2013 Gift Guide: Five Things for a Teacher or Caregiver
When it comes to giving for your child’s teachers and caregivers, what are the appropriate gifts? If you are a parent, you probably struggle each holiday to come up with just the right gift.
Obviously, if your child has six teachers, getting them each a $25 gift might start to break the Christmas Savings Account. On the other hand, you might feel like a hand-written note doesn’t say enough. We’ve got five ideas and local stores to help make your Christmas shopping just a little easier.
First, let’s lay out a few things they probably don’t need: coffee cups, Christmas tree ornaments and Bath and Body lotion (only if you know their favorite scent). If they’ve been teaching a while, they likely have a few boxes of these items in storage. That said, if your child picks out one of these items for his/her teacher, by all means gift away! Also steer clear of gift wine, beer or liquor on school campus. We don’t want them sent to the principal’s office.
We interviewed several South County teachers, who said that simple pleasures are at the top of the list. They all liked nice notes from students because it speaks to their profession and the meaning your family places on education.
However, if you want to give a gift, here are a few ideas:
1. Gift Card to a Book or Office Supply Store
One of the biggies is a gift card to a book store or office supply store. Teachers are often asked to dip into their own checking accounts for school supplies and supplemental materials. Have a $5 or $10 gift card to Staples or Office Depot can take a little of the pressure off their own household budgets.
Our local pick: Edgewater Books (951 Central Avenue, Edgewater) offers gift cards that can be used for either books or office supplies. Hours: Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sunday noon to 5 p.m. 410-988-2103.
2. Gift Card for Coffee or Breakfast Treat
Teachers don’t need an extravagant gift. Many of the teachers we talked with said they often don’t expect to get gifts from their students, and they certainly don’t expect parents with multiple students and multiple teachers to go out and give everyone an expensive Christmas present. What they do like is a $5 gift card for a cup of coffee or a donut and coffee when they are running late for work.
Our local picks: Honey’s Harvest (7150 Lake Shore Drive, Rose Haven) offers breakfast and lunch. Hours: Sun to Thurs 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays to 8 p.m. Saturdays to 7 p.m. 410-257-7757. The Honey Hive Bakery (155 Mitchells Chance Road, Edgewater) is a bakery and coffee house. Hours: Tue to Sat 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. 443-221-7569. Also: Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Coldstone Creamery and Sweetfrog.
3. Car Wash Coupon(s)
Who doesn’t like a clean car? Teachers are often pressed for time and being able to stop by to get a car wash during winter is a real treat.
Our local pick: WashHaus (3115 Solomons Island Road in Edgewater. Their cheapest online gift card is $25, but as a group gift among several parents, this could be a nice gift. Hours: Mon to Sat 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sundays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 410-956-9274.
4. Homemade (or store-bought) Treats
Christmas cookies, homemade chocolate truffles, popcorn balls or caramels are fun to make with your children and great gifts for their teachers and caregivers. One middle school teacher said that she appreciated a candy bar with a note from her student. This is a great option if a student has several teachers plus an advisory or homeroom. Buying six candy bars and having your teacher write a personalized note to each can be a very nice gift.
Our local pick: Cake Artista at Cupcakery, 8 Mayo Road, Edgewater. They have cake pops and cupcakes as well as beautiful hand-crafted holiday cakes. Hours: Tue and Wed 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. 410-956-0100.
5. Something that Reminds Your Child of His/Her Teacher
Art teacher Greta Morris said that she always likes something that tells her that her student was thinking about her—a calendar of Van Goghs or a notepad of Jackson Pollacks, for example. A music teacher might like to get a CD of your child’s favorite songs from that year (yes! a mix tape).
Our local pick: Muddy Creek Artist Guild. Local artists like Rande Cade have a SmugMug site, where you can take any image and turn it into a set of cards. These local artists, all from South County who create original works of art, are a talented lot. Click around the site. They’re local, so it’s easy to get in touch if you can’t order online.
This gift-giving guide is brought to you by our sponsor A.P. Mathews Heating & Air Conditioning. As a local business, AP Mathews shops, serves and supports the local community and encourages others to do the same.