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10 best teacher gifts that are in a class of their own

Show your child’s teacher how much you appreciate them, with these indulgent treats and practical presents

Meredith Clark
Wednesday 20 December 2023 10:18 GMT
<p>From candles and tote bags to calendars and planners, these gift ideas all get an A+ from us </p>

From candles and tote bags to calendars and planners, these gift ideas all get an A+ from us

As the famous quote by Stephen Hawking goes: “Behind every exceptional person, there is an exceptional teacher.” These educators have one of the most important jobs in the world – they spend all day with your children, giving them tips on how to sound out those hard-to-read words, helping them solve difficult math problems, and providing them with the early tools to tackle life’s challenges. So, what better way to show your appreciation than with a special teacher gift?

Being a teacher is one of the hardest careers – with long days and plenty of responsibility, not to mention all the marking and paperwork. Now the holiday season is upon us, it’s the perfect time to gift teachers something they’ll enjoy, whether that’s a practical present or an indulgent treat.

You may want to consider getting your child’s teacher a gift that is thoughtful and heartfelt – one that perfectly represents the impact they have on their students’ lives. However, it doesn’t hurt to also give them a gift that’s useful for the classroom. After all, it’s usually teachers who buy their own school supplies at the beginning of every semester.

If you’re stuck for present ideas, we’re here to help. Keep scrolling for our full round-up of the best teacher gifts – we promise there isn’t an apple in sight.

How we tested

A selection of the gifts we tried for this review

To find the best teacher gifts, we considered how thoughtful, useful, and affordable each item was. While many of these gifts can be used in the classroom, we threw in a few special items that teachers can enjoy outside school hours, too. We also considered items that were reasonably priced and offered great value for money.

The best teacher gifts for 2023 are:

Brooklyn Candle Studio santal minimalist candle: $28,

Best: Candle

Rating: 5/5

You can’t go wrong with a candle as a gift, but not all scents are made equal. At Brooklyn Candle Studio, handcrafted in the eponymous New York City borough, each candle is made from all-natural soy wax, and its fragrances are inspired by nature and travel. The bestselling one of all is santal, containing notes of cedar, pine, and sandalwood. Its earthy tones are reminiscent of Christmas trees – perfect for the holiday season – but without that overpowering smell. The cotton braided wick also makes for a nice, clean burn.

Buy now

Erin Condren teacher lesson planner: $62.50,

Best: Planner

Rating: 5/5

This offering from Erin Condren is the planner to end all planners. Not only will its thick, 80-pound text weight paper help even the most organized teacher schedule out their day, there are enough pages to plan out the entire school year. A snap-in ruler makes for easy measuring, while four sheets of stickers are enough to hand out to the entire class. Each month is labeled with a tab, for quick reference, and its pages are filled with ample note-taking space. Plus, the lesson planner’s sturdy laminate cover should withstand whatever even the messiest kindergarteners can throw at it.

Buy now

Chocolate Moonshine classic fudge sampler: $42.95,

Best: Sweet treat

Rating: 5/5

Giving an apple to a teacher is a longstanding tradition, but who says they can’t have something a little sweeter this holiday season? With Chocolate Moonshine, dessert has been taken to the next level. The fudge collection includes bourbon sea salt caramel, black cherry bourbon, smoked whiskey, and stout but, although they include alcohol flavorings, all of Chocolate Moonshine’s Fudge is non-alcoholic.

We sampled Belgian chocolate, dark espresso, chocolate walnut, maple walnut, chocolate peanut butter, black cherry bourbon, dulce de leche, and peanut butter fudge. If there’s one word to describe each one, it’s creamy. The texture is due, in part, to how the fudge is made – hand-poured in small batches, with 30 per cent less sugar than most fudge, and with real cream, sugar, and butter.

The dark espresso provided a pleasing combination of salty and sweet, while the dulce de leche’s caramel flavor melts in the mouth. By choosing the two-pound sampler option, your beloved teacher won’t be stuck for a sugar fix.

Buy now

Asakuki dew plus light wood essential oil diffuser: $32.99,

Best: Diffuser

Rating: 4.5/5

This essential oil diffuser from Asakuki can light up any classroom – literally. The compact aromatherapy device sits at just 4in tall, making it perfect for a teacher to display on their desk, without it getting in the way. While it may look small, it features an easy-to-clean 300ml water tank and four mist timer modes, for up to 10 hours of use. However, it’s the seven different LED light colors that will provide a relaxing environment during nap time, or while your favorite teacher is taking a much-needed break at their desk. Take note: essential oil sets are sold separately.

Buy now

The Teacher Tote classic bag: $85.99,

Best: Tote bag

Rating: 5/5

A tote bag may not be the most exciting present to receive, but this classic black option from The Teacher Tote will be the only one your teacher needs. Designed by actual teachers from New York, the Teacher Tote fits just about everything required for a busy day. It’s made from durable nylon and genuine brown leather handles. Not only does the Teacher Tote come with a zippered, padded laptop compartment and two outer pockets to hold beverages, but it also has an insulated lunch box built right into the lining. A minimalist may consider the bag a bit oversized but, when it comes to teaching, there’s always a need for extra space.

Buy now

Steeped Coffee the lineup: $44.85,

Best: Caffeine fix

Rating: 5/5

Almost every student has heard their teacher utter the words: “Don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee.” Now, they can make a cup of instant coffee in a few short minutes, with Steeped Coffee’s bestselling variety pack: the lineup. Not only does it come with four signature roasts – light, medium, dark, and French roast – but the process is also super easy, as Steeped Coffee works just like a tea bag. Its breakwater blend, the French roast, is smoky but not too bitter, while the dark roast odyssey blend is more savory and earthy. For fans of a light roast, the sunrise blend has a lemon-lime flavor, offering a nice morning pick-me-up, and the medium roast California blend contains nutty and chocolatey notes.

Buy now

M.C. Squares reusable monthly calendar: $24.99,

Best: Practical gift

Rating: 5/5

This is a great gift for teachers who are both organized and concerned about the environment. Instead of throwing away tonnes of paper at the end of the year, this reusable planner is a more sustainable way to keep track of to-do lists. With its shiny, durable whiteboard front and re-stickable cling backing, the M.C. Squares reusable calendar attaches to just about any stainless steel or glass surface. It also comes with one wet-erase Tackie Marker, so important notes aren’t accidentally smudged or erased.

Buy now

Simple Modern summit water bottle with straw lid and chug lid: $24.99,

Best: Reusable water bottle

Rating: 4/5

Teachers need to stay hydrated during long days of addressing classrooms full of children, and this reusable, insulated water bottle from Simple Modern keeps drinks cold for more than 24 hours. Its sleek design may be minimal but, because of its durable finish, even the clumsiest of teachers can drop the summit water bottle without making a scratch. With two leak-proof lid options (one straw lid and one chug lid), this water bottle lets teachers decide exactly what type of thirst needs to be quenched. The summit comes in five sizes: 14oz, 18oz, 22oz, 32oz, and 40oz (only the first three sizes are cupholder-friendly).

Buy now

The Body Shop palms and pinkies hand cream trio: $20,

Best: Self-care gift

Rating: 4/5

The holiday season is the most wonderful time of year, but it’s also the driest. So, why not give your teacher this sweet-smelling hand cream set from The Body Shop? The trio comes with three different 30ml moisturizers: strawberry, pink grapefruit, and British rose. The consistency of each hand cream is nearly identical – not too creamy, and super lightweight – but it might take a few rubs to absorb fully into the skin. We particularly enjoyed the fragrance of the British rose hand cream, as a reminder of the warmer spring days we’re longing for.

Buy now

Xplorer Maps USA map jigsaw puzzle: $24.99,

Best: Puzzle

Rating: 5/5

Give your teacher a gift that’s not just educational but aesthetically pleasing too. Each of Xplorer Map’s intricate puzzles is a replica of the brand’s unique, hand-illustrated artistic maps, created by Canadian illustrator Chris Robitaille. This 1000-piece puzzle makes for an engaging classroom activity, as students can also learn about the art and history of United States national parks and landmarks. When putting together this map-themed puzzle, it’s clear the pieces are made from high-quality recycled blueboard. Plus, each puzzle is packaged in a classy display box and includes a 20in x 15in poster, for easy reference.

Buy now

The verdict: Teacher gifts

It’s a difficult task to find your child’s teacher the perfect gift that shows just how much you appreciate them. But by choosing presents that are heartfelt yet practical, such as Brooklyn Candle Studio’s minimalist candles or the ultimate teacher lesson planner from Erin Condren, you can’t go wrong this holiday season. If you want to choose a gift that’s a bit out of the box, fudge from Chocolate Moonshine is sure to be devoured during lunch or recess.

Want more inspiration? Check out our guide to the best waterproof speakers

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