Homemade gifts are a wonderful way to show your child’s teacher how much their support and care has meant to the whole family. But, as we all know, the end of term can be a frantic time, and trying to come up with a thoughtful quality gift whose creation won’t cause a complete meltdown from child (or indeed parent!) can be a challenge.
Speaking with teachers around the country, we’ve gathered ten suggestions for beautiful handcrafted gifts that we know will be appreciated. All of them can be prepared well in advance and, between them, they cater for all ages of children and craft skill levels. They can happily be gifted on their own, or combined with each other or some purchased items to give the teacher in your child’s life a wonderful treat.
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So, what’s the key to a perfect teacher gift?
We asked a whole host of teachers what they appreciated most in the gifts they received, and these were the three most commonly shared responses:
- Something personal that captures the relationship between the teacher and the pupil. Maybe a favourite colour could be included, or reference to a favourite animal or commonly used phrase in the classroom. There’s nothing surer to warm the heart than to know you have imprinted a little of yourself as you’ve been teaching and supporting the child.
- Something practical that can be enjoyed without adding clutter. Teachers are of course fortunate to receive a multitude of gifts so something that can be put to use is much appreciated. Consumable goods such as festive treats, candles or toiletries are great for this reason too.
- Some thoughtful words. Time and time again we heard that the most important part of any gift received was the card that went alongside. We all know how much we appreciate a handwritten message. And, when you’re the one that has helped the child to learn how to write – both the mechanics of handwriting and how to construct their thoughts – this can mean even more.
And when preparing gifts, don’t forget to consider who else has supported your child this year. From teaching assistants to catering staff, and cleaners to receptionists, the school community is a finely tuned machine with so many keyworkers coming together to support our children every day. It’s lovely to remember those in the background as well, even if just in a very small way.
So check out our ideas below for ten fabulously thoughtful homemade teacher gifts that are sure to bring with them plenty of Christmas cheer.
1. Christmas Decoration
A thoughtful addition to any Christmas tree, this is the ideal seasonal gift. It can be enjoyed immediately, and your teacher may also choose to add it to their permanent ornament collection! Sonia, an early years teacher from Herfordshire, loved getting anything she could hang on her tree. ‘My favourite homemade present was a wire and bead decoration.’
There are so many ornaments that can be easily handcrafted by children that you are sure to find one suitable for your child’s age and craft abilities. (Just do be sure to check that the teacher does celebrate this time of year before you get too carried away!)
Here are a few of our favourites:
This wool-wrapped Christmas tree from Easy Peasy and Fun is perfect for little fingers and looks really effective. Fun Loving Families’ driving-home-for-Christmas-inspired lollypop creation includes a touch of cinnamon for festive fragrance as well as visual appeal, and Adventure Kerrs’ sparkly silver snowflake would make a really striking addition to any tree whilst still being a simple make.
2. Decorated Notebook
Surely there’s no such thing as too many notebooks, especially for busy teachers with so much to remember! Primary school teacher Gwynneth from Chelmsford, Essex still remembers the personalised notebook she was gifted, ‘It stays in my mind as it was homemade and the pupil said I was always writing notes down.’
Buy a plain notebook and let your child go to town personalising it, adding references to their teacher’s favourite things, colours or subject taught. They can simply colour the cover in, or decorate with washi tape or stickers. Add a lovely pen to finish off the gift and there you have it!
We love the simplicity of the polar bear notebook above (or use a brown cover to create a teddy bear). The Thing She Makes adds some striking letter stickers to give their notebook trio an uplifting finish, whilst Lia Griffith has added beautiful washi tapes in a diagonal pattern to make her cheerful covers.
3. Book Cushion
If you’re feeling a little more adventurous and are handy with a sewing machine, Barbara from Ashton in Greater Manchester suggests making a book cushion. This lovely gift will encourage your teacher to take a little time out for themselves. It can easily be embellished with a book or book voucher to make for an extra special gift. Stuart Hillard‘s video tutorial talks through exactly what to do.
4. Homemade footscrub
For someone who is on their feet all day long, what better gift than a luxurious homemade, all-natural footscrub? With essential oils of lavender, mint and black pepper, they are surprisingly simple to make and last for up to two years. Kirstie Allsopp joined forces with Abi Oyepitan and Liha Okinniwa in Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas to make both a footbalm and a footscrub, and shares the recipe here.
5. Candle & Matches Giftset
We absolutely love Jenny at From Hive to Home in Bedford’s idea: ‘We made a candle, and put it with a box of matches which had a photo of my child and the quote, “thank you for lighting my interest in English this year!”’ This quirky gift ticks all our boxes for the perfect teacher present. Whether you make a natural beeswax candle like Jenny and her family, or opt to buy a beautiful festive votive and holder, this will surely warm your teacher’s heart and raise a smile.
6. Festive Food Treats
Of course there’s nothing quite like tantalising the tastebuds at Christmas time. But rather than adding yet another box of chocolates or biscuits to the staffroom, what about creating something a little more unusual?
With relatively minimal effort you can gift a beautifully indulgent festive treat for your teacher to enjoy well into the new year. From chutneys and flavoured olive oils to decadent hot chocolates, there are so many options to chose from. Check out our recipes and ideas for some seriously delicious edible gifts.
Do remember to ensure you include ingredients details, shelf-life and storage guidelines when gifting edible products!
7. Homemade Bookmarks
Teachers and reading go together like Christmas and fairy lights, so you can’t go wrong with a homemade bookmark! A perfect creation for all ages and abilities, and ideal for those of us who are time-limited, but still want to make an effort to create something personal.
From painted lollipop sticks like the ones above from My Little Corner to elasticated ribbon and woven fabric bookmarks, the possibilities are almost endless! And of course you could always add a book or even a book cushion if you’d like to give a bigger gift.
For a simple colour-in bookmark, why not use our free printable templates?
8. Decorated tote bags
So useful for carrying around books, laptops and other teaching equipment, a personalised tote bag will never go astray. Plain tote bags are very easy to find online, for example, these ones at Amazon. Then get to work decorating and bringing the bag to life.
Kollabora used sponges and acrylic paints to create this fabulous cheery TOTE-ally Stamped Tote Bag. Or print your own iron-on design, like this gorgeous quote from Balancing Home, on printable transfer paper and put it directly onto the bag.
9. Painted Stone Paperweights
Turn your children’s art activities into the perfect Christmas gift by refashioning them as paperweights. With draughty classrooms and piles of sorted papers aplenty, a paperweight is a lovely colourful addition to any teacher’s desk.
If you’re new to the world of painting stones, Empress of Dirt has a great beginner’s guide. Otherwise let your children enjoy expressing themselves and see what they create. Just be sure to seal the finished product with a few layers of varnish to make it smooth, shiny and able to be used for years to come without fading.
10. Rainbow Magnets
Especially for this year, Lin from Berkshire suggests a magnet in the shape of a rainbow in recognition of the amazing work of our keyworker teachers.
Of course, polymer clay can be transformed into a whole host of lovely designs but these rainbows are simple and striking, and bound to bring a smile to any teacher’s face.
Do leave us a comment to let us know if you use any of the ideas above. What other handcrafted items have you gifted to teachers?