5 Staff Gift Ideas that Won't Break the Bank!

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I don’t know about you all, but every year I think (incorrectly) that I have a good handle on my holiday shopping. I make the list of all of the people I plan to buy presents for, and I think I’ve covered all of my bases. Family members, students, friends, hostess gifts, my principal, etc. etc. etc. But EVERY YEAR, without fail, there arises a need to buy far more presents than I originally planned on.

Working at a school makes it extra tough. There are a LOT of people working in one building, and no one can argue that anyone isn’t doing a lot of life-changing work and deserves recognition. However, the recognition around the holidays isn’t always fairly distributed, and it often falls on teams of teachers to provide gifts for other school professionals who won’t be receiving gifts from parents. This sounds fair on paper, but when you consider the room mom gifts, classroom volunteer gifts, student presents, and supplies for students to make presents for each of their parents…adding on gifts for the office staff, paraprofessionals, or whomever else gets added onto your list at the last minute can make you feel like you’re going into debt on just one holiday!

Now, this is the season of giving, so I am not advocating that you flat out refuse to give presents when the rest of your team wants to give a gift or two to some people in your building, or to each other. But, in an effort to be both thoughtful and cost-effective, I’ve gathered 5 gift ideas that won’t add too much stress to your wallet! That way, you can stay jolly this holiday season and not feel like Scrooge every time a new gift obligation gets added to your list!


This is the first one that comes to mind, because it never fails. In my classroom, I have TAs, some regular parent volunteers, and a few other “miscellaneous” people who make an impact on the success of my classroom, and I certainly want to thank. Something home-baked is thoughtful and it shows that you care, but it allows you to buy a few ingredients in large batches and make several gifts at once. This year, I bought some paper bags, printed some stickers that say “Love, The Sutherlands”, and bought some festive red and white twine. I plan to make several baked goody bags to pass out the last week of school before our break, and it will cost me very little (financially or emotionally) to do!

If the people on your list are educators in any sense…even if they aren’t general ed classroom teachers, they likely are shopping on TPT and would love a few dollars off of their wish lists! If you’re a TPT shopper, you know how far even as little as $5 can take you. The best part is that you can simply email these gift cards to your co-workers on the last day of school before your break! No packaging required…unless you have an adorable family Christmas card you’re trying to show off this year, and in that case I say the print that sucker and stuff it in the envelope with the card, because we all know how much stress you already underwent to get the perfect picture and design the perfect card. 😉

If your last minute gift-receivers happen to appreciate a good wine or craft beer, it can be the perfect gift. I literally always appreciate a bottle of wine as a present! It’s just so practical. I will definitely use it, and you just saved me some money off of my next grocery bill, because I was likely going to buy a bottle for my own home anyways!

If you have people in your life who feel the same way, do a little digging to figure out what their favorites are, and pick up a bottle or two. Wine makes a great hostess gift too, for all of those holiday party invitations you’ll get that you don’t want to show up empty-handed for!

If you want to take this gift to the next level, slap a cute label on it with a note of appreciation! My friend Kelly Anne from Apple Slices, LLC. sells some super-cute ones! Just print, stick, and tie a bow on the top of the bottle! Easy-peezy.

This seems too obvious to even write. If you want to give something adorable, but don’t want to spend a fortune, you should go to the Dollar Spot. Just this week I saw travel mugs with precious phrases on them, art supplies, hand-lettering pens, holiday decor, candles, letter boards, and so many other things that make the perfect quick gift for someone in your building! With everything being $5 or less, there are a lot of creative gift baskets you could put together for very little. (They also have adorable plaid baskets and hundreds of gift bags right now…so you can even buy the packaging for your gift! All without wandering away from the front of the store!)

Just think about how many office supplies you can buy in sets and divide up: flair pens, sticky notes, cute paper clips, etc. etc. Novetly desk supplies rarely come as just a set of one. Buy several sets of the cutest desk accessories you can find, and then open the packaging up and divide them up into goody bags. You can create four or five identical gifts that way: perfect for teammates, your office staff, the other teachers who may be in and out of your room (think: gifted teacher, instructional coaches, speech teacher, etc.), or whomever else makes an impact on your daily life!

I hope this list helps you as you cross items off of your holiday shopping list! You don’t have to spend a ton to give a gift that someone will use and appreciate! Also, if your gifts are all ready to go, you may need some cute cards to go with them! You can use these staff appreciation cards to make the outside of your gift adorable, and take the time to write a sweet note, which makes the gift even more meaningful!