Seeds of new ideas
Four area merchants and two teachers listed their ideas for teachers’ gifts:
The Teacher’s Pet, Tupelo (a teachers’ supply store)
– A gift certificate, usually for $10 to $25.
Owner Shirley Bierman said teachers often spend their gift certificates on classroom materials such as charts, puzzles, pads, bulletin board fillers, flashboards and clocks.
The Basket Case, Tupelo (gift shop)
– Food items. Examples include hot chocolate wrapped with little cookies tied onto the package, or the current rage of tea bags with cookies. Most food gift packages are $2.25 and up. This category is enormously popular with teachers, said owner Carolyn Smith.
Her shop now carries fewer apple-themed gifts than it has in years past, she said. That’s by teachers’ requests. “Unless you collect apples, after you’ve been teaching a while you get a huge accumulation of apple things.” – Bath products. Hand lotion, bath gel and bubble bath tied up in a little package costs about $8 and up.
– Disposable dinnerware. Throwaway placemats are packaged by the dozen with napkins and paper plates, a useful gift for summertime entertaining. The cost is $15 to $25.
– Pewter sewing kits. These round containers are about six inches across with sewing images imprinted on the lid, and they contain needles, thread and other sewing gadgets inside. The cost is under $12.
– Rubber stamp sets. These are $13.99 for multi-stamp packages that include “Good job!” “Well done!” and other sayings for teachers who are grading papers. Other individual stamps cost $4.99 to $11.75.
– Thank-you notes ranging from $4.25 to $7.99.
– Scented candles for 99 cents to $25.99.
Reed’s Gift Shop & Book Store, Tupelo
– Marble apple that holds an acrylic frame, $15.
– Gail Pittman pottery, including a $15 trinket box and a $19 coffee mug.
The Village Green, Tupelo (gift & book shop)
– Books. One sample is “365 Meditations for Teachers,” $4.95 in paperback.
– Apple-shaped bookends for $15.95.
– Precious Moments figurines. “Love Never Fails” shows a teacher holding a report card ($40), but other designs are popular, including “Bless Your Soul” for $27.50.
– Dreamsicle cherubs. These ivory collectibles are $8 to $15 and include chubby angels holding hearts, rainbows, graduation caps and more.
– ArtCatcher pictures framed in brass ovals, $10 to $15. These glass decor pieces show color designs and are fashioned for hanging where sunlight can stream through them.
– Picture frames in brass, wood, pewter, porcelain and other materials, $7 to $40.
– P. Silkotch pottery, $13 and up. This made-in-Mississippi pottery features bunnies as a popular theme.
– Crystal vases in brass votives (holders), $12 and up. These can be used to hold clear marbles or candles or simply used alone.
– Austin pottery in pastel creams, $17 to $50.
– Anything with a magnolia theme. Gifts include cards, pictures, plates, glasses and candleholders, $7 and up.
Patsy Permenter, who teaches a multi-age class of first- and second-graders at Church Street Elementary School in Tupelo, has some hints for parents puzzling over good gift ideas:
– Restaurant gift certificates that teachers can enjoy with their families.
– “Comfort gifts” such as bath oils.
– Seasonal jewelry such as shamrock earrings for St. Patrick’s Day.
– Anything personal theme the teacher collects (such as rabbits, elephants or Campbell’s Soup Kids collectibles).
– Plants for the garden. “Teachers never stop thinking about these little kids throughout the summer,” Permenter said.
Alisa Sides, a kindergarten teacher at Saltillo Elementary School, also suggested some useful gift ideas:
– Stationery, especially thank-you cards.
– Perfumes, soaps and lotions.
– Christmas ornaments.
– Any items a teacher can use with her children in the classroom.