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Gifts to Give in Quantity

I am the Hospitality Chairperson for my kid’s elementary school PTA.

That means every Christmas, I need to come up with a nice gift for about 70 people, including all the staff and teachers.  Of course, my budget is next to nothing.  Every year my goal is to give something that is thoughtful, and let’s them all know how much we appreciate the amazing job they are doing with our kids.

Last year we gave Peppermint Popcorn, like the bag shown above.

Another year, we gave potpourri in a cello gift sack.  We kept the orange whole.  It was very pretty, and hopefully was enjoyed, as it simmered on their stove throughout the season.  If you are interested in what we put in the sacks, I wrote about it last year.

Image via the Giver's Log

This year we were thinking along the lines of Hot Chocolate…. like the hot chocolate on a stick from The Givers Log.

Or possible a little jar of homemade jelly and bread.

Decisions, decisions….  Do you have any ideas?  What would you love if you are a teacher?   I need to figured it all out… and quick.

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31 Responses to “Gifts to Give in Quantity”

  • Rachelle:

    I struggle with this every year, although I don’t have 70 people to buy gifts for. I give about 20 teacher/staff gifts.
    Last year I made wood wall plaques with each teacher’s last name initial(modge-podged scrapbook paper onto wood, then painted a wooden letter and glued onto plaque)-they turned out really cute and were affordable for my 20 giifts.
    Another teacher gives everyone minty hot cocoa every year and it is very tasty.
    I’ll be watching for more ideas!

  • I am a former teacher and each of those gifts sounds better than most of the stuff we received each year. I like how creative and thoughtful they each are. Several years I received packets of Swiss Miss in a (cheap) mug or a 2 L of Sprite with a note attached. Those gifts are disappointing not b/c they are cheap, but because they required no effort and thought. I think Design Mom did homemade Vanilla Sugar and/or extract one year and still has the templates available on her site.

  • EG:

    You’ve got me obsessed with the hot chocolate on a stick idea. Care to provide us with some printable instruction tags to attach? I’m not crafty (but I follow directions well). :)

  • Apple Butter is a great gift, and you could do it in small jelly jars. It cooks in slow cookers, and comes from apple sauce so it can’t be that expensive.

    My parents used to do huge batches of chex mix in the oven to give as gifts. As well as bean soup mixes in a jar, and homemade powdered hot cocoa with powdered creamer in creme de menthe and vanilla or hazelnut flavors.

    One year we did white chocolate chex mix with mini mms, pretzels and nuts (which could easily be omitted)- the process is pretty much the same as the peppermint popcorn, white candy melt mixed into the cereal.

    You could also do small bags of chocolate covered pretzels or truffles, the eagle brand chocolate truffles make about 60 a batch, then you roll them into sprinkles/nuts. Or easily add mint to make them peppermint. I love them rolled into crushed candycanes. Coconut truffles also make a ton, and are about the closest thing you can get to mounds candy. You dip those in chocolate bark.

    For non food, what about a snowman kit made out of foam pieces?

  • Nancy:

    I was a teacher and had about 15 staff members to gift each year and chocolate peppermint bark was a big hit one year. I also like the other posters idea of homemade chex mix. My last year before becoming a SAHM I gave a sizable donation to a local food pantry that one of the classes was collecting for and then gave everyone a card saying that I made the donation on their behalf.

  • I love the hot-chocolate-on-a-stick idea. You could also give an apple with a small jar of homemade caramel.

    Someone mentioned homemade vanilla extract and I think that’s a great idea, too. It takes about six months to make the extract though (I do it at home). But if you wanted to do it for next year I buy extract grade organic vanilla beans off ebay for around $10/half pound (that’ll make a LOT of extract!). Then it’s just finding jars and getting the vodka. I can get you more info if you’re interested.

    Vanilla sugar would be cheap to make (just mix cut vanilla beans and sugar together and let set for a month or two) and a very sweet gift. If that doesn’t seem like enough for a gift, you could add a small jar of homemade flavored salt. (like the expensive lavender or thyme salt I see in the coops)

  • alyson:

    I tried the hot chocolate on the stick last year. I really thought it was a great idea, and was very excited about it. Unfortunately it was filled with troubles. In order for it to melt properly you need to use very high quality (ie expensive) chocolate. I also had trouble with it not tempering correctly and it formed unsitely spots later. Just so you know, I really wish it was easier, or I knew more about chocolate!

  • Sorry – I forgot to add these, too!

    You could make cute homemade pinecone bird feeders with pine cones, lard (or peanut butter) and birdseed. Or rock photo holders like these: http://www.dailydanny.com/?p=2716

    Anyway, hope that helps or at least gives some inspiration. You’re very kind to take on such a big project year after year!

  • Sally P:

    Several members of my family are teachers. They get a lot of food items. While all nice, it can be overwhelming. I’ve been trying to give non-food items. My favorite is stationary for all the thank you’s, notes, etc. Cardstock is easy to cut down for cards. Notepads & notebooks take a little more but still do-able. Good luck.

  • Tracy:

    I come from a long line of teachers and can tell you that anything that some thought was put into (and especially if homemade) is really appreciated. With the economy the way it is right now I think food items are the most practical. One year my dad received a crock of homemade cheese spread that had lox, capers, and red onions along with some homemade matzo crackers from one of his students that was so proud he’d helped his mom make them. I remember my brother, sister, and I were so excited that dad was saving this for a Friday night snack while we watched a movie – and he mentioned this is his thank you note. Maybe you could do homemade spice rub packets – one for poultry, one for seafood, one for beef *or* spice packets with flavors reminiscent of different cultures with specific food styles like India, New Orleans (Creole or Cajun) and Asia that could be added to rice or soups. Something that could be put away and used after the holidays was always nice.

  • I always loved those mixes in a jar (dry mix in a pretty jar and all they add is the wet ingredients), although I dont know if you could do 70 of them! My grandmother always makes a huge amount of cookies around the holidays and some years she decorates the boxes you can get from a store like Michaels with a holiday theme and packs them full of assorted cookies. My favorties were the thumbprint cookies, chocolate crinkles and her fantastic fudge

  • I love all the ideas that you are getting from these ladies! Home made hot chocolate, which you can add flavors to the mix, a set of thank you cards or note cards, or homemade soup in a jar, which is the dry items are layered in a jar and the receipt is attached. Home made coffee creamers are another good gift.

  • Sue:

    I’m a teacher and these are all good ideas. I always appreciate food/ entertaining items–things that I would be able to put out for company stopping by during the holidays, like homemade cookies or candies, chocolate covered pretzels or a little bag of spiced nuts. Ultimately it doesn’t matter as much what the gift is, it’s really about the fact that someone took the time to make something nice. I’m always touched by that.

  • Kim:

    I have been on a canning kick lately but canning can get expensive will all of the jars.
    I suggest making some fudge or some of your favorite cookies and wrap in a cellophane bag with some pretty ribbon. I saw on a website where a person used chalkboard paint to paint on small wooden or cardboard pieces to make specialized name tags. That would be a lovely gift tag for a teacher!

  • I have a great recipe for a bean soup mix that you layer in a canning jar (you could also just use a bag for reducing expense). What I love about it is that it works in the crock pot. So since these are all working people, they can put it all together that morning, and have an awesome dinner waiting for them when they get home! I thought I had posted this on my blog in the past, but I can’t find it. Must have just thought about it! I’ll write up a post on it, and come back to add the link when it is posted. Since dried beans are so affordable, it’s not that expensive to make.

  • Leslie:

    Several years ago I gave rosemary salt as gifts. Strip a generous amount of rosemary leaves off the rosemary stalks and mix with coarse or fine grain salt. Put in a shaker or small jar and affix a custom-made label which includes a simple drawing of a rosemary plant (found online easy enough. If you reuse glass jars you’ve accumulated, you might have to paint the lids – I suggest a “rosemary” green. A pretty ribbon and you’re set.
    As with most gifts, I think the presentation is half the prize!

  • Emily:

    I’m a teacher and love the thoughtfulness of the gifts you’ve given and want to give. I’m always a sucker for things like cookies in a jar, where you provide and layer the ingredients for the cookie you want to make and tie the instructions to the jar. It could be simple and purchased in bulk, and you could even do clear gift sacks instead of jars to make it more cost effective.

    Good luck!

  • Kristy:

    I was a teacher and in the past I have made clipboards for other teachers. I bought them in bulk from Sam’s I think they were around 4 dollars for 4-6 of them. Then I used 8×10 sheets of scrapbook paper and rounded the edges. Used modge podge to apply. Then I tied ribbon to the clip part. The teachers loved them and they were easy to make.

  • Nichole:

    As a former teacher (home now with my kids) I can attest that little, snack-able treats like the popcorn you did a couple years ago are a favorite. I loved getting stuff that I could open on my desk and have a quick little treat after school, or sneak a bite during recess, etc. I received several little packages of snack mix, chex mix, holiday bark, caramel corn, cinnamon almonds, etc. packages over my teaching years and enjoyed them all. I loved the sweet stuff, but something savory is a nice change of pace in a season of sweets. I love how you have taken the effort to package your gifts up so cute in the past – I think it is so fun and festive and can make something ordinary into something special.

  • Kim:

    As a teacher I love things I can use in the classroom. Have you seen the cute reusable soap bottles? It has vellum paper inside with the teachers name centered on top and underneath it has different sayings about hands like – clean hands, kind hands, gentle hands, loving hands, giving hands, helping hands etc. Each in a different font. They were a big hit at my school and the bottles can be re-filled. And with their name on it, it really adds that personal touch.

  • Amy Hopkins:

    This is what I like to make for gifts, and I always get a great reaction. If you click on the link they have a project called Apple Bags with Cranberry Cider mix. I make those up and then give them with a couple whole fresh oranges (called for in the recipe)in a simple basket.

    http://www.leisurearts.com/FreeProjects/skill/Crafting/Default.aspx

  • J.L.:

    I love the peppermint popcorn — might have to try that this year! BTW, your packaging for that is lovely.

    Here’s an idea for you:

    Russian Friendship Tea Mix Recipe
    This recipe sounds yummy — and she’s even made a label!
    http://www.bakeitpretty.com/blog/2009/12/holiday-how-to-russian-friendship-tea/

  • J.L.:

    Oopsy!

    I love this, too!

    Decorated hand sanitizer bottles. Think I saw this first on “Skip to my Lou.” There are so many variations around.

    http://www.theidearoom.net/2009/02/personalized-hand-sanitizer-soaps.html

    http://www.justagirlblog.com/2009/01/teacher-gifts.html

  • Alexa:

    Two years ago, we made gingerbread Christmas cards. The cards were chunks of cardboard wrapped in foil. Two or more cookies per card, held on with a dot of Royal Icing. One was a circle with a smiley face drawn in icing. The other was a holiday symbol (Santa, tree, snowflake, star, etc). Wrapped in plastic wrap and mailed in a flat box.

    If you have letter cookies cutters, you could write a short message, like Happy New Year or Thank You. King Arthur Flour has a super-easy recipe that involves melting the butter so it mixes really easily.

  • ashley:

    For little chocolates, you can get melting wafers from craft stores. Hobby Lobby, is a good one, because around the holidays (November – Christmas) they normally have a 40% coupon in the paper every week! They’re about $3.00 per bag. And you can get use the chocolate molds, or you can use little silicone ice cube trays even. Depending on the mold, you can sometimes get 30-50 little chocolate treats, and in many colors or flavors! Wrap it up in a little cello bag with a cute ribbon, and little gift tag. You’ve got a nice, inexpensive bag of chocolates.

    In regards to melting chocolates, I’ve never had a problem with using my small crockpot on warm. Just keep stirring as you’re doing them! Once it’s melted, you can use a ladle and pour it into a little chocolate squeeze bottle (best deal is normally at walmart, 2 pack for inexpensive, and reusable) Then squeeze into your mold, pick your mold up and drop it a few times (carefully!!!) to get the air bubbles out, stick in the freezer for a few minutes, and turn them out. (note: you know they are ready to come out when they just fall out of the mold with a little tap, if not freeze a little longer, for silicone, just try to push one out) If the chocolate starts to harden in the bottle, stick it in the microwave for about 10 seconds on medium power, repeat until it’s melted again.

    This is nice as candies alone OR if you want to go a little further, you can add some pretzels along with them, and a note to melt the chocolates to dip for chocolate covered pretzels. Can be used for dipping fruits as well.

    Hope that this will help someone this year!

    Happy and safe Holidays! :)

  • Brandie:

    i work at the front office of our school and can tell you that we certainly appreciate ALL the gifts that our thoughtful parents and coworkers give. i do have to agree with the previous post stating that we gets lots and lots and lots of yummy (but high calorie!) treats and it can become too much.

    by the time that we near the Christmas break, we all feel like we’re barely going to make it….and, to top it off, the kids are crazy excited with the parties that happen that last day. there are few things teachers appreciate more than a hot, yummy meal. i would suggest getting parent volunteers together and providing breakfast (breakfast casseroles or burritos, cinnamon rolls, fruit, muffins, flavored creamers for fresh coffee) or lunch (crockpots of soup, casseroles, veggie tray, desserts) on that last day of school before the Christmas break. or, if the teachers have a workday after the kids start their break you could do it that day. believe me, they will appreciate the your recognition that they are tired and harried at this time of year and that you desire to give them a lift by providing a meal on that last, crazy day.

  • Working Mom:

    Last year my parents made marshmallows. They were beautiful and SOOOOO GOOD. My mom said that it was a little messy, but was really fun to make. And a batch makes quite a few so they only needed to make a few batches (I don’t know how many they gave away). She put 4 or 6 in a cello bag and tied it with ribbon. It was pretty all packaged up. They flavored their marshmallows peppermint and had a pink color ribbon marbled in them. Everyone they gave them to was so impressed because they had never had home made marshmallows before.

  • Laura Bormet:

    http://violetpaperwings.blogspot.com/2010/12/post-it-present.html

    How about these cute post-it note holders? Looks like they’d be easy to whip out a ton and the only expense would be the 50 cent frames and the post-its– which can be bought in large quantities at the wholesale stores like Sam’s Club or Cost-Co for not too much. I think they’re cute =]

  • Heather:

    I’m thinking about peppermint salt/sugar scrub in small jars. It would be perfect to pamper yourself over the holidays and it’s totally Christmas!

  • Lynne:

    For large groups I sometimes do a lucky dip basket, with things I’ve collected. I wrap them in clear cellophane or tied up with ribbon so you can see what it is. Popular choices have been tea towels,Xmas decorations, small jars of nuts/treats of some sort,seeds, notebooks, pot holders, gardening gloves(Plain with Xmas bells sewn on – the recipient said her cat loved gardening with her now!) . This is also a good way to clear out your unwanted gifts – just be careful they didn’t come from the people you are giving to.

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