Gift-giving Checklist

What makes a good teacher gift?

It's not rocket science.* It's the same as what makes any gift a good one, allowing a little leeway for the truth that we don't usually give gifts to people except those we're quite close to.

To me a good handmade gift is...

1. Useful, sentimental, or luxuriant.
Most people have their own box-o'-apples in the attic; my goal isn't to add to it.

2. Reasonable.
When we just had one teacher each, we went all out. I made customized totes with class artwork. I made summer relaxation baskets customized to each teacher's interests. But now? Well, it's not really possible to get that close to teachers, and there's not time for for crafting big, elaborate gifts for all 16. Since most upper grades kids don't give gifts anyway, a small gift is a real stand-out, anyway.

3. Genuinely targeted for the recipient's tastes, needs, personality, subject matter.
If I care enough about the teacher to give a gift, why wouldn't I give THAT teacher a gift s/he will actually like and use?

4. Something I or someone I actually know would appreciate getting and using.
If nobody I know would much care about getting an apple mug, why would I give it?

5. Worth the effort and expense it takes to create it.
The cutesy little gifts on lots of teacher appreciation gift sites are often big on effort and short on usefulness or longevity. I just pinned the cutest little bag with a marshmallow, a graham cracker, and a mini Hershey's bar and a saying about "s'more something or other." Then I realized that they'd probably eat the candy and ditch the rest. Spending good money and a couple of hours or making a very complex dustcatcher or round-file filler is stupid, in my view.

6. Clever.
But only when it meets all the other criterion. A "punny" gift that's basically trash isn't worth my time or their attention. (See the "s'mores" baggie, above.)
7. As frugal as possible.
Each kid in middle or high school has up to EIGHT teachers. That adds up pretty darned quick.
That's my list. What's yours?

*That point goes to my husband. We keep track of cliches,  and "rocket scientist" is his.

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