13 Holiday Gifts Every Teacher Has Received

Oh. Another mug.

Holiday Gifts Every Teacher Has Received: The Definitive List

The holidays are a wonderful time when many of us are fortunate to be recognized with tokens of appreciation from the administration, the PTA, students, and their families. These presents are heartfelt, generous, and—dare I say it?—predictable. However long you’ve been a teacher, I’m guessing that you’ve gotten at least one if not all of these. I give you: holiday gifts every teacher has received.

1. The Mug

I don’t know about you, but I could probably break a mug a week and still be in good shape. I have so many that I trade out my regular mugs for holiday mugs in December. Admit it—you’re sipping reheated coffee out of your “Teach Love Inspire” mug at this very moment.

2. The Bath Set

Bath sets are the bread and body butter (see what I did there?) of teacher gift-giving. If you have multiple unopened boxes labeled “Warm Vanilla Sugar” or “Winter Candy Apple,” I see you.

3. The Ornament

How many beaded candy canes do you have on your tree? More than one, am I right? I also predict a “World’s Best Teacher” and something with a student’s school picture on it. 

4. The Treat

I once got a five-pound box of chocolates from a student. Five. Pounds. Candy, baked goods, and hot cocoa (in a mason jar with marshmallows, obv) are also a popular choice.


Holiday Gifts Every Teacher Has Received: The Definitive List

5. The Inspirational Decor

Blown glass apple. Wooden “Teaching is a work of heart” sign. Willow Tree teacher figurine. You feel me?

6. The Personalized Gift

You definitely have something with your name on it. Notepad or nameplate, tote bag, or tumbler. 

7. The “Punny” Pinterest Present

I know you know exactly what I mean. I’m talking about the oven mitt with a baking mix and a spatula tucked inside and a tag that says “Thanks for making me one smart cookie,” the bottle of wine with a kid’s picture on it labeled “Merry Christmas from one of the reasons you drink,” or nail polish “for your mistle-toes.” Am I right or am I right?

8. The Cozy Socks

You’ve definitely been gifted a pair of these. Bonus points if they feature Santa, Rudolph, or Frosty.

9. The Handmade Card or Gift

I used to be a stamper, so I’m a sucker for a good card. Give me all the heat embossing and glitter. And most classrooms have at least one parent who is a crafter (room mom, anyone?). It’s probably the same person who made you a school supply “cake.” I know you’ve gotten kid-made gifts, too. I still have a tape dispenser cozy from an aspiring 9-year-old knitter.

10. The Candle

Teachers love candles? Mmm… OK. I mean, I do love me a good candle, but I probably didn’t need them in quite this volume. I’m looking at you, snowflake-themed candlescape.

Holiday Gifts Every Teacher Has Received: The Definitive List

11. The Gift Card

Ah, the most coveted of holiday gifts. Is it just me or does getting gift cards from Starbucks or Target feel like winning the lottery? Of course, there are always the gift cards that you never use. Oh, hello, $25 to Fandango that’s been in my wallet since 2015.

12. The Heartfelt Note

You know the one. It lives in your warm fuzzy file and you take it out and read it when you feel discouraged. You probably get a lot of cards at this time of year, but they’re extra special when a parent or student takes the time to tell you how you’ve made a positive difference.

Holiday Gifts Every Teacher Has Received: The Definitive List

13. Something Unexpected

And finally, can you really call yourself a teacher if you haven’t received something totally random from a child? A dead animal, a bra stolen from their mom, expired food … I am willing to bet you have a similar story.

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Illustrations by Allie Ogg

13 Holiday Gifts Every Teacher Has Received