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You love your little munchkin more than life itself, but even you know that she’s no angel. Throw 20 more rambunctious youngsters into the mix and you can understand why your kid’s teachers practically deserve a Nobel Prize. Barring that, we’ve got seven perfect gifts that educators will love. How can we be so sure? Because we asked them. (Spoiler: Novelty coffee mugs didn’t make the cut.)

RELATED: 6 Important Questions to Ask at Your Next Parent-Teacher Conference

Young girl writing a letter
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A Thoughtful Note

Here’s some good news for your wallet: Every teacher we spoke to said that their number one gift is a heartfelt card from parents and students explaining how their teaching has made a positive impact. If you’re worried that this isn’t enough of a gesture, couple it with another gift below or better yet, for those teachers who really went above and beyond—send a note to the principal, too! Because there’s no better gift than a leg up on a promotion.

Flowers and a card

A Gift Card

This may come as a surprise to your kids, but teachers have lives, too. Help them cut loose with a gift card to a local restaurant, movie theater or even the grocery store. If you’re not sure about their interests (or where they live), then you can’t go wrong with an Amazon or Starbucks card. Job done.

RELATED: How to Save on Gift Cards

Notepad and pens

School Supplies

You might feel weird giving teachers something that reminds them of work, but the truth is that many of them have to purchase classroom materials from their own paychecks. A basket filled with supplies like glue sticks, Post-Its, crayons, pencils, tissues and whiteboard markers is sure to be appreciated. Hey, sometimes the best gifts are the practical ones.

Woman holding a heart shaped tote bag

Something Personal

A present that shows your kid was paying attention in class was another firm favorite among the teachers that we surveyed. This could be linked to lessons—like giving the art teacher a book about a painter they mentioned loving—or something not school-related. Is Mrs. Anderson always schlepping her books around in an old bag? Buy her a stylish new tote. See? Thoughtful and useful.

Colorful macarons
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A Delicious Treat (Just Not Homemade)

Sorry, this doesn’t mean a batch of your famous chocolate-chip cookies (no matter how yummy they are). While teachers appreciate the amount of effort that goes into home-baked goodies, many have dietary restrictions or simply don’t feel comfortable eating food from someone else’s kitchen. Having said that, a box of Belgian truffles or gourmet popcorn is sure to win (or can at least be re-gifted).

Woman on computer with flowers on desk
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Monogrammed Stationery

They’re constantly jotting down reminders, so a beautiful notebook or a stack of cards makes a great gift for teachers. Include some pencils with the teacher’s name printed on them as a sweet add on. Bonus: She just might get them back when she loans them out.

give stamp
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A Charitable Donation

Truth be told, most educators don’t want or need more teacher-themed trinkets or knickknacks that will just clutter their desks. Instead, gift them something that takes up no space at all, like a donation in their name. Pick a charity they support (like an animal shelter for the teacher who loves dogs) or choose an organization that works with education, like Milk + Bookies, which helps promote childhood literacy, or Save the Children, which works with young people around the world.

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