Oh, the holidays. So many expenses, and so little time! I have always found it frustrating to buy holiday gifts for teachers, secretaries, and other school staff. My budget isn't enormous, and there are so many of them that even a $10 gift per person ends up being an enormous amount of money. On the other hand, I want them to know that their efforts are appreciated! At one point, I had four kids in elementary school - I think we gave out about 20 gifts to people who worked in the school. Over the years, I've finally figured out a few go-to presents that I feel happy to give and won't break the bank.
Hand Soap and Hand SanitizerI know that some people shy away from fragranced things, but there are some seriously non-offense, yet gifty-type hand soaps and hand sanitizers out there. I signed up with Bath and Body Works to receive their coupons via email and regular mail. I'd then keep an eye out for sales, like six for $24. Combined with the coupons, I can get them for around $3 a bottle. One is perfect for the nurse, secretaries, and other staff that you don't deal with every day, two or more for teachers. You know teachers use a LOT of soap and hand sanitizer, so these won't go to waste. (And, worse case scenario, Bath and Body Works products are super-easy to regift.)
School SuppliesYou know your child's teachers and their classrooms - what items are consumable? Teachers spend a ridiculous amount of their own money on classroom supplies. What could you buy to help that? Post-it notes, dry erase markers, chalk (if they use it), or tissues are all relatively safe choices.
Personalized PencilsIt sounds silly, but I think it's pretty smart. You can get dozens of pencils for less than $20, and larger quantities are even cheaper. Teachers are always loaning out pencils, and personalized ones are more likely to get returned.
Classroom BooksTeachers are frequently looking for new books for their classrooms. They may have a wish list at the school book fair, or the flyers that come home often have gift certificate options. Another choice is to give YOUR childhood favorite to be shared with future years.
I'm sure some of you have come up with amazing gifts for teachers that won't break the bank. We'd all love to hear! Please share in the comments.