Hot Tips & Topics

We are dedicated to providing you with a comprehensive collection of relevant and up-to-date K-12 education news and editorials. For teachers, by teachers.

Top 12 Best & Worst Holiday Gifts from Students

TeachHUB Blog


Top 12 Best & Worst Holiday Gifts from StudentsAs I learned on the blog last year, teacher gifts can be as surprising as a calm, quiet classroom the Friday afternoon before a vacation. Some gifts you just could never see coming.


Of course, it is so sweet and unnecessary for students or their parents to give teachers gifts during the holiday season. Regardless of what it is, it truly is the thought that counts! We want to share some fun gift stories and some tips for those looking for teacher gifts.


Related Articles
Our tips for using classroom jobs to get students involved in the classroom,...
Teacher and students playing a board game at a table.
When reviewing for a unit or state exam, try to incorporate activities and...
The words higher order thinking spelled out in blocks.
10 teaching strategies to enhance higher-order thinking skills in your students...
Red toolbox with the words word toolbox on it.
Here are 5 teaching strategies for instructing vocabulary words to elementary...
Person drawing a brain on a wall. The brain has the words leadership written on it.
Students need to be taught critical thinking skills, which they will need to...

Outside the Box Teacher Gift Stories

"I got half a bottle of Lady Stetson one year from a kid who stole it from him Mom. I talked to his Mom and she was really filled up though, that her kid wanted to give me something and wasn't mad that he took the cologne. She told me that I had to keep it. I put a little on at school that day so the kid could smell it on me--I was one fragrant man that day!" - Mike


"I love consumable gifts. Funny enough I just had one student ask which was my favorite: green tea or cocoa. Right away another student asked if I like Hedgehog chocolates. I wonder what I'm getting? Yummy" - Classroom Queen


"Best gift: by far home-made tamales. I get them every year.  Worst gift: a calendar with cute puppies." - John Spencer


"Best gift? Six pack of Diet Coke. Worst gift? A 10 pound bar of milk chocolate. I was sick for weeks." - Anonymous


"Anything even remotely personal is extra special---even the stuff that relates to my classroom theme is thoughtful. And heck, i just like presents!!! It really is the thought that counts with these guys. I like the cards and notes that go with the presents too. And those xmas tamales--yummy!"


Now that we've had a giggle and heard about some unexpected gifts, why not put a new spin on your typical go-to teacher gifts.

Here are some fun twists to the Top 12 Go-To Teacher Gifts


Gift Cards 

  • Restaurants and coffee cards
  • Books & School Supplies
  • Spa certificates


One of my teacher friends coasts on her holiday gift cards (Panera, Starbucks, Target, you name it) that she gets from her students every year at Christmas... for months. Gotta love working at a private school in an upper middle class neighborhood. The pay isn't through the roof, but there certainly are some perks. 


Most teachers I know don't make out nearly as well, at least in gross cash value. 


Homemade Creations

  • Cards
  • Holiday-themed art projects



These homemade knickknacks are mostly from the littler kids and come with a built-in heartwarming factor. What's great about these gifts is that they're unique and personal!


Your fellow teachers can get in on the action too. Assign your class to write a thank you letter to another teacher in the school. Ask them to be specific about what they appreciate and enjoy about him/her. That'll be something to hold on to for those rough days during the second half of the school year.

The Gift of Good Smells

  • Candles
  • Lotion                              


This category encompasses all things Bath and Body, which are hit or miss depending on the smell. (Even opening a cucumber melon lotion from three blocks away makes me nauseous).


Pinterest has a fun of cool ideas about how make-your-own candles or personalize them as gifts in fun, new ways. That can de-stigmatize this standard gift.


Tasty Treats

  • Candy
  • Cookies or other Baked Goods


Foody gifts are always fun and an easy go-to for budget-friendly gift. They're sweet at first, but they may come back to bite you in the, significantly larger than in November, behind. 


To keep from inundating the teacher with mountains of fatty snacks, try giving him/her an individual fun holiday cookies or treats or a small package with just a few. It's still sweet, but won't overwhelm him/her with an extire box of goodies PER student. The holiday cookies in a jar are also a fun treat that can be saved until after the holiday season.


Holiday Decor

  • Christmas-themed ornaments
  • Snowmen & Santa knicknacks


I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff, which has a way of being unusually cute... but veteran teachers may be running out of places to put them.


Last year, my mom's entire basement was overrun with snowmen on every available surface. It was like they were building an army and rising up against the impending spring. The snowball war is coming, so watch out.


Forget Jack Frost, You Got Jack Squat 

  • Zip
  • Zilch                                
  • Nada


And then you've got the saddest gift of all....nothing (which most high school and city teachers I know are looking forward to this year).


Maybe you should hint to students that gifts don't have to be materialistic. Simply ask them for their best behavior AND best effort on their schoolwork. That would be the greatest gift of all!

What is the best or worst gift you've gotten from a student? Share in the comments section!