Make your life easy. Make the teacher happy. If you want to buy your kids’ teacher a gift for the holidays (and this is optional), by all means go ahead and do so, but avoid the “Best Teacher Ever!” mug or any mug for that matter. In fact, it’s best to avoid anything made of ceramics, anything personalized, and anything that the hundreds of Yahoo Stores that sell personalized gifts tell you you should buy.
Yes, this includes soaps and candles, whether personalized or not.
While homemade baked goods seem like a great idea, they too are problematic for health-conscious teachers. Remember that anything you bring will likely be multiplied by at least five other families. Who needs five dozen chocolate chip cookies? Plus there’s the issue of taste – what you consider as good may not be the teacher’s idea of a delicacy.
While cash is what everyone really wants, secretly (except for Elaine in Seinfeld), cash is not really an appropriate gift for a teacher. But your goal is to get as close as possible to a cash gift. Gift cards are a great choice, especially to all-purpose places such as Target or Amazon. Starbucks is also a fairly safe bet, as is a gift card to a bookstore such as Barnes and Noble.
A gift certificate to a nice local restaurant or to a local day spa can also make a nice, thoughtful gift. The same goes for a current bestselling book or classroom supplies.
Any teacher will tell you that the most important thing to them is not the gift, but a personal note of appreciation from the student, her parents, or both. I believe them. Being a teacher truly is a hard, thankless job, and if the teacher is good enough that you want to give them something, surely you can write a few lines thanking them for their hard work, and ask your child to do the same.