Teacher gift ideas for retirement or end of year

The end of the school year is rapidly approaching, words which bring a smile to many faces. I have had a slew of emails asking about teacher gift ideas for retirement or end of year. This surprised me but I am glad to help.

If you have a teacher that has really gone above and beyond for you, the idea of gift is an incredibly gracious gesture.

End of year gifts

1. Salon gift cards - teachers love an indulgence like this. Who doesn't like to get their hair or nails ship shape?

2. Supplies not covered by school - teachers are taking stock of their supplies and if they're lucky putting in orders for replenishments. For example, many districts no longer cover felt tip pens, teachers love them.

3. Restaurant gift cards - I had a dad make a special visit to give me a lavish gift card and thank me for the two years I had taught his son. He said that in his life he had often looked back and wished he had shown his appreciation more and he wanted to be sure it didn't happen this time. I will never forget it as it was a restaurant we could have never afforded.

4. Tickets to summer activities - I am a Cubs fan and a student once gave me 4 of her family's tickets plus a parking pass. I still have the picture, it was quite an amazing gift.

5. Movie gift cards - Teachers aren't grading papers every night, they can go out now. Summer movies are fun or they can make it last the whole year.

6. Memberships - If there are museums, water parks, cultural attractions or other members only places near you, teachers would love to go there and bring their families.

7. As always, a sincere thank you note is often the best gift of all.

Retirement gifts

Retirement is usually handled differently in each individual district. Some have group celebrations, others are by buildings and still others are different for each person. Make sure you know what the policy is for your school.

1. Travel gifts - As a department and as a team, I have contributed to travel gifts as many teachers and principals have travel plans. Suitcases, digital cameras, photo albums and gift certificates to photo sites all work perfectly combined with a "tip" pack of Euros or other local currency.

2. Favorite treat - I've also contributed to wine of the month gift certificates combined with a couple of wine glasses. Beer with stein, fruit with a basket or even socks all have monthly or seasonal gifts that can arrive throughout the year. What is the retiree's favorite indulgence?

3. Keep on learning gifts - Teachers love to learn and are planning on new hobbies in retirement. Rosetta stone, knitting books, wood working tool or cooking lessons help them expand their horizons.

4. Family gifts - Some retirees just want to focus on their family. Help with genealogical studies or a gift certificate for a family portrait would make them happy. If there is a children's museum in your town, there might be grandparents' memberships available.

5. Technology - Some teachers might be turning in a district lap top. A Kindle fire or new lap top might be just the ticket. If there is finally time to polish their skills, a gift card for help from the Geek Squad would be perfect.

6. Personal is always better - I got crystal gifts from the district and principal, everyone did. I am not a crystal kind of gal. I would have rather had the money go to a food pantry. It's a great idea to give that kind of option. Same gift for everyone is fair, I agree. But it's never anybody's favorite.

7. Quilts - I get emails and requests to make quilts, which I have to decline. If you would like to give a t-shirt quilt to a teacher or administrator, check out Project Repat. They'll do it for you.

8. Nature lovers - New binoculars to watch birds might be just the thing.  A membership to a state or national park is often welcome.  Gift certificate to a running store might save the feet of your loved retiree.380489_2414838726631_1968114400_n

9. Careful - No pets, I repeat, no pets. I was in a building where a principal was given a puppy and there was no end to the problems it caused. NO PETS!

28718_1481810048913_5582943_n10. Make it fit - Disney princess tiara for me really wasn't my idea of fabulous. And I am holding the crystal bowl.  However, I was just happy to be retiring and remembered.

When I retired my daughter threw me a surprise retirement party and I got lots of gift certificates to quilt stores, coffee shops, tea stores and book stores. Why? Because I love all those things and people wanted me to have a great retirement, which I am. It meant a lot that they knew what I liked.

Quilting and sewing plus writing about them have made my retirement sew darn happy!

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I wrote a post last November for teacher gift ideas around the holidays. You can read it here.

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    Kathy Mathews

    My passions are quilting and sewing. Add to that French, Spanish, books, swimming, travels, new restaurants, biking and chocolate and you have me. All of these are best shared with family and friends. Except for chocolate, I prefer not to share that.

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