Friday, July 19, 2013

Teacher gifts

I know we are way past the end of the school year.  A new school year is about to begin.  But this is the perfect time to start thinking of an end of the year gift for teachers.  My kids have teams of teachers.  My daughter had her preschool teacher and three aids in her class, my son had his third grade teacher and his reading teacher.  That is a lot to buy for, especially on a budget.  I know parents who go out and buy a hefty gift card for their child's one teacher.  That is a great gift, and Im sure the teachers love it.  But what do you do when you can't afford a big gift but still want to show the teachers that you appreciate them?  Or what do you do when you have more than one child, more than one teacher, and can't afford numerous gifts?  You come up with something crafty, yet inexpensive, but still something that they can use and love.  Our teachers this past year were fabulous and loving and caring and my kids adored them (so did I).  I wanted to show them that they are loved, and appreciated, but I couldn't break the bank.  So my kids and I created a gift that hopefully the teachers loved. 

  I found an idea on Pinterest to get the teachers bags full of goodies for the beach.  Our teachers deserve a nice relaxing vacation.  Plus, we live on Cape Cod, where there are beaches all over.  I asked the kids if we could do a beach bag for their teachers, and they agreed.  Our first job was to figure out what they needed for their day of relaxation at the beach.  My kids and I brainstormed and came up with some answers. 

Sunscreen, a drink, a book or magazine, a beach bag, a towel, a hat, a bathing suit, sunglasses, a beach chair, an umbrella.  Okay, so some of these wouldn't work when we are buying for people whom we don't really know much about their personal lives (would they want a gossip rag mag or a crafting magazine?  A bikini or a one piece? a mystery novel or a smutty love story?)  and a beach chair and umbrella could get pricey, plus too big!  So we settled on a few things and figured we would probably find some good ideas on the way.

I headed to our local dollar store and another local store that carries a lot of seasonal goodies. I had my list in hand and knew what I wanted to get. The kids picked out a bunch of items, some good, some not so great.  (No, kids, I don't think Mrs. G would blow bubbles on the beach.  Nope, I don't think Mrs M needs a pinwheel.)  And we were able to get quite a few items within our budget! 

We got home, packed our beach bags for the teachers and made them cute little signs.  It was meaningful and let the teachers know that the kids and I appreciated all of their hard work.  "Dear Mrs. ____  Thank you for making my days so sunny.  Now, enjoy your sunny days.  Love, ____" 

We ended up getting each teacher a bag for the beach, a little sign for their home (Life's a Beach), a reusable water bottle filled with seashells and seaglass (that hopefully they can use as a decoration in their home, in a vase or dish.) and crystal light packets.  We included a bottle of water, some sunglasses (hopefully we picked out pairs that the teachers would enjoy!), a towel, a starfish decoration, some sunscreen (higher SPF for those fair teachers!) and some aloe gel to refresh that skin after their day in the sun. 
We included cards in each bag that were chosen by my kids with each specific teacher in mind.  I actually came to tears in the store when my kids were picking them out.  While my son was reading the cards on his own, I was reading them out loud to my 5 year old, and they picked the sentiments that meant the most to them.  "Mommy, I want this one for Mrs. _ because she always gives me hugs and helps me out."  It gave me a little insight as to WHY each teacher was so special to my kids.  And I loved seeing which cards they picked. I originally thought that they were going to pick the cards with the funniest pictures, but nope, each card had such a special meaning inside.  I was proud of my kids!  (always am!!!)
We attached the sun pictures to the bags, packaged them all up and walked into the school to present each teacher with their beach bag. 
I think the teachers all enjoyed their gifts.  I hope they did.  My family made each one with each specific teacher in mind, picking a different pair of glasses, a different print towel, etc, for each teacher, thinking about each one's likes and personalities as they were choosing their items.  It was a great gift idea, and even though we didn't have a ton to spend, it was something that meant a lot and came straight from our hearts.