It's time for end of year teacher gifts!
This sentence strikes some kind of weird panic in my heart each May as I begin trying to frantically come up with an idea to give the individual who has poured their heart and soul into the education of my child for a solid year. How can one little gift say all that I want to say to these special people? A couple of my friends are teachers and they remind me that it's the encouragement and thanks that they get throughout the year that matters. And that the occasional card to their favorite coffee shop can't hurt of course. (wink)
There are so many adorable and unique gift ideas out there and I love them all. You can always go with a simple bouquet of flowers tied with brown paper and twine and you can gather them from your yard or from the farmer's market or grocery store. With some creative wrapping touches, you can turn an ordinary bouquet into something they will treasure. My teacher friends tell me that mugs are not their favorites because they already have cupboards filled with them. (There may or may not be an eye roll or two after they say that part.)
My kiddos have helped me come up with gifts for their teachers each May, and I always love how they have gotten to know certain things about them that year that help us come up with our gift idea. For example, last year both teachers really enjoyed gardening so we filled up glossy yellow planters with an assortment of herbs and the kids put the whole thing together themselves.
A few years ago, I wanted to go crazy spoiling my kids' teachers. We had just transitioned from homeschooling into public and I had connected deeply with both of them as they coached our family along. I decided to get them a Saturday morning breakfast bucket and we delivered them on a Friday at the end of the day. I thrifted a couple of galvanized buckets and filled them with daisies from our yard wrapped in brown paper, a container of granola, some starbucks mochachinos, some bagels and cream cheese, and some organic milk in glass bottles. My kids wrote them a letter and we tucked that inside as well.
I may have gone a little overboard on them, hand cutting a clay letter out and baking it then painting it to coordinate... but the basic idea of a gift in a bucket, can be adapted a million different ways.
We had considered a spaghetti basket with fresh tomatoes, basil, sauce, gourmet noodles, some yummy cookies and such. For the chocolate lover, an assortment of (what my kids call fancy and I call exotic) chocolate bars from the organic aisle are always fun. For the teacher that loves to cook, a pretty apron and dishtowel are sweet and we've had good luck finding those items from stores like TJ Maxx and Marshall's. (Or if you sew you can always make one from a cute tea towel.) Which leads me to sewing and tea. Both of those themes make for terrific ideas. For father's day one year we gave my man a bucket filled with cokes in bottles (the only way to drink cokes) along with BBQ tools, chips and a coordinating dishtowel. How fun would an idea like that be for a teacher, filled with summer BBQ essentials.
One final great idea we've given to dozens of people, teachers included, is a jar of homemade salted caramel sauce. It's a perfect gift when you don't know what else to give, and to be perfectly honest, it's the perfect gift regardless, because it's just that good. (I always double the recipe and keep one in the fridge for ice cream or cobbler.) (Speaking of which, you could gather some canned peaches, a cobbler mix and a jar of this sauce and you'd be golden.)
I guess the moral of this story, is... don't freak out about teacher end of year gift ideas like I do. Get those kiddos involved and find out how well they have gotten to know their teacher's this year and come up with an idea together. (Or just get a bar of chocolate and a coffee gift card because girlfriend, you can't lose with that idea.)
Salted Caramel sauce:
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp sea salt (I used pink sea salt)
*Melt butter in saucepan. Add sugars and bring to boiling, stirring constantly. Stir in whipping cream and bring back to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in salt. Cool completely. If you want a thicker consistency, rather than a glaze, pop it into the fridge and it will thicken slightly. Then you can dig your spoon into it. Which may or may not be a good thing.