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Practical, Useful & Long-Lasting Teacher Appreciation Gifts

"A towel... is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. ... It has great practical value."
Douglas Adams (1952-2001),
author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Chocolates, cookies and beautiful flowers are great gifts, but sadly they don't last. Instead, you may wish to give your teacher something useful and practical that he or she can continue to use in daily life long after the chocolates are eaten and the flowers have wilted. Alternatively consider the various ways that you can make a meaningful donation in your teacher's name.
When searching for a practical gift for your teacher something that won't get used up quickly or gather dust on a shelf consider what you know about your teacher's interests and lifestyle. Does he or she have pets? Love to cook? Play sports?

Once you start to think about the tools and equipment associated with these interests you should be able to come up with plenty of gift ideas.

Or you may feel that rather than a 'thing', your teacher would most appreciate a donation to charity. He or she may already support a particular charity, but if not there are plenty of imaginative and meaningful donation programs available.

Here are 10 ideas for teacher gifts with lasting value:

1. Quality pen

A great quality pen is a classy gift practical, useful and with a touch of glamour too. While fountain pens are traditional, something more user-friendly is preferable for most of us, so consider a multifunction pen such as the Cross Tech 3+ or the Fisher Space Pen.

2. Cards or mouse pads

A box of classic, nice quality correspondence or note cards is an attractive gift that is always useful to have. Choose a simple classic style, suitable for all occasions. Or, if your teacher doesn't write by hand, how about a teacher mouse pad perhaps personalized, or check out Etsy (and Folksy in Europe) for a huge variety of fun, colorful and artistic mats.

3. Coffee or tea

Coffee beans and a grinder are a step up from a Starbucks gift card, and will last longer too. Or perhaps your teacher prefers to drink tea, in which case a cute teapot, teacup and saucer set (vintage or something more modern, depending on your teacher's taste) might be just the thing.

4. Mugs or coasters

Thank You Teacher Gift: coasters made from recycled dollar billsThe MoMA Design store's coasters made from recycled dollar bills
Most teachers have received plenty of mugs over the years, but that's because they're a great gift practical and attractive too! Look for pretty ceramic mug and coaster sets, or a set of drinks coasters in glass, ceramic or even recycled materials (I love MoMA's coasters made from recycled dollar bills - sadly they seem to be no longer available). Alternatively hand paint a plain white mug with your own design or a teacher appreciation & thank you quote.

5. Herbs and spices

Herbs and spices are always handy for a keen cook look for spice sets in pretty bottles or containers, or plant up some herbs in pots (use acrylic paint to decorate them with the name of each herb, or tie them with ribbons and bows).

Thank You Teacher Gift: Pedometer

6. Pedometer

A pedometer counts your footsteps it's a great tool for anyone interested in their health and fitness, fun to use, and a great motivator too!

7. Seasonal decorations

Seasonal decorations make wonderful gifts as they don't need shelf-space year round, but can be brought out and enjoyed year after year. The widest choice of decorations and trinkets, of course, relates to Christmas, however spring and fall offer plenty of scope for attractive items too.

8. Magazine subscription

A magazine subscription is a gift that continues to give throughout the year. Popular titles such as National Geographic and Time Magazine are obvious choices, but consider what your teacher is interested in there are thousands of publications catering to every possible hobby and pastime.

9. 'Adoption'

Is your teacher a bibliophile or avid reader? Then he or she may appreciate having a rare or historic book 'adopted' in his or her name. Many local, university and national libraries run Adopt-a-Book Programs, allowing you to select a personalized book to be adopted in your teacher's name.

Alternatively, if your teacher is an animal lover, check out the adoption programs run by zoos, wildlife parks and conservation foundations and charities.

10. Donation to charity

Teacher Thank You Gift: Kiva Loans
While not 'practical' in the sense that your teacher can use it him- or herself, a donation to charity given in your teacher's name will be of enormous use to someone in difficult circumstances. Heifer International invites you to donate to 'feed a family in need' in a developing country by donating livestock, while a KIVA Gift Card allows your teacher to select and support an entrepreneur who is unable to access other sources of funding. A donation in your teacher's name to a local charity would also be a meaningful gift.

More about Thanking Teachers:

100 Teacher Thank You Gift Ideas:

Writing Teacher Thank You Letters, Notes & Cards: