A-plus teacher gift ideas this holiday season

Home for the Holidays

(GMA) What do you get the person — or people — who spend almost as much time with your kids as you do?

Teachers are some of the hardest people to buy for. What’s the perfect gift for a person who gives so much?

We asked a few teachers to tell us their favorite gifts from students. Gift cards, they said, are always appreciated. But not necessarily to the places you might think.

Gift cards

“I have at least $150 in unused gift cards to Starbucks,” one preschool teacher told us. “I am just not going to go to Starbucks that often.”

Perhaps teachers don’t need as much caffeine as people think?

“Gift cards to Amazon or Target are always the best, especially since teachers usually shop for their own class,” said Lauren Nissan.

Other gift cards ideas: ones with cash value rather than for a specific store, shared one first grade teacher. “I mean you know we are all poor,” she said.

Find out their interests

If a gift card feels too impersonal, try to find out a specific interest and go from there.

“Last year the class moms took a survey of my favorites and I received a lot of cool yoga gear and Athleta gift cards,” Theresa Maisto told “Good Morning America.”

Erin Fisher Glaid loves to cook and bake. “One year the room parent had each student contribute a recipe their family likes to make, and they included all of the recipe books in a cookbook. They gifted it with some baking supplies such as a new cookie sheet and silicone mat,” she said.

Make it practical

If you don’t know any of your child’s teacher’s interests, useful items work too.

“I love the well-thought gift basket,” Catherine White said. “One year my student gave me an insulated lunch tote with snacks and flavored seltzer waters, it was so cute and very practical.”

From the heart

It means a lot to some teachers if the child in their class is involved in purchasing or creation of the gift.

“I work with students with special needs,” said Jaime Openden Sims. “One year a student gave me a book. He told me he asked his mom to take him to the bookstore, and he picked the book out himself because he thought I would like it. I honestly don’t remember the exact book, but I will never forget how genuinely thoughtful that gift was, and how happy he was to give it to me.”

One of Maisto’s most memorable gifts was made for her.

“One of my favorites was a painting that my student made himself. Quality and thoughtful — I will have it in my classroom forever,” she said.

Above all, be appreciative

But the most popular response from the teachers we asked was for notes of appreciation.

“The very best gift a teacher can receive is a letter from the family (if possible parents and child depending on age) explaining what you appreciate about the teacher,” Beth Foraker said. “What does the teacher do that is special to that teacher? What is your child’s favorite thing about the teacher? Those personal appreciations mean so much.”

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