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Summer is flying by, and the school bells will be ringing once again in no time. If you're trying to find back to school gifts for the special educators in your life, keep reading for some fantastic teacher-approved selections that are not a typical mug or apple-themed knick-knacks.
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We know handwritten notes and artwork from students are always appreciated, but if you're looking for something unique like a mini fridge or embroidery kit then we've got you covered with our Reviewed-approved alternatives to “Best Teacher Ever” merch.
1. For the teacher who loves a gourmet meal: The Always Pan
If your teacher is as much of a whiz in the kitchen as they are in the classroom, get them a multifunction piece that will help them take their culinary creations to the next level. We think the Always Pan from Our Place lived up to its (considerable!) social media hype: it was lightweight, nonstick, dishwasher-safe and capacious enough for deep-frying without crowding. Even better: It comes in a rainbow of gorgeous, Instagram-ready shades.
2. For the teacher who drinks a lot of coffee: Gift boxes from Angel's Cup
If your teacher is a coffee lover, then an Angel's Cup subscription is ready to help them discover their next favorite cup. You pick the roast, the grind and how often (from weekly to monthly) you want the boxes to ship, and Angel's Cup picks out coffees your recipient will love from hundreds of different roasters. When we tested this service, we were wowed by the depth of the tasting notes and the impressive presentation—perfect for someone who wants to really explore what sort of beans are out there.
3. For the teacher who is constantly on the go: An insulated mug
In general, teachers are up to the eyeballs in mugs—especially those with apple and ruler motifs. But a vacuum insulated, no-spill tumbler that keeps an Earl Grey warm for hours like this Yeti Rambler Tumbler with Magslider Lid? That’s a different story. Include your teacher’s favorite box of tea or bag of coffee to make it more personal.
4. For the teacher who loves hot drinks: Temperature Control Smart Mug
Does your favorite teacher love drinking coffee or hot tea? This Ember Temperature Control Smart Mug will keep your teacher's drinks hot throughout class time. One of our editors tried it out for herself and says it kept her coffee piping hot for hours. More than 6,000 reviewers rate it a full 4.5 stars, saying they can "actually finish their cup of coffee now."
5. For the stylish teacher: A Rifle Paper wall calendar
Rifle Paper Company creates wall calendars that are pretty enough to frame. These 12-month planners have plenty of room for teachers to keep their schedule on track, and the colorful floral accents on each page will make them smile, no matter the season, all year round.
6. For the teacher who eats on the go: DASH Egg Bite Maker
This DASH Deluxe Sous Vide Style Egg Maker makes the perfect, sous vide style egg bites at home, all before the bell rings. For the the teacher who likes to eat on the go, all they have to do is prep the eggs, pour them in the silicone cups, and the egg bites are ready in minutes. The egg bite maker can be used for breakfast sandwiches, healthy snacks and even dessert.
7. For the teacher who likes to stay hydrated: A S'well water bottle
There are water bottles, and then there are S’well water bottles. A slender, appealing and grownup alternative to the huge flasks that are all the rage among teens, this company has nailed design, function and durability.
8. For the teacher who likes more than apples: A fruit delivery
Food gifts can be hard to navigate with so many options. Sweet treats are everywhere, so why not offer up something different and refreshing? Harry & David Deluxe Pears, Apples and Cheese Gift deliver simple, wholesome salty and sweetness.
9. For the teacher who loves to learn: A MasterClass subscription
Want to give your favorite teacher something for their out-of-school pastimes, but not sure what they need? Why not give them access to lessons from the world’s best minds with a MasterClass subscription. We loved MasterClass, and the celebrity expert-taught lessons are sure to inspire.
10. For the teacher who needs some self-care: A Feeling Fab box
To pamper a tired teacher, try this Self-Care Feeling Fab Box Subscription, which delivers natural beauty products and stress reducing tools right to your doorstep. A three-month prepaid subscription is about the cost of a spa mani-pedi with a few add-ons.
11. For the teacher with neck pain: A massager with heat
Gift your teacher this Shiatsu Neck Massager with a neat heat feature. It has eight deep tissue kneading nodes, which will help your teacher relax and release any day-to-day classroom activity stress. This Shiatsu Neck Massager with Heat has an adjustable shape that can massage just about any of their aching body parts.
12. For the teacher who is a wine connoisseur: A Firstleaf wine subscription
A luxe bottle of wine is a welcome gift for teachers who enjoy a drink after a long day at school. If they're a wine lover, the wine subscription service Firstleaf is a creative way to discover new brands and flavors.
13. For the teacher who likes to cook: HelloFresh
While we wouldn't recommend showing up at your teacher's house to help with dinner (seriously, they've seen enough of you this week), you can lend a helping hand with a gifted subscription to HelloFresh. With high-quality ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, HelloFresh is perfect for the busy home cook who still wants to eat healthy. Teachers will appreciate having that grocery shopping time back to work on their curriculum—or just to relax.
14. For the teacher who loves snacking: A Vintage Mini Fridge
This Vintage Style Pink Mini Fridge will look cute in a classroom and is practical if your teacher needs someplace to store some soda or water. With more than 2,000 reviews and a 4.5 star rating, this fridge is praised as "cute and small" but still able to "fit exactly what you need." It cools up to 20 degrees Fahrenheit below ambient room temperature and stores up to six beverage cans.
15. For the tech-savvy teacher: Apple AirPods Pro
Apple's AirPods Pro are one of our favorite pairs of earbuds: They sound great, they're comfortable, they're water-resistant and they excel at noise cancelation. They're also unmatched for iPhone users, with seamless pairing and controls. If you're looking to splurge on an audio experience for a special teacher, this is the way to go.
16. For the teacher who loves baked goods: Cheryl's Cookies
The time is always right for cookies, especially when they're as tasty as the ones from Cheryl's Cookies. The Buttercream Frosted Apple Cut-Out Cookies are cute and will brighten your teacher's day. There are plenty of decorative tins to choose from, too!
17. For the crafty teacher: embroidery kit
If your teacher is a needle point extraordinaire, you can't go wrong by picking them up a Caydo Embroidery Starter Kit. Perfect for practiced cross stitchers and beginners, the kit includes three fun patterns, three embroidery hoops, several needles and tons of colorful threads for plenty of unique crafting possibilities.
18. For the teacher who loves to read: A Kindle Paperwhite
Put the power of the world's largest library of eBooks at your favorite teacher's fingertips with a Kindle Paperwhite. We loved the Kindle Paperwhite's E Ink display and the front-lighting with 24 different levels of illumination that made for a comfortable reading experience. Plus it's waterproof, too, so it's beach-read ready.
19. For the teacher who needs to relax: An essential oil diffuser
Scents are extremely personal. The vanilla aroma that relaxes one person might make another lightheaded. An essential oil diffuser allows for user choice while doubling as a mini-humidifier. The soothing steam eases anxiety and transforms a work area into an oasis. The InnoGear Essential Oil Diffuser is one of our favorite essential oil diffusers.
20. For the teacher with a green thumb: The Sill plant delivery
Longer lasting than a flower arrangement, a potted plant breathes life into any space. The Sill sends beautiful plants—as well as helpful resources and trendy planters—right to your gift recipient's door. Choose an Insta-worthy, hard-to-kill plant that will add a spirit-lifting, splash of greenery to any home or classroom. Just add water—literally!
21. For the teacher who is a tea drinker: A Sips by tea subscription
If your teacher loves tea, a Sips by tea subscription is a great gift. Award-winning, high-quality teas from around the world and at every possible level of caffeine, the company offers a range of boxes full of classics and some surprises. Any discerning tea drinker will give this an A+.
22. For the teacher who loves comfort: A plush throw blanket
For those chilly times of the year when you need a blanket on hand, your teacher will be grateful for a cozy Bliss Plush Throw that's one of our favorite blankets. This blanket comes in seven colors like navy blue, pink peony or teal foam. Reviewers say the throw is "super soft" even after washing it multiple times.
23. For the teacher who encourages her students to read: New books for the classroom
Chances are your teacher’s classroom library could use some refreshing. Call up your local independent bookstore or use Bookshop and ask the knowledgeable bookseller about the hottest new titles for your teacher’s grade level. Make sure to include a gift receipt!
24. For the teacher who needs a spa day: Illume Sea Salt Mojave glass candle
Help your teacher channel relaxing spa vibes with the fresh, beachy scent of this Illume Sea Salt Mojave Glass Candle. The glass jar can even be a pretty pencil holder long after the candle has burned away.
25. For the teacher who needs to relax: Beekman 1802 Milk Carton Spa Set
Beekman 1802 is best known for its use of a unique ingredient that's been hailed as a holy-grail beauty secret for centuries: goat’s milk. We tested out this buzz-worthy brand and found that it totally lived up to the hype—each product we tested had an amazing scent and felt nourishing and calming on the skin. Beekman 1802 Milk Carton Spa Set from 1-800-Baskets includes goat milk hand cream, cuticle cream and two bar soaps, perfect for the teacher who's skin could use a little extra TLC.
26. For the teacher who likes to travel: A monogrammed weekender bag
Time away is just the thing a teacher needs after a long week. A sturdy and attractive weekender bag like this Canvas Weekender Duffle Bag makes packing for last-minute trips easy as ABC. Once you’ve selected a color, monogramming is irresistible!
27. For the teacher who's a book lover: A framed book cover
If your teacher is passionate about reading—and they probably are!—a First Edition Book Cover Art Print of their favorite classic book cover would be an unusual and thoughtful gift.
28. For the teacher who needs a helper: Amazon Echo Dot
A more compact version of the popular Amazon Echo, the Amazon Echo Dot is a small smart speaker that can be mighty helpful for any classroom. Teachers can ask her to play music, tell jokes, set alarms, set multiple timers, tell stories, spell words, translate, and so much more. Educational, and a fun way to pass the time during indoor recess, the Echo Dot is appreciated by students and teachers alike.
29. For the teacher who is crafty: Scotch Thermal Laminator
With more than 44,000 reviews and a full 5 stars, the Scotch Thermal Laminator is praise-worthy. Your teacher will make use of this throughout the school year! It laminates up to nine inches and is equipped with two heated rollers that ensure bubble and wrinkle free results.
30. For the teacher who loves details: A personalized gift box
You can never go wrong with a personalized gift box! This Teacher Gift Box from Etsy will make your favorite teacher feel appreciated. Inside you'll find hand cream, a candle, a pencil case, a pocket mirror and to top it off, a delicious chocolate bar.
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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
This article originally appeared on Reviewed: Best back to school gift ideas for your favorite teachers in 2022