In a tight economy, frugal-minded families still want to remember teachers at Christmas. Choose budget-friendly presents instead of higher-priced options. Ask about gift policies at your child's school. Administrators---concerned that pricey teacher gifts appear unseemly at best and can create a perception of favoritism toward the gift-giver at worst---may set spending limits or even ban Christmas gifts. If your school green-lights giving, wrap up an inexpensive teacher gift that is in line with school guidelines and family finances.
Hometown specialties are typically produced in small batches which drives up the cost compared to products made by large-scale manufacturers. One or two jars of locally made flavored honey may cost more than you would spend for daily use, but are priced right for a gift. Check grocery store shelves for local goodies such as barbecue or spaghetti sauces.
Fill a purchased glass jar with a special teacher's favorite candy. Recycle a large-size glass food jar and lid to reduce the cost of the candy jar. Students can decorate the outside of the jar with acrylic paint. Cut a circle of holiday print fabric that is 2 inches larger in diameter than the jar lid. Secure the fabric circle to the lid with craft glue. Punch a hole in the corner of a handmade card. Attach ribbon to the card and loop it around the lid.
Place a certificate for two or three movie rentals in a popcorn bowl along with theater-sized boxes of candy and a package of microwave popcorn. Large plastic bowls and snacks can both be found at dollar stores.
Cookies and Magnet
Buy or bake a dozen round cookies. Wrap the cookies in plastic film and stack them in a holiday cookie tin. Find tins at drug, discount or dollar stores during the Christmas season. Add a festive refrigerator magnet on top of the tin.
No Staples Stapler
The staple-less stapler is a cylinder-shaped gizmo you can find for less than $10 at office supply stores. It punches a small flap into papers to hold them together. Your teacher won't run out of staples or worry about metal snagging students' fingers.
Write a heartfelt letter of appreciation to your child's teacher. Type up a separate letter detailing her influence and inspiration and give it to the principal or director of your child's school. Include a copy of this with the teacher's letter.
Make or buy a loaf of baked-that-day bread at a bakery. Choose specialty bread with cheese and herbs or a sweet frosted cinnamon and nutmeg loaf.
Teacher's Helper Kit
Assemble or buy a ready-to-make craft containing enough supplies for each child in the class. Department stores and teacher supply stores stock craft items and kits. Pair the craft project with a 30-minute educational CD, found at bookstores. Your child's teacher can pull this out at a moment's notice if he needs something extra one day.
- Photo Credit christmas presents image by Marek Kosmal from Fotolia.com
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