Thank the teacher without breaking the bank

For parents, Thanksgiving is in May. It is the time of year when we give thanks to all of the wonderful people who have positively influenced our children over the past nine months. We know that teachers are worth their weight in gold. However, when you add in spring wedding and graduation gifts, budgets are quickly blown. Here are a few ideas for expressing gratitude without breaking the bank:

-Think outside of the classroom. Consider the teacher’s interests—outside of the classroom. For example, if your teacher is also a marathoner, he or she might really appreciate a subscription to Runners World instead of another pencil holder.

-Get practical. Make everyday more special with stylish accessories like a lunch tote or water bottle. Does your teacher commute? Consider buying something to make his or her drive more enjoyable.

-Get personal. Skip the “World’s Best Teacher” mug and opt for a more personal gift. For example, instead of flowers that will wilt in a day, ask the students to write notes of thanks and put them into a pretty vase that the teacher can use for years to come.

-Make it yourself. Use your talent for photography, knitting, jewlrey making, or cooking to make a one-of-a-kind gift. Or, if you’d like someone else to do the work, check out

-Add some elbow grease. Take a look around. Is the staff lounge dingy? If so, invite some families to come to the school for a paint party. Everyone who works with children deserves a relaxing place to recharge.

-Pool your resources. Ask other parents to pitch in toward that one perfect present. Two years ago, I collected donations and gave my daughter’s teacher a much appreciated gift card to her favorite store.

Finally, don’t just buy a gift to buy a gift. Even a small budget can be spent thoughtfully. Set a good example for your children by showing them that it really is the thought that counts.


Kim McGrigg is the former Manager of Community and Media Relations for MMI.

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