Teachers' Choice: Best End of Year Gifts That Make an Impact

Heartfelt Gifts Teachers Appreciate at School Year’s End


As the end of the school year approaches, many are searching for best end of year teacher gifts that truly show appreciation. Whether you're a parent, fellow teacher, or room parent, the goal is to find a gift that says "thank you" in a meaningful way. Here's a quick list of the best and most impactful gifts according to expert research and teacher feedback:

  1. Personalized Thank-You Notes
  2. Gift Cards to Stores Like Amazon or Target
  3. Practical Items (e.g., Quality Stationery, Classroom Supplies)
  4. Homemade Treats or Snacks
  5. Custom Keepsakes

These suggestions are rooted in the feedback of 120 teachers we surveyed. A Texas math teacher summed it up perfectly: “The heartfelt words written by students convey deep appreciation and warmth, which makes me feel truly valued and encouraged.”

I’m Roxie Lubanovic. With a background in creating thoughtful gifts through my business, Frostbeard Studio, I have experience in understanding what makes a gift special for teachers. Let's dive into why these gifts make such a big impact.

What NOT to Gift Teachers

When it comes to end-of-year gifts, some items are better left on the shelf. Based on feedback from teachers, here are the top gifts to avoid:


“Mugs. I’ve accumulated so many freaking mugs in teaching years. We just had a batch go to a thrift store, and we still have more in our cabinets!” - Alexa Marie

Teachers often receive an abundance of mugs with phrases like "Best Teacher." While the sentiment is appreciated, most teachers already have more than they can use.

Food Items

“Usually no food unless you know them and it's something that they like.” - Christine Volbrecht Wise

Food can be tricky due to dietary restrictions, allergies, and personal preferences. Unless you know the teacher's tastes well, it's better to skip the homemade cookies and opt for a safer choice.


“Please no alcohol. Not all teachers drink!” - Beth Marie

Gifting alcohol can be risky. Not all teachers drink, and it can be awkward if they don't appreciate the gesture. It's best to avoid this category altogether.

Local Gift Certificates

“No gift certificates to local places unless you know that the teacher lives in the town.” - Siobhan Wiatr

Gift certificates to local businesses can be inconvenient if the teacher doesn't live nearby. Instead, consider more versatile options like general-use gift cards.

Teacher-Themed Decor

“Nothing that says ‘Teachers touch hearts and change the world’ etc. I have so many tea towels with that sentiment, and it's very sweet but also not how I want to decorate my home.” - Marie Lister

While teacher-themed decor like tea towels and plaques are well-intentioned, most teachers already have plenty of these items. They appreciate the thought, but there's a limit to how much "World's Best Teacher" decor one can use.

By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can ensure your gift is both appreciated and useful. Next, let's explore some of the best end-of-year teacher gifts that truly make an impact.

Best End of Year Teacher Gifts According to Educators

Personalized Letters and Pictures

Heartfelt notes and memory sharing top the list of the best end of year teacher gifts. Many teachers cherish handwritten thank-you notes from students more than anything else. A Texas math teacher shared, "The heartfelt words written by students convey deep appreciation and warmth, which makes me feel truly valued and encouraged." You can even add a personal touch by including a drawing or a shared memory from the school year.

Gift Cards

When we asked over 350 teachers about their favorite gifts, gift cards came out on top. They offer flexibility and allow teachers to choose what they need or want most. Here are the top choices:

  • Starbucks: Many teachers appreciate a caffeine boost, making a Starbucks gift card a popular choice.
  • Amazon: These are incredibly versatile and can be used for anything from classroom supplies to personal items.
  • Visa: This general-use gift card is another great option, allowing teachers to spend it wherever they like.

Practical and Thoughtful Items

Practical gifts that make a teacher's day easier are always appreciated. Here are some ideas:

  • School Supplies: Items like colorful markers, sticky notes, and high-quality paper can be very useful.
  • Lunch Delivery: Teachers like Christina H. love "food or drinks to enjoy during the school day." You can use services like Grubhub or DoorDash to deliver lunch or a delicious treat.
  • Quality Stationery: Beautiful gift wrapping paper, bows, and ribbons are not only thoughtful but also highly useful, as noted by Kerry Leigh de Jager.

Personal and Unique Gifts

Unique, personalized gifts can make a lasting impression. Here are some creative ideas:

  • Photography Sessions: A professional photo session can be a memorable and cherished gift.
  • Recipe Books: Jen Winningham mentioned gathering students' favorite recipes into a book as a special gift for a teacher who loved cooking.
  • Customized Stationery Sets: Personalize a stationery set with the teacher's name or favorite colors for a thoughtful touch.

Gifts That Keep Giving

Some gifts continue to make an impact long after they are given. Consider these options:

  • Charitable Donations: Sarah Somerville shared how she made a food bank donation on behalf of a teacher, a gesture that can resonate deeply.
  • Food Bank Contributions: Contributing to a local food bank in the teacher's name is another meaningful way to show appreciation.

By choosing any of these thoughtful, practical, and unique gifts, you can ensure that your gesture of appreciation will be both memorable and impactful.

How to Choose the Perfect Gift

Understanding Preferences

Choosing the best end of year teacher gifts starts with knowing what your teacher likes. One second-grade teacher from Virginia advises, “Be intentional with the gift and get things that they like and will actually use.” It’s a good idea to ask teachers directly or check with your school office. Many schools have teachers fill out questionnaires at the beginning of the year, which can provide valuable insights into their preferences.

Avoiding Duplicates

When selecting a gift, consider whether the teacher might already have multiples of the same item. Molly Anderson, a teacher, mentioned, “I always buy with this question in mind: Would this teacher need 25-30 of the exact same gift?” Practical items like gift cards, coffee, or wine are usually safe bets because they are consumable and won’t add to clutter.

Personal Touch

Adding a personal touch can make any gift more special. A handwritten note or a personalized item can make a big difference. Steve Maciejewski, a teacher, shared, “Forget the ‘gifts.’ None of that matters. Get some good quality stationery and write them a heartfelt thank-you note.” Personalized gifts that reflect the teacher’s hobbies or interests can also be very meaningful. For example, if your teacher loves gardening, a small potted plant or gardening tools would be thoughtful.

By understanding preferences, avoiding duplicates, and adding a personal touch, you can choose a gift that will truly make an impact.

Frequently Asked Questions about End of Year Teacher Gifts

How much should I spend on a teacher's gift?

When it comes to the best end of year teacher gifts, you don't need to break the bank. A spending range of $25 to $50 is generally considered appropriate. This range allows for thoughtful and meaningful gifts without putting too much strain on your wallet.

Caroline Depot, a third-grade teacher, emphasizes that parents shouldn't feel obligated to spend more than $25. The most important thing is the thought and effort you put into selecting something special.

Gift card suggestions within this price range include: - Starbucks: Perfect for a coffee lover. - Amazon: Allows teachers to choose what they need. - Restaurant vouchers: A nice treat for a meal out.

Do teachers expect gifts at the end of the year?

Most teachers don't expect gifts, but they do appreciate gestures of appreciation. Teachers often say that seeing kids learn and grow is the biggest reward of their job. However, a small token of appreciation can mean a lot.

Courtney Mundt Atkins shared, “The best gift is a kind and flattering email to the principal. CC the teacher. We just want to feel appreciated and like we’re doing a good job/making a difference.” This shows that even non-material gestures can be very impactful.

What are the most memorable gifts for teachers?

Personal stories and impactful gifts often stand out the most. For instance, handwritten thank-you notes are highly cherished. A Texas math teacher shared, “One of the teacher gifts that made me feel most appreciated is handwritten thank-you notes or cards from students. The heartfelt words written by students convey deep appreciation and warmth.”

Other memorable gifts include: - Personalized letters and pictures: Heartfelt notes and shared memories. - Recipe books: Jen Winningham collected favorite recipes from students' families for a unique and thoughtful gift. - Charitable donations: Sarah Somerville did a food bank donation on behalf of her child's teacher.

These kinds of gifts not only show appreciation but also create lasting memories for teachers.

By focusing on meaningful and thoughtful gifts, you can make a significant impact on your teacher's end-of-year experience.


Thoughtful gifting can make a big impact on a teacher's end-of-year experience. When we choose gifts that are meaningful and personal, we show our teachers that we value their hard work and dedication.

One of the most memorable gifts is a handwritten note or letter. Many teachers, like the Texas math teacher we spoke to, say these heartfelt messages are among their favorite gifts. They provide a lasting reminder of the positive impact they've had on their students.

Gift cards are another popular choice among teachers. They offer flexibility and can be tailored to individual preferences. Whether it's for a favorite coffee shop, bookstore, or general use, gift cards show that you care about their likes and needs.

Practical items like quality stationery, school supplies, or even lunch deliveries can also be greatly appreciated. Teachers often spend their own money on classroom supplies, so these gifts help lighten their load.

For something truly unique and personal, consider gifts like custom photo books or recipe collections. These thoughtful gestures can create lasting memories and show a deep level of appreciation.

At Frostbeard Studio, we believe in enhancing experiences and creating memorable moments. Our literary-inspired candles are designed to do just that. Imagine your favorite teacher diving into a book, surrounded by the scent of an old library or a fresh meadow. These fragrances create an atmosphere that enhances the reading experience, making them perfect for book-loving teachers.

In the end, the best end-of-year teacher gifts are those that come from the heart. By choosing thoughtful and meaningful gifts, we can make our teachers feel truly appreciated and celebrated. Let's make this end-of-year celebration special, one thoughtful gift at a time.