fret if you missed it. There is always next year! Here are some local artists I found…

Wilder Glass works, Newton Ma Capability Mom Blog
Wilder Glassworks

For a class gift, Wilder Glassworks is a great place to start. Beautiful fused glass plates – Pragmatic Mom gives these as her staple wedding gift – maybe I should renew my wedding vows to see if I get one (grin).  The artist, Suzi Wilder, was inspired after a visit to Venice years ago (she came home with a suitcase full of glass – read about it on her website here).  Wilder Glassworks also features gorgeous custom plates for baby gifts (several teachers had babies this year and the personalized baby plate would be perfect). In the event you are approaching a milestone birthday, like maybe 40, get a large piece from Wilder Glass. You can get a group of friends to pitch in on it together, then take the new forty-something out for a glass of wine (see if she gets carded). If Dad isn’t so very tidy and you are trying to help, get him a fused glass plate (perfect for watch or spare change and ipod).

zakim bridge sharon schindler capability mom blog
Photo by Sharon Schindler

If you need more Father’s Day gift ideas, check out Sharon Schindler Photography for gorgeous art photography. Sharon photographs the outdoors, architecture….love her Boston scenes (including some unique shots of Fenway Park) – a really wonderful gift.  Is Dad an architecture nut? Does he love boats? bridges? Her photo of the Zakim is stunning. These prints are stretched on canvas frames and available in several different sizes (great for both home and office).

sharon schindler photography newton north high school book capability mom blog
Newton North High School Photo Book

Need a Graduation Gift? Perfect for Newton North Grads (or for an alum coming up on a big reunion) is this coffee table book of the old Newton North High School. Sharon Schindler took all of these photos (almost 500 of them) and it beautifully showcases and documents the school (okay, I wrote a paragraph or two in it as well). For grads – I am about the book, or journal, or fun dorm stuff. I like Black Ink (Boston and Cambridge and  Good (Boston) – both online, too.

sharon schindler photography newton north high school book
Newton North High School Photo Book


*The Newton Schools Foundation is a non-profit fundraising organization dedicated to supporting innovation and creativity in the Newton Public Schools. Our goal is to impact each child’s education by working as a community to provide Newton Public School educators with the skills, tools and technology for 21st century teaching and learning. (from the website)


Day 3 – Pretty and Personalized Papers

goldfish stationery from Paper Source - capability mom
Paper Source Kid's Stationery


Luckily I live fairly close to two Paper Source Stores which are only mildly addicting…grin. I can spend a lot of time in one of their stores. Often my ideas for crafting exceed my skill level (low) but I am trying to keep a handle on that and just buy the pre-made things. All of the papers (stationery, wrapping and note cards) are gorgeous, vibrant and whimsical. I usually use plain card for holiday cards with a photo glued on – I have seen (from uber-crafty friends) gorgeous homemade cards – using ribbon, stamps and more.  Also, it is one of my default places to shop for little stocking stuffers (I also like Urban Outfitters) and a sweet local store in Newton, Just Next Door where I always come up with something special – it is one of those stores that truly does have something for everyone on your gift list. If you are not lucky enough to have a local treasure like this, to the internet!

There are even more fun designs here (Pragmatic Mom told me about this great site) at Pixie Chicago. These terrific paper designs are from the family-kids section:

capability mom finds great paper gifts here at pixiechicago.com

capability mom finds paper = pretty and personaiized at pixie chicago

and my favorite flower – hydrangea – on these cards:

hydrangea paper from pixiechicago.com capability mom

You can also see their collection on Etsy.com – have you shopped Etsy? Talk about a treasure trove of handmade gifts! This personalized stationery fits the bill for teachers, friends, baby gifts (one of my favorite gifts when my daughter was born was a set of personalized stationery – her own thank you notes!). Check out Pragmatic Mom for her great ideas for personalized gifts.

Happy shopping and stay tuned for more shopping tips!

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

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