As the month is drawing to an end, we’ll wind up our series with the easiest $5 gifts to get – teachers and hostesses. $5 does actually go a long way in this category. The problem is more what to do with those $5.
In my experience, for the teacher in your life, you may want to avoid DIY gifts. If you are an incredible crafter or are just dying to make one anyway, go for it, but if you want to get them something they’ll really like – check out some of my suggestions down in the $5 or under section instead.
Personally, I’m not a teacher, but most of my friends have gone on to that profession, and whenever you put two teachers in a room together, they talk about teaching. I have heard more about teaching than I ever really cared to know – but one thing that stood out was many of my friends take on baked goods: just don’t. Unless you’ve worked closely with the teacher for a while and your child is generally a very clean kid, that teacher is unlikely to be comfortable taking food from you. Honestly, if you’re the kind of parent to bake cookies and treats, you’re probably not the reason he or she has this rule – but some homes are a little less than sanitary and the teacher in your life may not know for sure that your home is not a cesspool. I wouldn’t guarantee this is a 100% universal rule, but it does apply to every teacher I’ve met so far.
Also, lots of teacher crafts and knick knacks are apple and pencil shaped and not exactly stuff you’d want to clutter your house with (how much do you want to be reminded of work at home?). Take a look around your teacher’s classroom and see if it’s already completely be-decked with teacher quotes and mugs and pencil holders and framed handprints from kids now in their 20s – this is a teacher who really does not need another DIY gift. Younger teachers just starting out are likely to find all the cheesy teacher gifts a lot cuter than a 30 year veteran who is now trying to figure out how she’s going to regift your large decorative ruler.
That being said, for you crafty folks, here are some DIY ideas for friends and the people you’re looking to say “thank you” to during this season:
1.) For the Men – a cool mustache inspired (because everything is now) candy or bobbles & bits jar. You can pick up a sheet of glass etching here for $1.50 and then repurpose a spaghetti jar (or splurge on a new mason jar – should still come in under $5). You can cut out the letters the same way she made the mustache, if you don’t have a fancy letter cutter.
2.) Pamper Yourself Gift Jars – not only is the tutorial on how to put these together clear, the woman who wrote it broke down how to find each item in a way that keeps these under $5. Awesome.
3.) A Great Group Gift – compiling a book like this is sure to put a smile on the teacher’s face, but requires a group effort. You can skip the Quote Stacks (although they are cool) or keep an eye out for deals – I’ve seen them as low as $3.50 – especially on eBay after someone has already torn out a few.
4.) For the Host You Don’t Really Know – these DIY serving spoons are super cute. You can get neon acrylic paints for $1-$1.50 here and a set of wooden spoons for $3 here (you might even find them at the Dollar Tree).
Just looking to spend $5 and be done with it?
1.) Gift Cards – I keep coming back to this, but they are pretty universally loved AND there’s nothing cheap about just getting your favorite teacher a $5 gift card. Many teachers are powered by caffeine, so a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts gift card is often a safe choice.
2.) Wrapping Paper – this super practical gift is sure to be a hit. Who doesn’t love something that they actually need? Pick up a roll of wrapping paper and a tape dispenser, add a ribbon and this cute printable here and you’re good to go.
3.) Soap or Hand Sanitizer – tie this printable onto a bottle of soap or hand sanitizer and you’re good to go. The same teacher friends who are squicky about baked goods love getting these (go figure). Help them save their own out of pocket money since the school doesn’t supply them and pretty much every teacher has one on their desk at all times. It’s a great hostess gift too!
4.) Cute Coasters – if you have a little time to plan ahead, you can order all sorts of cute gifts for under $5 on Etsy, but some of my favorite are the assorted coasters (like these or these)– great for hostesses and teachers. Etsy has such a wide variety that if you know anything about the person’s tastes or decorating scheme, you can probably find coasters under $5 to compliment it.
Don’t forget that the idea behind these gifts is just a way of saying thanks – thanks for the party, thanks for forcing math into my child’s brain, thanks for Sunday School lessons, whatever. Most teachers agree that presents aren’t even necessary – a pretty universal and free gift that they all love is a sincere thank you note that they can reread on days when they’re wondering why they chose that profession. Even hostess gifts are becoming a voluntary rather than expected thing – I know that if I were throwing a party, I’d just be happy to have people there.
For more tips and tricks to keep your holiday budget under wraps enter my raffle for a copy of Jason Anderson’s Zero Budget Christmas and a bottle of ModPodge (I think this is the first post all month that didn’t have a DIY project that required it!):
brokeGIRLrich readers, what’s the weirdest gift you ever received?