It’s almost the start of the school year. As summer winds down, your children’s spirits are at an all-time high as they get ready to see their classmates again. Friends will be reunited on the playground. Students will meet their new teachers. Teachers will be meeting parents. Many students will want to show appreciation for the person who will be spending 30 hours a week teaching them. With back to school shopping in full swing, finding the right gift for a teacher without breaking the bank is on the top of the to-do-list. You can find plenty of budget friendly gifts without sending your child up to the teacher’s desk with a shiny apple. Here are some wallet-conscious ideas when thinking about your search for the right thank-you gift.

Gourmet gift basket

Gift baskets can include anything your child’s teacher needs, whether it’s before class, during the day or after the bell rings. That’s especially true of gourmet baskets. A coffee-and-chocolates basket or cookies-and-tea basket provides the pick-me-up teachers need in the middle of the afternoon. Between grading papers and perfecting lesson plans, they rarely have time to order food, let alone prepare a decent lunch. See if your child can find out their teacher’s favorite snacks and find a basket that will suit their tastes. The next time they have noon munchies, all they have to do is reach into their basket. 

Teddy bear gift basket 

If typical gift baskets aren’t your taste, here’s a new spin on it that packages sentiments and plush into one cuddly package. The Serious Teddy Bear has a teddy bear gift basket that is a perfect “thank you” to teachers. You can choose between three hugs (colors), and each one ship’s with a mini book, “Great Teachers Give us Lifelong Gifts,” and bag of happiness charms. It’ll remind them of the impact they have on children, a wonderful way to start the school year.  Plus, it’ll be a cute addition to their classroom decoration and something that future students could enjoy, too. 

Gift card to a coffee and/or tea shop 

Gift cards usually have that “I-couldn’t-think-of-something-so-here’s-my-safe-choice” connotation. But a teacher will be happy for the opportunity for an on-the-go cup of coffee in the morning. Ask your child to find out his or her teacher’s favorite coffee or tea shop. They’ll appreciate the effort you put into thinking about something they enjoy. Teachers spend hours with your children, and another set of hours preparing for the next day. Nothing says “thank you” more than the aroma and energy boost of a few cups of coffee. They’ll toast their morning roast to that. 

Something homemade 

If you really want to add a personal touch, you can never go wrong with the homemade approach. Up the ante by involving the other class moms as well. It’ll help you split both time and resources since the beginning of the school year is a hectic time for everyone. The Thrifty Mama has some great ideas for homemade teacher gifts, including potted flowers, recipe collection book, or baked goods like cupcakes, cookies or brownies. 

Thank you card

Store bought thank you cards are easy to find and sometimes will have a clever message to make a teacher smile. Even better is a homemade card. Encouraging children to create a thank you card not only shows a teacher is valued but helps the teacher get to know the student on a creative level. A homemade card may sit on the teacher’s desk or on a wall for the entire school year. This little token of appreciation instantly creates a connection between teacher and student. 

Teacher appreciation is often reserved for the end of the year after students and parents have had a chance to get to know their educators. This school year let’s show our children’s teachers we are thinking of them by surprising them with a start-of-the-school-year gift. The thought of the gift is what really matters and will make a world of difference. 

Vance Miller is a blogger/writer for The Serious Teddy Bear, whose teddy bear gifts are bound to bring a smile to any face. Vance brings his experience as a father, husband, and outdoors enthusiast to life through his blogs posts.