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Holiday Gift Ideas Under $50

Janelle Cox

The holiday season is upon us and it’s time to start shopping for your favorite co-worker. Whether you have a secret Santa Claus or you just like to exchange with your colleagues, holiday gift giving doesn’t have to be hard.  When buying a holiday gift for your fellow co-worker, you want to make sure you take into account their personal interests. Be sure to give a gift that your colleague can actually utilize -- something that you would like to have in your own classroom. Here are a few suggestions to help ease that holiday gift-giving stress, while not breaking the bank.

Books for the Classroom Library

One thing that everyone can agree upon is that you can never have enough books for your classroom library. Sure you may get a few “free” books from your Scholastic book order clubs, but you can never have enough. Books are a wonderful and inexpensive way to help the classroom library. Not to mention, it’s a great gift that teachers will appreciate. If you already order from Scholastic Book Club, then save a few of the books you earn to give to your colleagues as a gift. You can also purchase books online at Amazon for a great price or check your local listings for book sales in your area.

Technological Gadgets

Technology is the way of the world, and every teacher has some kind of technological device. From smartphones to tablets, your fellow colleagues are sure to have at least one of them. Give the gift of a small gadget like the Roku streaming stick, Fitbug Orb, or the iPod Shuffle, all which can be purchased for under $50. New this year is the Amazon Echo that can now be purchased for as low as $29! Your colleagues would love any of these amazing, inexpensive items.

Magazine Subscription

A great holiday co-worker gift that will not put a whole in your pocket, is to purchase a magazine subscription for your fellow teachers’ classrooms. Classroom magazines are a great source of high-interest nonfiction and help students stay up-to-date with the latest news and information. You can purchase a magazine subscription for as little as $15 for ten issues. Not only will the teacher love the gift, but the students will love the change of not having to use a textbook all the time. If you’re looking for something more personal, then you can purchase a subscription that is tailored to their own specific interests. For example, if you know they are really into fashion, then you can give them a subscription to In Style Magazine, or if you know they love keeping celebrities, you can purchase a magazine subscription for something like US Weekly or In Touch.

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Department Store Gift Card

The best holiday gift that you can give your fellow colleague is a retail store gift card. Gift cards give teachers the opportunity to buy what they need for the classroom, like supplies, stickers, nametags, classroom décor, or books for the library. They also give the individual the opportunity to think of something nice for themselves that doesn’t involve the classroom. It also allows you to choose the denomination of the card, depending upon how much you would like to spend. So if you are living on a budget or have to buy for a lot of colleagues, then you can spend as much as you can afford.

Monthly Subscription Boxes

A unique and fun holiday gift is to give a gift that keeps on giving, literally. A monthly subscription box will show up on the doorstep of the person receiving the gift every month or for as long as you paid for it to. Ipsy and Birchbox are two beauty box companies that only cost $10 a month. Each month, you receive five samples of makeup, skin care, hair care, or style all tailored to you. So if you only wanted to spend $50 on your coworker, then they would receive a personalized box for five months. There are a ton of different companies that do this (all for different dominations), from craft boxes and food boxes to wine clubs, and gift boxes for your pet. There is a monthly subscription box for everyone.

Don’t fret on what or how much to spend on a colleague, any kind gesture will be greatly appreciated. Remember, your gift doesn’t always have to be tangible either. You can give your coworker a break during the day or help them out with their lessons or prep work. Think about what you would to receive as a holiday gift from a colleague, then go from there, that usually is always the best way to decide what to get.

What are you going to buy your coworker this holiday season? Please share your holiday gift ideas in the comment section below, we’d love to hear them.

Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at

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