Last-Minute Teacher Gifts

If you’re like me and your kids have what feels like 8,000 teachers (or if you homeschool, consider this a gift to yourself) then you understand the importance of nice, frugal, easy-to-buy gifts. These can be for your teachers, the mail carrier, the UPS man (he’s like family, here), neighbors, specialists/therapists and good friends. You can check out what we gave our teachers last year, but don’t blame me if you gain a few pounds looking at the photos.

I say, never underestimate the many uses of a mason jar.

teacher gifts_004In the land of unlimited checking account balances, I would probably buy my kids’ teachers round-trip tickets to Aruba. They certainly deserve it. However, I live in reality and with all these lovely people to buy for at Christmas, we have to be mindful of a budget. Sometimes being an adult really stinks.

I’m a teacher’s kid and I distinctly remember my mom coming home from Christmas break with loads of awesome gifts. As kids, we loved the food. My mom always felt undeserving of the generosity, but incredibly touched by the thought that went into those gifts. So, it is with my mom in mind that I craft gifts for my kids’ teachers every year.

These mason jars filled with homemade hot chocolate ended up being super-economical (and fun). I made 20 gifts for $55, so about $2.75/jar. I did have the ribbon on hand but if you catch the sales right you might only add another dollar or two to that total. I did the hard part of measuring the sugar and cocoa for the little ones, but they did just fine adding the marshmallows – and eating any stray ones, too!teacher gifts_01

You can find the recipe on my Pinterest board or look below. I put all the dry ingredients in the jar and then put the instructions of what to add (vanilla extract and milk) on the top.

Homemade Hot Chocolate in a Jar
1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
1-1/2 c. marshmallows (approximate)

The user adds 1 tsp. of vanilla extract and 4 c. of milk. For the bigger jars, I doubled this recipe and just had the kids add marshmallows until they reached the top of the jar.

teacher gifts_006

Don’t you worry, I have extra ingredients for my own hot cup ‘o chocolate.


  1. Donna P. Pugh on December 19, 2013 at 8:34 am

    You are a breath of fresh air, Kathyn!

  2. verdinalouisa on December 19, 2013 at 10:41 am

    Love that idea! You rock!

  3. karen on December 19, 2013 at 11:31 am

    How do you print the labels? Can I do it in Word? (no graphic design software here :/ )

    • Kathryn on December 19, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      Karen, I just printed them using InDesign/Acrobat, but I’m pretty sure you can make them in Word. I had a 2″ circle punch, so I just made sure my text fit in that box.

  4. Patrizia on December 19, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Good idea friend! We generally give to a mom of the same class, money for the gifts, but this idea is more personal and esclusive

    • Kathryn on December 19, 2013 at 9:49 pm

      Many of our classes do the same, Patrizia. It’s good to know some things don’t change across the ocean. Love you!

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