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Creative ideas for end-of-year teacher gifts

apple booksWith the end of the academic year approaching, the race is on to finalise a thank-you gift for the teacher that's a bit more than a piece of fruit.

Most parents will be happy to pool contributions to get something significant. And while this is a great idea, it’s actually fraught with bureaucratic conditions. Many schools now demand that teachers declare gifts over a certain value (it varies from £20 to £50) as an anti-bribery measure or must give/throw them away. Worse, a large gift could be taxable. Gifts worth over £250 in the form of vouchers (especially for a service like a spa weekend) are particularly vulnerable.

The alternative, which sees each child bringing in a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine, could be a bit overwhelming, especially if the teacher is on a diet or, worse, doesn’t drink. Flowers too might be inappropriate if your teacher is about to dash off on holiday.

A quick perusal online of what teachers really like is revealing. Many say they don’t want expensive stuff or shop-bought ‘Number One Teacher’ tat and a simple thank-you card is enough. Something home-made (especially by the child) is generally prized, although food gifts can be problematic. So here are some lovely SMM ideas for the perfect teacher present. Just one word of warning though: it may take more time than buying an Amazon voucher.

1. Photographic memories
Get every member of the class to email a photograph of themselves to you and create a photobook online (see www.photobox.co.uk, for example). If it’s too expensive, print out the photos yourself and stick them in a scrapbook.

2. Personalised stationery
You can get your teacher’s name emblazoned across pencils, pens, post-it notes and all sorts of teaching aids for less than £10. Check out www.etsy.com and www.notonthehighstreet.com. Also, jam-jars of highlighter pens or Sharpies with a message (‘you’ve been the highlight of the year’ or ‘you made a mark’) could be winners.

3. A class hamper
Ask each child to contribute one food or drink item he or she thinks the teacher would enjoy. The hamper doesn’t need to be wicker: use a large cardboard box and get the children to decorate it.

4. Gift card bouquet
Get lots of different gift cards for small amounts of money (£10 or £20) from the class and attach each to a paper cut-out of a flower. Glue to a stick, bundle together and wrap completed ‘roses’ in tissue paper. Splitting collected money in this way helps get around potential tax or declaration rules and is a bit more interesting than just handing over M&S vouchers. If you can’t afford the cards, get each child to write a thank-you and stick it to the flowers instead.

5. Create a recipe book
Collect handwritten versions of each child’s favourite recipe and stick into a scrapbook. Drawings of the dish and/or photos can be added!

6. Pots of love
Cut equal strips of different coloured paper and get each child to write a message on each one. Roll up tightly and secure, then pack all the little scrolls into a decorated jam-jar.

Failing all of the above, just ask the teacher what he or she would like and work from there!

Got any great ideas for end-of-year gifts? Share them on our SMM forum here.

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Thursday, 13 December 2018