Teachers are pretty much our saving grace, but with the hecticness of the holiday season (and multiple teachers to thank) it can get tricky to pull of DIY projects or not blow your budget. The secret? Pair up simple, affordable items from the grocery aisles to make it extra-special. Just add a homemade card or note from the kids and you are good to go. Scroll down to get our favorite ideas.
Tea & Biscuits
A beautiful box of tea is always a lovely gift, but you can one-up the package by adding a box of simple cookies in the English biscuit style: We love green tea and ginger snaps; black tea and lemon thins; chai and snickerdoodles, but there’s really no wrong pairing here!
Flowers & a Reusable Tote Bag
Don't just give flowers and call it a day—the simple addition of sending them in a reusable tote makes the gift both beautiful and practical, long after the stem fades.
Gift Card & Donuts
A gift card is always a welcome item, but you can up the joy by pairing it with a few donuts. Who doesn't like donuts, right? Try and find a gift card for somewhere special—teachers always spend their own money on school supplies so skip the Target or Amazon cards and go for a local restaurant or coffee house where they can really treat themselves. Or give them a grocery gift card so they can spend the money on special supplies (or wine) for the holidays.
Wine & a (Trashy) Novel
Let your kiddo's teacher know that you want them to really relax and unwind over the winter break by combining two of the world's greatest decompression tools: wine and novels. Most grocery stores have the latest paperback sensation and a bodice-ripper might not be as looked-down on as you'd think. It makes for an adorable gift pairing, that's for sure.
Real Vanilla Beans & Cocoa (& Marshmallows!)
The whole cocoa and marshmallows thing is great, but why not up your game by adding either real, vanilla extract or the actual whole vanilla beans to the gift bag? Drop in a high-quality powdered chocolate to the gift bag, marshmallows and maybe some cinnamon sticks too.
Tip: If you slice open a vanilla bean and place in on a tray in your oven at a lower temp for 30-45 minutes, you'll get a house that smells like cookies without having to bake!
Sparkling Water & Lemons
You can’t go wrong with a bottle of fancy bubble water: look for one in a glass jar to make it uber-special and then add a few fresh lemons to the mix. Paired together in a small basket, this simple gesture is cheerful and healthy at the same time.
Reusable Water Bottle & Cash (or Gift Card)
Snag a high-quality reusable water bottle for your favorite teacher and put a little hidden surprise inside. You can also add some candy and a sweet note.
Champagne & Alka Seltzer
Give the gift of celebration and recovery! Assuming your teacher partakes in a glass or two on the weekends, a nice bottle of wine or champagne is always a treat. Add box of effervescent relief of a different kind and you can make it a funny-but-practical gift, too. Warning: do not give this gift if you or your giftee do not have a sense of humor.
Chocolate & Magazines
Whether it’s a box of chocolates or your favorite local artisan bar, give the gift of “treat yo’self” directly to your favorite teacher by pairing chocolate (or another candy) with fun magazines. Choose 3-4 of the latest issues on a couple different subjects: if you know your teacher’s hobbies you can tailor the stack or just go for general coolness (House Beautiful; Conde Naste Travel; National Geographic). Tie the magazine stack together with twine and tuck the chocolate bar inside.
Honey & Goat Cheese
Eating local honey is said to be good for staving off illness and allergies, and the soothing properties for a teacher’s throat after a day in the classroom can’t be beat. Take this treat from sweet to indulgent by adding a nice round of goat cheese: bonus props if you can find the kind with edible wildflowers pressed in.
Lemon Curd & Crumpets
For a proper tea time, package a nice lemon curd or jam with traditional crumpets. If your grocery store doesn’t have crumpets, you can opt for a nice English muffin or a packet of scones.
Balsamic Vinegar & Strawberries
It’s hard to go wrong with fresh fruit, especially something as perfect as strawberries but you can elevate that little basket with a simple addition. Include a small bottle of an aged balsamic vinegar. If you’re feeling up for it, try writing onto an index card this simple recipe for marinated strawberries. It’s shockingly delicious.
Candy & Mason Jar
Help teach keep her blood sugar up in the afternoons with a sweet gift in a reusable jar! Also, gummy worms + blue Ball jar = the perfect gift. Any kind of Mason or Ball jar will do, of course. Just fill it up with colorful bulk candy such as gummies, individually wrapped caramels, Jelly Bellys, licorice, etc. You can buy a set of jars and make these gifts for all the teachers in your life.
Sea Salt & Olive Oil
A nice coarse sea salt is a handy kitchen item: some grocery stores sell them in bulk and include Hawaiian red clay; pink Himalayan salt and more. Choose your favorite and then snag a bottle of olive oil to go with: look for an extra-virgin and stick to a smaller bottle so you don’t break your bank.
Coffee & Raw Sugar
For many teachers, coffee goes with everything (especially grading papers and report cards) but even if you didn’t have time to paint a mug in advance you can still pair a pound of coffee with something spectacular. Look in the sugar aisle for a nice raw sugar, cane sugar or turbinado sugar.
Apples & Brie
The traditional teacher gift of a shiny red apple gets an upgrade when you place a triple-cream brie in the mix. It’s a simple pairing that never goes wrong: we’re pretty sure if your teacher doesn’t like brie there’s someone in his house who does.
Vodka & Olives
This one is only for a teacher you know well enough to know that she drinks vodka! You don’t have to go top shelf, just make sure to steer clear of the bottom shelf. Grab some queen stuffed olives for her martini mixer and you may just become the most popular parent on campus.
Crusty Bread & Olive Tapenade
You can grab this one the night before or even the morning-of gift giving because the fresher the bread the better. Choose a crusty, rich loaf and then pair with a spreadable olive tapenade. You can also look for a rich roasted red pepper version, or opt for artichokes. The point is, give them something delicious to spread on their bread that screams “special occasion” and not mayo.
Fresh Oranges & Tissue
Fight cold and flu season (which is year round for teachers!) with a big basket of fresh oranges. Add in a box of tissue (go for the kind with lotion infused in a fancy-patterned box) and you’ll not only give them a chuckle, you’ll actually give them something they will use. Like, right away.
Epsom Salts & Cupcakes
There’s self-soothing, and then there is self-soothing. Put the epsom salts in a beautiful jar (ahem, Mason jars to the rescue again!) with a tag that says what the contents are (bath salts) for soothing weary muscles and then get a package of mini-cupcakes or bite-sized brownies. Tell your teacher to take a bath and eat a brownie, because they deserve it!
featured image: neONBRAND via Unsplash