Last-Minute Gifts for a Teacher out of Time

Classroom life leading up to winter break always feels a little out of control. Kids are beyond excited for a break. It requires more of your energy to keep them focused and productive. Maybe you’re too exhausted to get some shopping done in the evenings. Or your calendar has filled up with other obligations, keeping you busy. We've got you covered with last-minute gifts if you're just out of time!

Green divider image with white christmas trees

Your brain is overstuffed with planning celebrations, wrapping up semester grades, managing your dwindling personal time, dealing with absences, and trying to keep up with everything else going on.

Maybe you’ve found yourself *this close* to the peak of the holiday season, and as a result, suddenly it hits you like a rapid-fire snowball to the face: you forgot to get a gift for someone on your list.


But don’t panic! We’ve rounded up a few unique last-minute gift ideas–that don’t feel last-minute–for a stressed teacher who’s out of time.

These are listed from basically free on up, so there are ideas for every price range:


DIY Crafts:

Thanks to the Internet, you can learn to do just about anything out there. Don’t be afraid to try something new with things already lying around your house. (Who knows; maybe you’ll love it so much that it’ll turn into your own side gig!) Here are a few ideas to get your wheels turning:

    • Book pages - Use the pages from a favorite book to create an ornament, a wreath, or other household decor.
    • Wine corks - It turns out your old stash of wine corks can be turned into all kinds of things: magnets, placemats, candle holders, keychains, and more!
    • Mason jars - Seems like everyone (or their mother) has some of these lying around, and there are so many things you can do with them: succulent or herb planters, bug-repellant luminaires, glitter-dipped drinking glasses, to name a few.


Second-Hand Items

With a good eye and (a working) washing machine, an outing to your local thrift shop or secondhand store can yield some true treasures! You can find unique household items, collectibles, and fun clothing. Don’t forget secondhand bookstores for your bookworms!


Beverage of Choice

Share your favorite drink with someone you love. (It doesn’t have to be an adult beverage, either. If you love diet root beer, introduce its guilt-free sweetness to someone else!) 


three women exchange Christmas gifts

Small Business Gifts

Did you know small businesses often rely on holiday shopping to build their revenue? With this in mind; does your best friend own a t-shirt company? Do you have a brother who runs a bakery out of his kitchen? Utilizing small, local businesses to check off your gift list is a win-win: you get to give unique, one-of-a-kind gifts while you support the people, and community, you care about. 



Who doesn’t love a good mani/pedi? Many folks love the idea of being pampered but hesitate to spend the money on themselves. This gives them a free pass to get some “me” time in. Maybe your soon-to-be pampered friend is working on last-minute gifts themselves and could use the quiet relaxation. Bonus: This is also a great way to support a local business.



Consider covering the annual fee for something your friend or family member already uses. Maybe it’s a grocery delivery service or a magazine subscription. Or perhaps their favorite streaming service. It will feel like a financial relief at a time when holiday bills are piling up.


Tickets to an upcoming event are a fantastic treat for friends or family. Maybe it's a sporting event, a concert, or some other fun local shindig. Alternatively (or additionally, if you make it a weekend), gift certificates to your local zoo, aquarium, garden, or museum makes your gift memorable. One wonderful benefit of giving experiences is that they often lend themselves to creating some forever memories for the users, so they ultimately receive way more than just the monetary value of the gift. It’s also a great alternative to getting more stuff.


Gift Cards

Everyone has an opinion on these, so feel free to stick to your own. Some say these are an easy way out, but there are people who really appreciate a gift card. It can provide flexibility, a solution to the “What’s for dinner” problem, or an excuse to treat themselves. The trick is getting one to a place where they’ll actually appreciate it. Think of the places they see as a treat or places they frequent, like restaurants, movie theaters, or favorite stores.

lady holding giftcard and box tied with ribbon

We hope our last-minute gift picks help you decide what to make, buy, or upcycle for the loved ones in your life. What are some of your favorite go-to gifts for friends and family? Comment below!


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