Teachers are the unsung heroes of the classroom. They work with kids all day long, doing their best to instill some sort of knowledge in their heads. They’re surely worth more than a shiny red apple here and there, right? We’ve rounded up some of the best Christmas gifts for teachers to help you show your appreciation. Whether you’re looking for an affordable token to express your thanks or a thoughtful, practical present that they’ll use all year long, our list has unique teacher gift ideas that can help jumpstart your holiday shopping.
have been suggested to CBS Essentials by real educators from across the country, from teachers who work with elementary students to high schoolers and everything in between. There’s even a college professor who weighed in with his thoughts on what he’d like to see grace his desk. And if you need help finding something to give the other giftees on your list, we’ve also found the and the .
The best Christmas gifts for teachers
We’ve curated a special collection of teacher Christmas gifts that are perfect for showing your appreciation this holiday season.
Personalized teacher desk plate
This handcrafted desk plate is made from repurposed Scrabble tiles and features fun, colorful letters and teacher-centric details. It can be customized with any teacher’s name, along with fun feature tiles like an “A+” or a colorful apple.
It’s a fun way to break the ice with students and their parents, and Scrabble is a dream game for teachers who love seeing their kids learn new words. Combine the two, and you have a cute gift idea.
We spoke to a Kentucky-based elementary teacher who gushed over the rustic nature of the desk plate as well as the fact that it can be used as an ornament as well.
“My daughter bought me this desk plate last Christmas and I get compliments on it every time parents visit my classroom,” she says. “It looks like I made it at home and it’s absolutely adorable. I also bought an ornament version for myself to use on my tree.”
Waterman expert fountain pen
This premium fountain pen is the perfect pick for hand-grading papers and essays, or for keeping records in a grade book. It’s an elegant writing utensil that exudes luxury, complete with a 23-karat gold clip.
It’s a stylish way to go about marking up anything that students turn in, and takes a bit of the pressure off of writing with a regular ballpoint pen. Plus, it can help make some fancy brush strokes.
We spoke to an Indiana-based professor who found that it made him look forward to grading assignments.
“It feels like I’m writing a novel and the ink is so smooth,” he says. “I had to buy a second one after my wife took it over for work.”
Remarkable 2 tablet
Teachers can use this tablet to take notes, make lesson plans, or jot down ideas for their next pop quiz. It’s just 4.7 mm thick, making it the world’s thinnest tablet, and it’s fast and satisfying to write on.
All notes and writing can be transferred as a digital copy to your laptop or phone, making saving everything as easy as syncing the tablet to a mobile device for backup. It’s like writing on an electronic piece of paper, truly.
One high school teacher in Georgia told us it’s the best way to keep up with her daily to-do list.
“All my notes, plans, tasks, and everything I need to do every day is on here,” she says. “It’s all synced and I don’t have to worry about losing a piece of paper or sectioning off part of my planner.”
Scotch thermal laminator
This laminator can help take handouts, learning materials, and other supplemental educational supplies to the next level. Teachers can laminate their own documents up to 9 inches wide on their own time and help protect copies of items they use often. If you remember how busy school laminators can get when you need to use them, you know why this can be a huge boon.
Laminators can make everyday pieces of paper tear-proof, marker-proof and spill-proof. And no matter what age of students you work with, paper can get destroyed fast. Give your favorite teacher a way to protect their classroom rules, important papers and more all on their own.
We spoke to a Kentucky middle school teacher who couldn’t get enough of hers, which she bought to use while the school’s laminator was unavailable.
“My kids can destroy a piece of paper after it’s passed around the room in minutes,” she says. “This thing has been invaluable for making class sets of instructions and handouts.”
Bostitch Office Premium #2 pre-sharpened pencils, 500-pack
Teachers can never have too many pencils in their classroom. No matter how many they stockpile, they disappear in what feels like days. Kids lose more pencils than they use, or maybe they don’t prepare and bring enough for daily work. Whatever the case may be, make a teacher’s life easier by giving them a ridiculous amount of presharpened pencils.
This box may as well be worth its weight in gold. Your teacher giftee can mete them out as they please, or keep them locked up for their own use and tell students they’re limited to one per week or whatever cadence they choose. There are 500 of them here, made with #2 HD graphite and latex erasers.
According to one Kentucky high school teacher, this box has been a godsend.
“I got these pencils as a Christmas gift last year and I’m still going through them,” she says. “I got so tired of being asked for a pencil and having to dip into my stash, this has worked beautifully for my classroom.”
Phomemo D30 label maker
Help a teacher you know get organized with this label maker. It’s half the weight and size of a traditional maker, and it comes with over 1000 symbols, 60 frames and different fonts, so they can make gorgeous custom stickers.
The direct thermal printer means there’s no need for ink or toner, and the thermal color label tape it uses is affordable and easy to come across. Plus, it comes in fun candy colors.
An elementary school teacher in Ohio told us this is her “go-to” product when starting the school year.
“I can show all the kids where homework goes, where they can find extra paper, and even make seat markers,” she says. “It’s also super small and easy to use.”
Personalized book embosser
The books in a teacher’s classroom are their personal library. Help them treat every copy of every novel and textbok like it with a personalized book embosser.
This embosser can be custom made with a beautiful monogram in the center and a first and last name at the bottom, or with a variety of designs, straight from Amazon. There are tons of different ways to customize the embosser, and it’s super easy to use.
You don’t need any ink to emboss a page. You can just use the tool to stamp the design on to a page or a sheet of foil. It won’t damage the book, and the embossing will give a super classy look — as well as proof of where the book came from and who it belongs to.
An Indiana high school librarian told us this was one of her personal favorite ways to distinguish her own books from the ones the school owns.
“I don’t want my books getting mixed up with what the kids bring in somehow, so I use this embosser to put my name on all of my books,” she says. “That way I can read on my break and enjoy my own things without any mix-ups.”
Crockpot electric lunch box and portable food warmer
No matter when you were last in school, you’ve probably seen a teacher skipping lunch to snack during downtime in class. They don’t get enough time to eat as it is, and most are underpaid. So give them the gift of a home-cooked meal they can bring to work with them.
This miniature lunch box and portable food warmer is perfect for teachers who want to bring some piping hot sustenance with them to enjoy during their lunch hour. Or if they choose, they can start something cooking when they get to work for the day and enjoy it after it’s simmered for hours when they can go to break.
A Kentucky English tutor told us this lunch box has been a game-changer and he uses it every single day.
“I work with students after school, so I have odd hours,” he says. “I can bring my dinner with me to class, let it sit in the break room, and by the time I’m ready to eat I have hot soup, leftovers, or whatever I want to eat waiting for me.”
Time Resistance leather briefcase
There’s nothing sleeker than a great-looking leather briefcase to take to work. Whether you’re a lawyer or a retail employee, it can add a level of sophistication that others will envy. The same holds true for teachers, who often have to carry a ton of things to work.
This briefcase is a gorgeous, handmade leather bag made from full-grain cowhide. Its interior is also lined with leather and 100% cotton. It features a twist-lock closure to ensure the security of everything inside. It’s the perfect option for teachers to carry their papers for grading, store their lunch and supplies and keep their belongings organized.
An Indiana professor told us that this bag has been his go-to briefcase for two years.
“I use it for work, as a laptop bag, and my wife takes it over sometimes when she goes out with the kids,” he says. “It’s held up very well.”
FluidStance The Plane standing desk balance board
Teachers spend a lot of time sitting at their desks. Of course, they have to get up and address the class, but there are many times that they find themselves sitting for hours.
That’s why this standing desk balance board is such a great idea for teachers who need to get a little more movement in, either when they’re taking a break, grading papers, or even addressing the class.
It’s a great idea to stand on and strengthen your muscles while trying to balance. And it’s pretty easy to use without attracting too much attention. It’s sturdy enough to last long enough to get teachers through multiple class years as well.
One Kentucky preschool teacher told us she uses hers before taking care of her kids before and after she gets to work.
“I have to be limber enough to chase after them if I need to,” she says. “And I need to be in shape so I can move along and stay animated. This is an awesome balance board that I’ve used for a super long time.”
How to pick the perfect holiday gift for teachers
Give your teachers the recognition they deserve this holiday season with a gift that says, “I see all that you do.” If you’re wondering how to best show your appreciation this year and need more gift ideas beyond our selections, don’t worry, we’ve got your back. We can assist you in finding a gift as unique, quirky, or heartfelt as the teacher you’re honoring.
But let’s get real for a moment: teachers have enough mugs, and while those apple-themed ornaments are cute, let’s try to think outside the (pencil) box. Here are some things to consider:
- Are they the type who needs a good laugh? Quirky, offbeat gifts are a good place to start.
- If they often share personal stories or memories, something sentimental might be a good idea.
- For the uber-organized teachers with a planner and a plan for everything, functional gifts could be the best idea to go with.
- Maybe they’ve shared tales of weekend hobbies? A related trinket could score you an A+ in gift-giving.
- Think of items they wouldn’t necessarily buy for themselves but would absolutely adore.
- After handling a classroom full of loud kids, self-care gifts could give them a reason to pamper themselves.
Ultimately, no matter what you choose, giving a gift to your favorite teacher is all about showing them they’re more than just their profession. It’s acknowledging the person behind those lesson plans and grading papers. No matter what you choose, they’ll undoubtedly appreciate the effort you put in.