15 Free & Budget Gift Ideas for Teachers

Have you noticed how children have more and more teachers now? Your child may be in a pre-school or nursery where there are 6-8 teachers who all interact with your child. Even in an infants school, there could be up to 6 teachers and assistants.

Having lots of staff is lovely for your children as they get to interact with lots of different personalities which builds their confidence. But as parents, it can add additional stress and expense at Christmas time or at the end of the school year.

Are you trying to decide what to buy, who to buy for and where you are going to find the extra budget? Here are 15 free and cheap gift ideas of what to give teachers, friends or family when you’re on a budget.

thank you text on a blackboard with vintage phone in background
15 Free & Budget Ideas for Teachers’ Gifts

I am a member of a couple of frugal forums and each year I see literally hundreds of parents getting really upset and worried about what to buy.

Firstly I’d like to assure you that teachers do not expect anything and certainly wouldn’t want to cause you any additional upset at what can already be a stressful and expensive time. I won’t pretend that we don’t enjoy the odd treat but a heartfelt thank you is just as welcome.

If you really do feel that you would like to give something here are a few ideas that can be free, on a budget or cost whatever your budget allows.


A hand made card from your child
A thank you note from your child
A thank you note from you as a parent
A picture or note from your child saying what they like best about school
A picture or note from your child saying why they like their teacher
A hand drawn or painted portrait of the teacher (by the child) on a card or poster
A hand drawn or painted self portrait by the child on a card or poster
Plants that you have grown yourself
Your child could decorate a pebble/rock
Your time – with school budgets stretched they always need help with reading, gardening, baking, PTA, school trips, etc.


A small box of sweets, chocolates or biscuits to the staff as a whole (from £1)
A pot plant for the staff room or washrooms (poinsettias are only £1.50)
A Christmas bauble or hanging star * (£1 or less)
A new storybook for the class (can be bought from a £1 shop or better still a charity shop)


A group collection from the parents to all the class staff. Passing an envelope around in the playground takes the pressure off as people can add in whatever amount they would like to without feeling judged.


Of course, you don’t have to show your appreciation at Christmas when time and finances are already stretched. Why not just give a small gift at a random time during the school year. I personally like the act of giving at a time that it’s not expected or anticipated.

* I have received Christmas baubles as gifts in the past. It is really lovely to think of the giver each year when we put our tree up, and this is something that I’ve given to friends too as alternatives to Christmas cards.  It’s so nice to be a part of each other’s Christmas traditions and I can honestly say these have been amongst my favourite gifts to receive.

And of course, if you’re a savvy shopper you could buy these in the sales after Christmas for the following year for less than 50p each or even 50p for a whole box of plain ones which your child could then decorate.

You might also be interested to read:

* How to Give to Charity for Free or on a Budget
* 28 Random Acts of Kindness

And there are plenty more money saving ideas in my Top Tips & How to section.

stormy pink sky sun setting over the ocean





10 thoughts on “15 Free & Budget Gift Ideas for Teachers

  1. The bottles of wine and the chocolates are nice admittedly but it’s always the cards (especially the hand made ones) that are most special. It’s lovely to stumble upon them occasionally and think of the successes of that child over the years….and these memories last longer than the chocolates!!!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I had t even thought what to get our teacher yet… I think they usually appreciate a bottle of wine after all their hard work, and as a non wine drinker I just recycle a bottle I’ve been given myself! Is that bad…?

    Liked by 3 people

    • Not at all. I’m all for regifting or donating onto somewhere else. You’re never going to find something suitable for everyone which is another reason why I made this list. Most teachers will not want you wasting your money when budget is stretched as it is.

      Liked by 2 people

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