Thursday, May 4, 2017

Spring Gift Guide (teachers and grads)

If you're anything like me you have LOTS of graduations coming up.  I feel like I have a pretty good handle on kids birthday gifts (you can see my post HERE for some of my favorites under $20) but graduation gifts can have me stumped.... and apparently they have A LOT of y'all stumped as well because I've had multiple people ask me if I have ideas!

his year I decided to go to the source and I asked Anna Grace to poll her classmates and tell me what they would be REALLY excited to receive as they finish high school.  The overwhelming response?  GIFT CARDS!!!  With cash a close second... although I feel like cash would have been the first answer if they had felt like it wasn't rude to ask for money. ;)

I know that some people are "anti-gift card" because they think it's less personal or somehow not thoughtful but I wholeheartedly disagree.  I think that giving someone a gift that you KNOW they'll find useful and will appreciate is about as thoughtful as you can be.  And if that's a gift card then what's wrong with that?!?!

I think that there are definitely impersonal ways to give a gift card, but with a thoughtful personal note gift cards be a great present... especially for students who are heading off on their own for the first time!  Here are the gift cards that the High School Seniors we talked to said they'd like to receive....

To pick up things they'll need for their dorm/apartment....
- Target
- WalMart
- Amazon
- A local grocery store

To be able to grab a favorite meal with friends...
- Chipotle
- Free Birds
- Subway
- A local restaurant in the town they're moving to
- Starbucks (CAFFEINE!!!) 

To splurge on new clothes, backpacks and/or dorm items that they might not otherwise be able to....
- Urban Outfitters
- Nordstrom
- Anthropologie

And then there's the always appreciated VISA gift card or cash :)

If you REALLY want to get a gift other than a gift card - here are a few other ideas...

I also get A LOT of questions about end-of-the-year teacher gifts and I realize I'm totally beating a dead horse - but your kids teachers want gift cards! :)

While we love a good scented candle, coffee mug or picture frame it's reeeeeeally hard to beat picking up your morning caffeine, taking your kids for an after school ice cream treat, NOT cooking dinner or going on a movie date and getting to use a gift card.  Don't underestimate the sentiment of even a $5 card to Sonic ;)  

Here are a few more "creative" ideas for teachers (these are things that I've received and LOVED!)

- paper plates, plastic cutlery and disposable cups packaged in a cute bag with a note about the gift of "no dishes" :)
- A magazine subscription
- A pie from a local bakery (YES MA'AM!)
- Fresh flowers
- a package of my favorite pens

The BEST gift though are the notes we get from students and/or parents.  Little words of encouragement to tuck away and pull back out on days where we've had to say things like, "Please stop sitting on people" or "no... you may NOT breathe on your friends" or "please take the turtle off of my desk" more often than normal.  Even a reply to an email you receive after school hours saying that you appreciate the time and work your child's teacher is doing outside of school can be a huge blessing. 

When I started this post I was bound and determined to come up with A TON of creative, unique ideas for grads and teachers.... but turns out gift cards talk. ;)  If you have a great go-to-gift for teachers and/or graduates I'd love to hear them!

Happy gifting, friends!

PS - This post contained affiliate links... thank you for supporting my blog!


  1. I am a teacher and this week I've gotten a few handwritten notes from parents and I have appreciated those more than anything! It's hard being a middle school teacher, so these notes really make a difference! I'm also going to second gift cards as teacher gifts! Even if it's just that $5 card--we still love it!
    Sarah at MeetTheShaneyfelts

  2. Great tips, girl! Good to know!

  3. When I graduated high school I got a lot of gift cards to the bookstore where I was going to college - could be used on books, clothing, the supplies and snacks they sell. I thought it was a great idea! And over the years the store (even though it carries the same stuff) became owned by a Barnes and Noble. So if anyone got a gift card it could be used at either place. Someone got me a sweatshirt from the school too and someone else got me a water bottle along with the gift card. I liked the gifts because it was something I wasn't expecting!

  4. I am a former teacher and I completely agree that nothing beats a sincere letter of appreciation. I kept every one and on the nights that I was sitting in my classroom at 10:00 pm in tears and feeling completely overwhelmed, I would pull them out to remind myself why I was doing it. :)

  5. Back in 1998, I got a jewelry holder from James Avery and i still use! I also got personalized stationary and I loved it!

  6. I just got my daughter's teachers personalized water bottles and they are so cute! I want one now!

  7. Such a good list!! For teacher appreciation this week, Cooper gave his teacher a summer tote bag with a pair of flip flops, nail polish, a tervis & some candy. She LOVED it! Thanks for sharing!

  8. much to spend?!? We are probably doing local food places. When I was teaching I loved the creative stuff!

  9. I loved the "no dishes" gift- what a great idea!

  10. Yep I wanted cash as a grad so that is what we give every year. Haha! I am doing a gift card for my son's teacher this year. At Christmas I gave her something cute for her room and a gift card to use at a nail place. She loved it! Another small teacher appreciation gift I just did was to buy 5 Redbox codes online for $7.50. I split the codes between my son's teacher and another one that helps us a lot. I included the code with some popcorn, M&Ms and popcorn holders. They really loved that.

  11. Great list.

  12. My aunt always gives Vera Bradley related items for any girl she has to buy for. The large travel duffel bags, backpacks or the travel/tolietry hanging organizers. She watches all year for sales and outlet prices and will stock up in a bunch of patterns!

    To that note, she also gives the Vera Bradley lunch boxes once we graduate college and get our first "real" job!

  13. Gift cards are always a hit! When I was teaching I always wished for more gift cards (like you said even the $5 were fabulous)! Other things I've received or given for graduation gifts that have been a hit are:
    - Vera Bradley (or any brand they love) key chain with card holders - this comes in so handy on college campus with your dining card or campus id
    - a great throw blanket
    - cute laptop case
    - camelback water bottle
    - monogrammed towels

  14. I think gift cards are a great way to go. I feel like they might even be managed a bit better than loose cash in their pockets?!

  15. As a teacher, I totally agree that handwritten notes are the best! I never forget the sweet little things that are said! Gift cards are amazing, too!

  16. You can do so many cute things with gift cards these days thanks to Pinterest and I will be honest I love getting them too - guilt free shopping ;)

  17. For my preschooler's teachers I did : lunch on Monday ( I packed them pasta salad, fruit, iced tea and some Hersey kisses) Wednesday I gave them lip balm with a tag attached that said " you're the balm" ( thank you PINTEREST) today is an iced coffee ( with another cute saying from PINTEREST)
    For the elementary teachers I sent in items pta requested for appreciation week
    For holidays/end of the year I've done: gift cards, hanging baskets, vera Bradley or Brighton lanyard holders( for their school id's)

  18. Gift Cards ONLY for teachers!
    These amazing people are with our babies alllllll day. They deserve the very best...that they get to pick out!

  19. Who doesn't LOVE gift cards?!! I love to schedule lunch delivered from Jasons Deli during teacher appreciation week. The teachers always seem to really love it.


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