Well I have some answers for you, my friends! Of course, most of these are not my own. I’ve been collecting them for years from other blogs, teachers, media folks, and online comments.
Let me just start by saying, personally, I like things that go away. Baked goods and gift cards. None of us need anymore candles, tree ornaments or candy-filled mugs. But that’s just me. Here we go:
Some people have…
…bought a beach bag with a towel, sunscreen, water bottles, and beach toys.
…bought an ice cream bowl, scoop, and gift card to ice cream place.
…bought a bowl, microwave popcorn, candy, soda, and video rental gift card.
…made a gift basket out of BBQ items.
…made a small gift basket with pen, memo pad and other small supplies.
…bought a set of patio dishes and glasses.
…gave a nice notecard set.
…bought a nice beach towel.
…gave a nice candle.
…gave some bath stuff.
…gave a potted or hanging plant or flowers.
…gave a gift card. (One teacher said they gave a MC/Visa gift card so the volunteer could use it as they pleased).
…got a yummy type of chocolate…Ghiraldi Peppermint Bark this year and attach a bookstore gift card
…baked them some pumpkin bread and/or Starbucks gift cards.
…had a luncheon and then give a nice ornament or poinsettia. At the end of the year, we do a breakfast and another small gift like soap or stationery. We also give them a book & treat bag during each book fair.
…got fleece throws at Kohls (I think they were $4 with my coupon) and I was going to attach some homemade chocolates and a note for them to use this to snuggle up with a good book this holiday season. Last year I found winter themed to go coffee cups and put in packets of hot chocolate in them plus some homemade chocolates.
…bought them pedicures. They loved it!
…gave an ornament with their child’s picture in it. The volunteers love it. For those volunteers that do not celebrate Christmas I just put their child’s picture in a non-holiday frame.
…had a good friend who makes key chains, wristlets, and lanyards and all of the proceeds go to a charity. I am ordering key chains for all of my aides, a wristlet for teachers who are always good “customers” and will probably order lanyards next semester for end of the year gifts.
…purchased tree ornaments from Pier One and they loved them!
…usually hit Bath & Body Works for all their travel sized items. This year, I’ve done the socks infused with shea butter and an anti-bacterial lotion. The most important part is presentation. You don’t have to spend a lot, just make sure you wrap in cute cellophane and maybe throw some candy in there, too. They always love it!
..purchased gift certificates from restaurant.com to local establishments. $25 denominations only cost $2 each.
…moved away from the Christmas gift and give them a token of our appreciation towards the end of the year. I try to write personal notes throughout the year to let them know how much I appreciate them.
…make a few homemade goodies and write a nice thank-you note.
…took NEW books that I just ordered and before I circulate them, I let the volunteers children come by and look at them and select a book to “dedicate” to their mom. I make a dedication page and put it in the book which we cover with clear contact paper. I then let the child be the first one to check it out when it is ready. I also print a thank you card with a picture of the cover of the dedicated book.
…buy these lovely ladies gift cards out of my own pocket and am happy to do it. But if I had more than my current 3 or 4 volunteers, I’d just do a whole lot more baking. I also brought in a coffee maker last year and keep that stocked with good coffee and creamer and such out of my own pocket. Because they are awesome.
More ideas? Leave them in the comments!