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33 inspired gifts for the teacher in your life

Grid of 5 gifts for teachers
Educate yourself on the best can't-miss gift choices for your favorite teachers. (Photo: Amazon, Uncommon Goods, The Sill)

Whether you’re a parent, a student or happen to have an educator in your life who you care about, you know how life-changing great teachers can be. They're truly worth their weight in gold.

These wonderful humans help students become their best selves — and they deserve big thanks this time of year. So we've rounded up some fabulous gift ideas so that you can let them know just how much they mean to you and your kids. To come up with our top 30+ list, we spoke with dozens of actual teachers and asked them what they wanted. 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 fave gifts. (Spoiler alert: Almost all of these teachers named an Amazon gift card first.)

Here’s what else we learned. Take good notes!

For a bit of sunshine
The Sill

The Sill Hoya Heart

$48$76Save $28
This special Hoya's got so much heart, and we're fans of these beautifully upcycled pots.
$48 at The Sill

"I adore really cool plants and pots!" said Shannon, a preschool teacher at a Reggio-inspired school. The Sill, a woman-owned company, was founded on the premise that "plants make people happy," and we think their impressive array of beautiful greenery and stylish planters will do just that. This delightful little Hoya Heart is easy to care for — bright light and some water every couple weeks, and it's good to go. Plus it's pet-friendly!

For better lunchtimes

Tiblue Insulated Lunch Bag

The boxed lunch gets an upgrade: Give your No. 1 teacher Amazon's No. 1 bestselling reusable lunch bag, available in 16 colors and patterns and two sizes. It's freezable too!
$30 at Amazon

"A cool lunch bag would be an excellent gift!! Something large enough for your Tupperware" says Meredith, a preschool teacher. 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 cross-body on those multitasking mornings.

An apology for the rowdiness
Bath and Body Works

Bath & Body Works Aromatherapy Stress Relief Foam Bath & Body Lotion

Eucalyptus and spearmint are unparalleled agents of relaxation. Fans of this body wash/foam bath and lotion combo say it will undo the stress of the day.
$28 at Amazon

Caitlyn, a seventh-grade teacher, says, “I’m really starting to get into aromatherapy, and I love great-smelling body wash.” This clever, stress-relieving duo is a gift any hardworking teacher would love.

For post-work relaxation
Alexander Del Rossa

Alexander Del Rossa Plush Fleece Hooded Robe

$38$60Save $22
Shortcut to a cozy, relaxing, restorative evening. Be sure to clip the on-page coupon to get the full discount.
$38 at Amazon

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 18 colors and patterns, including animal prints. The men's version is also on sale!

Make 'em laugh
Uncommon Goods

F in Exams Book

Give them a laugh so they know their students could be worse! This hilarious book celebrates the creative side of failure.
$9 at Uncommon Goods
A form-meets-function tote

Fjällräven Samlaren Totepack

Teachers are world-class schleppers; how about a fresh new carryall to replace the worn-out one they currently cart around? This limited-edition water-resistant tote is dependable and chic.
$45 at Nordstrom

“Since I’m constantly lugging things back and forth, I always need a new tote,” says Chris, a high school science teacher.

For the fun-loving teach

Naanle Skull Canvas Tote Bag

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.
$16 at Amazon

Anais, a high school Spanish teacher, shared: "One student gave me a Day of the Dead tote bag which was nice!" There are 29 styles to choose from here to suit a slew of interests. Perhaps tropical plants for your biology teacher, or the "Follow Your Dreams" sloth for the guidance counselor. For extra brownie points, add your own special words or images to this customizable number..

For teachers who rock
Uncommon Goods

Bluetooth Speaker & Water Bottle

A water bottle that doubles as a Bluetooth speaker? That's some 007-level stuff there. Choose black or teal!
$40 at Uncommon Goods

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 maybe even turn the break into a full-on dance party with some infectious African polyrhythms.

To help ease tension

MoValues 4-in-1 Jade Roller and Gua Sha Set.

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. Click the on-page coupon for the full discount.
$18 at Amazon

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.

For the school's best-dresser

Medallion Silk Tie

$50$80Save $30
Silk jacquard and subtle geometry add up to one fab-looking tie. Available in purple, wine and silver.
$50 at Nordstrom

Alex, a high school English teacher, says "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.

A sweet for the sweetest
Williams Sonoma

Manhattan Fruitier Confection Gift Tower

All things chocolate... Dipped orange slices, graham crackers and pretzels. Truffles! Even a solid chocolate pear! Truly a tower of delights.
$60 at Williams Sonoma

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.

A special cookie

For you to make and give
Ann Clark Cookie Cutters

Ann Clark 3-Piece School Cookie Cutter Set

Make delicious and memorable cookies 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.
$12 at Amazon

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!

For teachers with a big heart

Rescue Me Soy Wax Candle

We love any gift that gives back to pooches, and fans love scents like Boxer Banana Bread, Hawaiian Hibiscuit and Strawberry Schnauzer!
$25 at Etsy

"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!

For forget-about-the-day vibes

Capri Blue Volcano Mercury Glass Jar Candle

$25$36Save $11
A fantastic fruit-scented candle in a gorgeous mercury glass container, this decorous item reminds you to pause and savor the moment.
$25 at Anthropologie

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: at this sale price of $28, this dear candle is a steal.

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

A bit of luxury anytime

Fresh Milk Hydrating Hand Cream

Plant-based and powerful, this cream is formulated to keep hands soft even after washing. It has an impressive 4.8-star overall rating by Sephora shoppers!
$20 at Sephora

Plant-based and powerful, this cream is formulated to keep hands soft even after washing (and rewashing). It has an impressive 4.8-star overall rating by Sephora shoppers!

“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.

Keep them healthy
Uncommon Goods

PhoneSoap Smartphone Sanitizer

$35$80Save $45
Teachers are more exposed to germs than most folks, so treat them to at least one sanitary item-- a clean phone. They can place their phone in the sanitizer and charge simultaneously. It's a no-brainer.
$35 at Uncommon Goods
A touch of class at class
Curio Press

Curio Press Monogrammed Notepad

Keep this notepad sweet and simple, with a single initial, or amp it up with full name, bold colors and loads of extras.
$19 at Amazon

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!

For the best-organized teacher

Hommie Sticky Notes Set

$8$9Save $1
Assorted sticky notes and tabbed folders. Gold star for pragmatism!
$8 at Amazon
For the prettiest notes sent home
Modern Pink Paper

Modern Pink Paper Personalized Floral Stationery Set

Even mundane info feels special when shared on pretty stationery. ou choose the colors, design, and (of course) name in this set of notecards. This price reflects a set of 10.
$23 at Amazon

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.

An apple for the teacher
Betsey Johnson

Betsey Johnson Red Apple Pendant

$17$48Save $31
An apple for the teacher, she can wear anytime. These are soo Betsey and will brighten up even the most boring days! The worm charm is charming.
$17 at Betsey Johnson

Some teachers embrace cool kitsch. For them, Betsey Johnson always comes through. Preschool teacher Meredith told us, "I think teacher-themed gifts would be cool — if your teacher wears jewelry, there are cool things out there..." BaubleBar is a great spot to browse.

A delicious pick-me-up
Uncommon Goods

Vintage Brew Merlot-Infused Coffee

Coffee with just a touch of wine flavor? Talk about good to the last drop!
$22 at Uncommon Goods

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.

Keep teacher going all day

Kin Coffee Mug Warmer

$28$35Save $7
This mug warmer will keep coffee or tea "hot for teacher" all day. Comes with a silicone lid and auto shut-off, for safety.
$28 at Amazon
To unwind after a long day
Michael Grace Gifts

Tea Gift Set with Double Insulated Cup and Honey Straws

$29$30Save $1
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"s from here!
$29 at Amazon

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.

Add some zing to school lunches

Truff White Truffle Hot Sauce, 6 oz

$26$32Save $6
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.
$26 at Amazon

“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.

Ahhh, relief

Byriver Reflexology Foot Massager

$26$35Save $9
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.
$26 at Amazon

"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.

For your favorite art teacher

WeciBorArt Printed Cotton Crew Socks

$17$40Save $23
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 people. And don't forget to click on the coupon box for the absolute lowest price.
$17 at Amazon

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.

For the tech-loving teacher

Echo Dot Smart speaker with Alexa

$15$40Save $25
A smart gift for a smart teach — the echo dot works with Alexa and can function solo or with an existing system Save 63% right now. See, you are clever.
$15 at Amazon
For their own storytime
W. W. Norton & Company

'The Overstory: A Novel' by Richard Powers

$14$19Save $5
Written by a teacher who was left breathless and forever changed by his time amidst the redwoods, this Pulitzer Prize–winning novel may be just the inspirational tome they need.
$14 at Amazon

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.

Strong Woman for a strong woman
Uncommon GOods

Quotes by Iconic Women Bookends

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.
$46 at Uncommon Goods

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.

For much-needed serenity

Lagunamoon Organic Aromatherapy Shower Steamers, 6 pack

$18$20Save $2
Moisturizing bath bombs with fragrances that soothe (lavender, among others) or invigorate (like mint). Aromatherapy for every mood. Organic and all-natural ingredients make this set special. So do unique scents, like fig and cedar. And just look at that discount!
$18 at Amazon
For home or the classroom

Asakuki Essential Oil Diffuser with Remote Control

$26$36Save $10
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. Soothing light and aromatherapy will do wonders.
$26 at Amazon

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

A bit o' fun

'The Big Activity Book for Teacher People'

$14$18Save $4
A laugh-out loud funny workbook that might just get them through the entire year! By Jordan Reid and Jacqueline Ann May.
$14 at Amazon

I recently gifted this refreshing activity book to all my daughter's teachers, and even her principal. Not to mention friend teachers and neighbor teachers. (Thanks to the low price, I was able to gift widely.) Each of the 133 fun pages feels like a mini 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.

The most practical gift of all

Amazon Gift Card, Choose Your Amount

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 this.
$25 at Amazon

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."

The links above are great for a physical card, but if you prefer a paperless, email-only gift: 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."

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.