Here is a grab bag of ideas for teachers, helpers, coworkers and others... most able to bepicked up or ordered last minute...
For those with a family:
1- How about making a filling a holiday bag with an assortment of holiday paper plates, napkins, plasticware, etc. to reduce the stress at home for the people who are working for you and still facing holiday stuff and responsibilities at home?
2- How about a gift certificate to a photo store for a family portrait?
For those with a known indulgence:
3- If you have kept your eyes and ears open you may know that your teacher [like me] cannot resist orange skittles, or maybe loves to go to the movies. One of my favorite gifts from a student was a gift certificate good for three evenings of relaxation at the movies and a ziplock bag filled with ALL orange skittles! It showed me that they had paid attention to me as a person, not just as a teacher and that they wanted me to be able to indulge myself. [I have no idea how long it took to sort out just the orange skittles!]
4- Listen for clues an find a gift to match their personal interests... Would they love a chance to shop at a garden store? A sports store? Have a membership, pass or gift card for a local museum, fun park, golf course, bowling alley, or other attraction?
For computer/tech lovers:
5- Give them the fun of shopping for something special... whether an apple gift card for those who may have loved Apples since the Macintosh days, or one for a computer and game store to buy that longed for Wii or Playstation or Xbox accessory or game.
6- How about a gift of participation such as credits for entertainment sites such as audible.com [audio books] or netflix, or bargain sites like groupon or living social??
When in doubt:
7- Almost always safe gift certificates for teachers are those to a book store for readers or an office store...places that often eat up large portions of a teacher's discretionary spending.
8- In this day and struggling economy gift certificates for food stores, bakeries, even for electricity can be truly helpful and no longer are considered inappropriate.
No more excuses... get going. Make a connection and go for it! There's still time...
I am a lifelong educator, writer and author, a foster, bio, and adoptive parent, happy mom of five daughters, Grandma to six, Nana to four, and church and theater musician. Oh yes, and all-round optimistic, crazy lady.