Are they necessary?
What do teachers really appreciate? (It might not be what you think!)
What if you're on a budget?
How can you acknowledge support staff?
And (since Mike asks!) what my least favourite gift is...though please be assured I really do appreciate the thought, no matter what! (Mike, husband of a teacher, also shares a great gift his wife received!)
By the way, when I sent out a tweet asking for others to share their Christmas gift ideas for teachers, David Smolyn from The Body Shop in Peterborough (@TBS_Ptbo) was quick to tweet back to suggest their "Glazed Apple gift, packaged in a fun and reusable apple inspired tin. Only $20!" Because it can be hard to get people to take the time to reply to tweets, I thought I'd give him a shout-out here!
One popular suggestion we didn't discuss was ornaments. Anything with the year and/or the child's name makes it a real keepsake (sometimes there are kiosks at the mall for personalization), and it can also be neat to select one that is meaningful to the teacher in some way: a guitar for the music teacher, a Montreal Canadiens ornament for the (discerning) hockey fan, etc.
My personal favourites: I start my segment by sharing my very favourite gift - which doesn't cost a penny! However, if you're going to spend money, charitable donations are fabulous (anything that provides food, books or healthcare to kids tops my list), I love gift cards (I don't find them impersonal; I promise - Chapters, Tim's, restaurants, spa, they're all good!) and chocolate never goes to waste at my house. Who am I kidding, it doesn't get past my desk! Quite honestly, I am honoured when families take the time to acknowledge me in any way at Christmas. You can't go wrong!