There's no easy way to say this, so I'll just come straight out with it.
Many teacher gifts that I've received during past holidays have gone straight into my clutter-busting "To Donate" box. My kitchen cabinet only has enough room for so many mugs. I've got more scarves than any one person needs. And my husband doesn't like the smell of most candles. So I pass them all along to someone else who I'm sure will use them and enjoy them.
I appreciate the thoughts and feelings behind the gifts. I really do. But I feel sad that people have spent money on something that I won't be using.
So, in that spirit, I'd like to give you some other ideas, in case you want them. Here are some gifts that I, as a teacher, have used and enjoyed over the years:
New supplies for the classroom. One year, a mom gave our classroom a much-needed white board. Doesn't sound very festive, I know, but that white board helped me so much to teach lessons for the rest of the year. It helped me do my job better and I loved using it. Many classes have wish lists created by the teachers. Anything on there would be well-received, I'm sure. You may think, "But I want to give something to the teacher, not to the classroom." Fair enough.
Gift cards. Even a $5 gift card to a coffee shop will bring warmth to a teacher's heart, especially on the way to work on a cold, dreary morning after the holdidays. Other gift card ideas: book stores, day spas, restaurants, and movie theaters.
Handmade cards from the kids. Sometimes the best gifts are handwritten, or at least hand-drawn. I cherish the children's drawings and their dictated messages inside. I've kept every single one of those. Likewise, a sincere and encouraging note from a parent is a huge gift in and of itself (and fits in any budget). Your support as a parent is truly priceless.