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The 33 best gifts for teachers in 2023

Get your favorite teachers gifts they’ll love this Christmas.

lighted sign, coffee, tote, bookends, hand lotion
Educate yourself on the best can't-miss holiday gift choices for your favorite teachers.

Educators are essential to shaping the minds of both children and adults. Whether you’re a student, a parent, or have a teacher in your life whom you care about, thinking up thoughtful gifts for teachers that they can use for their job is a great way to show them your appreciation.

We’ve put together some holiday gift ideas for your teachers to show them how important they are. We spoke with dozens of educators and asked them what they wanted for the holidays or teacher appreciation gifts. Without exception, they said they’re grateful for any gift — because again, wonderful humans — but when we nudged a bit, they shared what's on their wish list as well as some of their all-time favorite gifts. (Spoiler alert: Almost all of these teachers named an Amazon gift card first.) As a former teacher myself, I've also added a few picks of my own.

Here’s what else we learned on how to choose a great gift. Take good notes! Here are the best gifts for teachers.

Know someone obsessed with office supplies? These assorted sticky notes and tabbed folders will be perfect additions to your teacher’s desk.

$8 at Amazon

As much as teachers love their students, they always enjoy a good laugh when they do something funny. For your teacher who loves reading, this hilarious book will give them something to smile about throughout the school year.

$9 at Uncommon Goods

Even teachers like new school supplies. You choose the colors, design, and (of course) name in this set of notecards. This price reflects a set of 10.

Middle-school math teacher Sara says, “We’re always writing notes. I know that my teacher friends and I love to receive paper goods and personalized stationery.” The modern floral print peeking up from the bottom is subtle and sophisticated, and elevates any message. Customize the font color or go with classic black.

$23 at Amazon

This is one of Oprah's fave gifts to give! Why? The white truffle oil, ripe chili peppers, organic agave and coriander combine beautifully to add a sweet, savory and spicy punch. Try it on tacos fried foods, and more.

“I think it’s important to have hobbies outside of work, so I can turn off and turn back on at a hundred percent,” says Coca, who’s a Montessori teacher. “My favorite thing to do is cook, so I like gourmet gifts.” Even if you don’t know anything about your teacher-recipient's culinary bent, a gourmet hot sauce is a can't-miss choice — it works on takeout just as well as homemade! This one is infused with truffle and coriander. And the packaging is so elegant, there’s no need for gift wrap.

$32 at Amazon
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$35 at Bloomingdale's$35 at Horchow

Written by a teacher who was left breathless and forever changed by his time amid the redwoods, this Pulitzer Prize–winning novel may be just the inspirational tome they need.

Julie, a video art professor, is always happy to have a great read. An inspiring novel like Richard Powers' The Overstory, she says, offers "romance, drama and trees — a perfect combo." Katie added that something like Junichiro Tanizaki's essay on aesthetics, In Praise of Shadows, would be great for visual thinkers.

Or you could help them kick back and listen to all the books they like with an Audible gift membership.

$16 at Amazon

Any teacher will enjoy relaxing with these gorgeous candles, and afterward, they can use the vessels and included seeds to grow rosemary, thyme and lavender. Treat one special teacher to all three, or divide and conquer!

"I adore really cool plants and pots!" said Shannon, a preschool teacher at a Reggio-inspired school. Woman-owned company The Sill was founded on the premise that "plants make people happy." We think anything from their impressive array of beautiful greenery and stylish planters would be wonderful, but this candle cum plant trio grabbed us as extra giftable.

$40 at The Sill

The boxed lunch gets an upgrade with this topselling reusable lunch bag, available in 16 colors and patterns and two sizes. It's freezable too!

Meredith, a preschool teacher, told us: "A cool lunch bag would be an excellent gift!! Something large enough for your Tupperware" Easy to clean, insulated, leak-proof and water-proof, this sophisticated carrier looks great, keeps food fresh, and is large enough for lunch and then some A long strap makes it easy to carry crossbody on those multitasking mornings.

$18 at Amazon

When they pop this on their window, the sun will make the crystal spin, projecting a sweet dance of colors onto the room.

As I was a preschool teacher, I treasured our classroom Kikkerland rainbow maker. The daily rainbows inspired wonder and conversation in the children each day and brightened my mood immensely.

$38 at Amazon

"No Homework!" ... "Test Day!" ... "1 Day Until Break!" ... A light-up message board can really set the mood.

My 10-year-old is not yet a teacher (she plans to be), but she swore up and down that this is the gift her teacher absolutely, positively needs this year. We bought one and can't wait to gift her.

$25 at Amazon

Teachers are world-class schleppers; how about a high-quality new carryall to replace the worn-out one they currently cart around? This water-resistant, faux suede tote is dependable and chic (I've tried it), and a fave of Oprah's, who's a teacher to us all. (Note: There's a special discount code for Yahoo readers: YAHOO2023.)

“Since I’m constantly lugging things back and forth, I always need a new tote,” says Chris, a high school science teacher. They'll love this roomy beauty. It's even got RFID-protected card pockets!

$60 at Amazon

If you're lucky enough to have an offbeat teacher, surprise them with this pair of pencil hoops from the Queen of Quirk Betsey Johnson. Art, math and writing teachers alike will get a kick out of these.

Preschool teacher Meredith told us, "I think teacher-themed gifts would be cool — if your teacher wears jewelry, there are cool things out there..."

$30 at Betsey Johnson

Self-care is essential for every teacher. Encourage them to massage stress away with this kit. It includes a jade roller, an eye massager, a jade gua sha and a ridged roller massager. 

Katie, an art professor, half-joked that she's hoping for "a gua sha tool — because they see how droopy my face is at the end of the semester. And I teach sculpture, so it's very apt." But seriously, a gift like this will encourage your teacher to take some much-needed "me time" and roll the tension away. (This is a good one.)

$16 at Amazon

Silk jacquard and subtle geometry add up to one fab-looking tie. Available in hey-wake-up-class! hues of pink and purple.

Alex, a high-school English teacher, told us, "This sounds totally lame, but ties are a good gift for me because I would never want to have to spend my own money on them." A solid color is a solid choice, he says.

$50 at Nordstrom

All things chocolate... Dipped orange slices, graham crackers and pretzels. Truffles! Even a solid chocolate pear! Truly a tower of delights.

Tracy, a middle-school art teacher, is wowed by "good, quality dark chocolate, fancy covered pretzels or dried fruits — small delicacies I wouldn’t buy for myself on a daily basis." Explore more Williams Sonoma chocolate and candy offerings here.

$60 at Williams Sonoma

Make a delicious and memorable sweet treat for everyone at school with this cookie-cutter set. Design adorable pencil, apple and notebook paper cookies and add your own special message on top.

Speaking of edibles... Sarah loved receiving "a personalized sugar cookie" from one of her middle school students. "It came with a handwritten note. He made a different cookie for each teacher." You and your child can make some for teachers for years to come with this cookie set!

$13 at Amazon

A fantastic fruit-scented candle in a gorgeous mercury glass container, this decorous item reminds you to pause and savor the moment.

Linnea, a third-grade teacher, says: "One of the best gifts I have received were candles from Anthropologie (a personal favorite) — I love getting these because 1) They are expensive, 2) I feel like the students listened to me when something personal would come up in conversation and 3) It just shows that they care!" Well, at least they'll think it's expensive.

Fourth-grade teacher Leigh also says she’s obsessed with candles: “I can never have too many."

$25 at Anthropologie

Plant-based and powerful, this cream is formulated to keep hands soft even after washing.

“My hands get really dry from touching papers all day,” says Barbara, a sixth-grade teacher. “I always love a nice-smelling lotion for my desk drawer.” Hydrating, clean and small enough to tuck away, this soothing hand cream delivers a spa moment anytime it’s called for.

$21 at Ulta

This mug warmer will keep coffee or tea "hot for teacher" all day. Comes with a silicone lid and auto shut-off, for safety.

$24 at Amazon
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$33 at Wayfair

Nothing says "decompression" like a cup of tea after a long day in the blackboard jungle. This set includes a double insulated cup, a dozen assorted blends from the folks at Twinings, and all-natural honey straws. We can hear the "Aaaah" from here!

Teacher Thomas says, "I could use some single-pack herbal tea...as winter approaches." We've got you, Teach, and then some. This set comes with everything they'll need to warm up and cool down. (Or, if you'd like to give them many weeks of sipping pleasure, try this gorgeous selection of 45 Pukka herbal teas, going for just $22.)

$30 at Amazon

Treat tired after-hours tootsies with a reflexology sesh. It'll feel intense for the first two weeks, as the knobs stretch out tense soles. But the payoff can be big.

"Acupressure sandals!" says Todd, a college professor. "Teachers are on their feet all day, it's nice to get some relief." You may have to do a little detective work to get the size right, but it'll be worth it.

$27 at Amazon

Let them pay tribute to geniuses from Botticelli to Van Gogh. Give all 10 pairs to one lucky recipient, or divvy up the pack and delight several of your kid’s teachers.

Speaking of feet... Brea, a pre-K teacher, says, "Because our preschool spends a lot of time outside, warm socks are ALWAYS great!" Extra points from your art teacher for these babies.

$20 at Amazon

Who wouldn't love a pair of these customizable, one-of-a-kind pine bookends? They're handmade by a pair of sisters in Memphis.

Where there are teachers, there are books — and a need for bookends. Choose two of their favorite quotable women to be featured on these unique pieces.

$48 at Uncommon Goods

They deserve to relax after a long day. Diffuse the air with their favorite essential oils, while adding hydration, especially in these dry winter months with a little help from this topseller. Soothing light and aromatherapy will do wonders.

Grab a set of 100% pure essential oils to go with it, like these from Pure Aroma.

$26 at Amazon

A laugh-out-loud funny workbook that might just get them through the entire year, by Jordan Reid and Jacqueline Ann May. 

I gifted this refreshing activity book to all my daughter's teachers, and even her principal. Not to mention friend-teachers and neighbor-teachers. Each of the 133 pages feels like a therapy sesh with your funniest friend. There's a Teacher Appreciation Week mad-lib, an all-too-relatable "Things you never thought you'd say out loud" roundup and exercises such as "Draw the haircut of your off-duty dreams." The playful yet earnest “Mental Health Check-in" checklist weaves in coping strategies so deftly that the reader won't even notice they are getting help.

$18 at Amazon

This six-pack of No. 1 bestselling steamers delivers just what they need, be it a morning boost or an end-of-day chill sesh.

Caitlyn, a seventh-grade teacher, says, “I’m really starting to get into aromatherapy.” Any hardworking teacher will enjoy steamy showerful of essential oils: This mix features eucalyptus and mint, citrus, lavender, jasmine, bergamot and chamomile scents.

$17 at Amazon

Shortcut to a cozy, relaxing, restorative evening. 

Fifth-grade teacher Kyisha says, “I really want a fuzzy robe. As soon as I get home, clothes come off and robe goes on.” Well, have we got a gift for her — and anyone one else who works super-hard and goes straight for the comfy clothes upon entering the home zone. Plush and cozy with an oversized hood, this beauty is like a gentle embrace from a huge teddy bear. In 19 colors and patterns, including animal prints. The men's version has even more options!

$50 at Amazon

For a more playful take on the tote, consider one of the many styles of this bag. Made of eco-friendly cotton canvas, it's sturdy enough for books and groceries alike.

Anais, a high school Spanish teacher, shared: "One student gave me a Day of the Dead tote bag which was nice!" There are 28 styles to choose from here to suit a slew of interests. Perhaps tropical plants for your biology teacher, or a "Follow Your Dreams" sloth for the guidance counselor. For extra brownie points, add your own special words or images to this customizable number.

$16 at Amazon

Keep this notepad sweet and simple, with a single initial, or amp it up with full name, bold colors and loads of extras.

Sarah, a middle-school teacher, was thrilled to receive "a personalized notepad." This simple, customizable notepad lets you decide whether to add initials, full name or both; lined or unlined. You choose the ink color!

$18 at Amazon

This No. 1 bestseller is a smart gift for a smart teach — the Echo Dot works with Alexa and can function solo or with an existing system. See, you are clever.

$40 at Amazon
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$40 at Kohl's$59 at Macy's

Coffee with just a touch of wine flavor? Talk about good to the last drop!

High school Spanish teacher David says, “ I love to get bottles of wine or something caffeine-related.” Not sure wine is approved at your school as a teacher gift? These coffee beans, aged in oak wine barrels for just a suggestion of the grape, are a unique (and alcohol-free) option for an elevated cup of coffee.

$22 at Uncommon Goods

A water bottle that doubles as a Bluetooth speaker? That's some 007-level stuff there. 

Yasmine, a kindergarten teacher, says, “I have snack time with the kids. A nice water bottle would be a good gift.” Well, Yasmine, this one might blow their minds. This speaker/water bottle lets you set the mood with say gentle classical or lively Spanish guitar music — or why not turn recess into a full-on dance party with some infectious African polyrhythms?

$40 at Uncommon Goods

We love any gift that gives back to pooches, and fans love scents like Boxer Banana Bread and Strawberry Schnauzer.

"I had a really lovely gift of a candle that donated to animal shelters when it was purchased," remembered first-grade teacher Shayla. "I liked this one a lot because even if I didn't love the scent or didn't use candles (which, luckily, wasn't the case!), it gave to a good cause!" This popular Etsy candle company, Rescue Me, gives 20% of all proceeds to animal rescues. Plus, there are lots of lovely scents!

$20 at Etsy

Help teachers get what they really need with an open-ended gift card. Amazon is a great choice because so many teacher wishes can be fulfilled here. Note: Almost every teacher we tapped said they wished for one of these!

Fran, a retired preschool teacher-researcher, has seen it all, but there's one gift, she said, that always helped. "I'm retired now, but the best gifts I've received were gift cards. Most parents don't know our personal lives, and it's hard for them to guess what we are interested in. So Amazon, Kroger, Starbucks, and Barnes & Noble gift cards were great." (These links are great for a physical card, but for a paperless, email-only gift go here: Amazon, Kroger, Starbucks and Barnes & Noble.)

Davilee, an elementary school teacher, agrees: "I always think gift cards are just awesome! Gift cards allow the person to choose what she/he wants."

$25 at Amazon