Bad As A Mother

Are you bad as a mother?

Each year, someone inevitably posts the question, “What should I get my child’s teacher this Christmas?” Every post gets no short of 35 comments, all with conflicting information about what teachers want. I mean, it’s a mom’s group. Of course nobody agrees. As a teacher and a mom, I can definitely give you some insider information. And let’s begin with one thing, your child’s teacher doesn’t need any more mugs. Trust me on this one.


If you work at a fancy corporate office, you probably had a pretty awesome holiday party. The party probably included an open bar, some kind of fun secret Santa gift with a $50 minimum, and some killer appetizers. If you are like most teachers, you probably received virtually nothing. Your Christmas party was potluck, meaning that everybody on the staff was responsible for bringing something in. Half the staff forgot. The school budget was $20 so the rest of the food included stale bagels. You see where  am going with this? Most teachers truly appreciate a little decadence around the holidays. What is better than some yummy chocolate? Your gift will get them through those crazy winter months.


Hand Sanitizer:

I can guarantee you that your child’s teacher has been sick at least four times in the past few months. She has had children coughing in her face all day since September. If she works in middle school, they probably aren’t washing their hands after using the restroom either. A gift of hand sanitizer (and I’m talking the monster sized bottle) can’t be beat! She will be forever grateful as the children continue to bring their germs to her classroom each day. If you’re feeling super generous, why not bring her two?

Paper (or any other school supplies):

If your district is struggling with funding issues… Who am I kidding? If she teaches virtually anywhere, she will appreciate just about any kind of school supplies. Imagine the joy of not having to bring in her own paper to make copies. Think of how appreciative she will be when she can avoid spending her entire paycheck on supplies for her students. Trust me on this one.  If the kids are supposed to have it, their teacher most likely supplies it. There isn’t a teacher around who doesn’t get a little bit giddy at the sight of brand new school supplies.


By the time Christmas break rolls around, every teacher at every school is probably sick, exhausted and running low on patience. If you bring them a bottle of wine, they will happily dream about the evening they can enjoy it without any papers to grade. It really doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to contain alcohol. {Please check with your district’s policy on gifting alcohol to teachers. I take no responsibility for your poor judgment}

A heartfelt thank you note:

Remember that day when your child drove you crazy for hours? That pretty much sums up every day in the life of a teacher. Of course, minus the bouts of lost patience. Her tolerance level has to far surpass anything you could imagine. Saying thank you and recognizing her hard work will really make her day. It’s always awesome to know that her hard work has been appreciated!

Tissues or wipes:

It is highly unlikely that every child brought in the requested supplies at the beginning of the year.  Even if that fantasy magic happened, it is more likely that ALL the tissues and wipes were gone by week three of school. If you are thinking about the gift that teachers can make use of fairly quickly, think of tissues. They don’t even have to be the fancy brand with all the lotions. A simple box of Dollar Store tissue would be much appreciated. While you’re at it throwing in a box of super cheap baby wipes would really make her day. If you need further explanation on this gift, please see my section on hand sanitizer.

Dunkin or Starbucks Gift Cards:

You may not know if your child’s teacher is a tea or coffee person, but grabbing a gift card to one of these fine establishments is definitely a win. Don’t get sucked into the holiday mug purchase, however. Save yourself the extra bucks and stick with the gift card. The thought of a warm beverage during the bleak winter months will put a smile on her face. The best part?  These cards are inexpensive and go a long way.

While most teachers aren’t expecting anything from parents, a thoughtful gift or note is always appreciated! Before you buy that mug, be sure to try some of these great alternatives. What are some of your favorite teacher gifts?

This post was originally published on December 6, 2017 and was updated November 6, 2018




4 thoughts on “No More Mugs: What Teachers Really Want for Christmas

  1. This lady is spot on. She must have alot of experience to really know what teachers need. As a teacher myself, I would love those notes more than anything else, esp the ones from the older students themselves not the parents. One year I got a couple cute costume necklaces and earrings from my students which was really nice. I guess they wanted me to revamp my style. Also hand lotion is good too because once you use that sanitizer and chalk too much they get dried out. Lastly you can never go wrong with a DD gift card right badasamother? Wishing all the hard working mom and teachers out there a fabulous holiday season.

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