Photo Credit: J. Rosenstrach
Last year, the public school that my children attend banned the practice of soliciting money from the entire class for an end-of-the-year group gift. The decision made sense (it doesn't seem right to put that kind of pressure on parents), but it also meant that I could no longer pawn off the gift-buying task on the class mom and cross it off my list with one satisfying swipe of a pen. So I did what I do best—I combed the food world and assembled an A-plus list of gifts that are easy to procure and are still special enough to express a sufficient amount of gratitude.
For the Baker
My daughter entered first grade knowing how to put letters and sounds together. She'll leave first grade reading chapter books on the bus ride home. I watched as she used all of her teacher's tricks and games to become absolutely fired up about reading. For accomplishing this feat, I can't think of a better way to express my appreciation than to spell out a baked "thank you" with these delicious sugar cookies. Another option if you don't have time to bake? Wrap up the set of alphabet cookie cutters as a stand-alone gift.
26-Piece Alphabet Cookie Cutter Set, $17.57 at Amazon.com
For the Entertainer
It's hard to make a candle seem special—and even harder to find one that doesn't reek of overly floral garden scents as well as last-minute-gift desperation—which makes this dining table candle all the more exciting. The little bird perched on the side is just sweet enough without being cloying, and after the eight-hour candle burns down, the ceramic dish can be used as a trinket holder.
Petey the Parrot Candle, $26 at Anthropologie.com
For the Coffee Lover
An art teacher in particular will appreciate the historical significance of this gift. The designer of the iconic New York coffee cup died this year—what better way to honor him (and a teacher's caffeine habit) than with this ceramic version?
Ceramic Greek Coffee Cup, $12 at UncommonGoods.com
For the Gourmet
This is my new favorite gift to give—it could just as easily be for a holiday, birthday, host or just-because gift. Homemade, wholesome granola in a mason jar—which can be procured at any hardware store for a very small amount of money—is pretty much perfect for any occasion. You may already have a favorite recipe for homemade granola; mine is Melissa Clark’s olive oil granola, which sounds terrifying but is mind-blowingly delicious. If you feel ambitious, you can print up the recipe, punch a hole in the corner and tie it around the neck of the jar with a ribbon.
Get the recipe for Melissa Clark's Granola
For the Stuffed
For you it was kindergarten, but for your child's teacher it sometimes felt like a 10-month marathon of in-class birthday and holiday parties and their attendant spreads of cupcakes, doughnuts, cakes and candy. Give him a summer to detox by wrapping up any one of the cookbooks in this healthy triumvirate: Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson, Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours by Kim Boyce, and Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces by Gayla Trail.
Would you rather make something as a gift or buy it from a store? Chime in below!