Do you enjoy giving gifts to your Christmas students? I do!
I know sometimes teachers struggle with whether or not to do gifts. To that, I say, don’t stress over it! If it’s something you enjoy doing, then do it and if it feels more like it’s coming from a place of obligation, make the decision not to do so and be OK with that decision. Most students and families certainly do not expect it.
I like doing it as a gesture to acknowledge both my joy for my students and the season. Along with that, however, comes the difficulty of figuring out something new to do each year. When you have students that are with you for years, giving them the same ornament year after year isn’t very exciting.
This dilemma, if you will, made me procrastinate for several years. After cutting it a little too close a few years ago, I vowed to stop waiting until the last minute. (Year-ahead purchases have even become normal.) Bye-bye stress!
In his post I’ll share several ideas I’ve used over the past years because as this post title states – who couldn’t use another idea?! 🙂
Crafts are not my strong suit, so my kiddos will probably never get a hand-made craft from me. Since I love to cook, homemade goodies do make it into the mix.
The gifts I give each year are often influenced by where life is in the moment. If money is tight, some years may be homemade and less costly. On the flip side, if time is more of a commodity, I just purchase an item – even if I spend more. I’m sure you’ve experienced the same thing!
My comfort zone is between $1 – $5 per student, with $3 being my sweet spot. With a full studio, the cost can add up quickly!
Hershey’s Symphony Creamy Milk Chocolate Bar is a great and easy option. Depending on your budget, there are two sizes:
The XL size is about $1.50 apiece and can be found on Amazon 12 for $18.
The GIANT version is also fun to give and is around $2.50 apiece. (At the time of this post, they were not available in bulk on Amazon but can likely be found in your nearest grocery store.)
Ornaments are probably the easiest and most popular gift I see teachers giving – for a good reason!
One fun way to distribute them is to decorate a Christmas tree in the studio. You can either do the same ornament or different ornaments they can choose from. Decorate the tree after Thanksgiving, and tell the students at the last lesson in December they get to pull one off the tree!
I’ve done two different ornaments so far. Of the two, my favorite was these Resin Sheet Music Snowman Ornaments.
At the time of this post, the price on Amazon is $22.99 for a dozen. You can get these at Oriental Trading for $15.99 but may pay more depending on shipping.
(Sara’s Music Studio suggested adding a ribbon around the neck like a scarf. How cute would that be? )
The other one was this assortment of black glitter ornaments.
I especially liked that students had three to choose from (which means you could give them away for 2-3 years in a row, and they could choose a different one each year!).
The only downside is that they’re glitter; to me, that equals messy. If that doesn’t bother you, though – go for it! The students will still love them.
In 2014 I purchased them from Hobby Lobby in a package of 12 for $10. I’m not sure they still carry them, but I found them on this website for $20 for a pack of 3. Do some searching, though – I’m sure you could find something similar for cheaper.
Homemade Hot Cocoa
Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix is a perfect gift. What kid doesn’t love hot chocolate?
Ball jars are so easy to make look decorated with something as simple as a colorful ribbon. Be sure and include the directions!
Consider recipes made with powdered milk, so students only have to add hot water. Along those same lines, don’t do the layered-type cocoa mix where you must dump the whole container into a pot to mix.
My favorite recipe is from Cook’s Country, but since it’s a paid recipe service, here are some other versions you could try from Pioneer Woman and AllRecipes.
Will the Japanese Eraser craze ever go away? I would be surprised if it did – they’re just too cute! Students will love these grand piano erasers.
Purchase a mixture of black and red and let students choose. Based on what my students chose, I would suggest purchasing 30% red and 60% black. Or if you want to keep it simple, just go for the black!
What kid doesn’t love Puppy Chow? To that end, what adult? Ha! It’s such a fun thing to make and a very traditional American holiday snack.
The year I did the Japanese erasers, I wanted to do more than just the little eraser, so I made Puppy chow and attached the eraser to the bow.
I don’t remember the exact recipe I used that year but a couple of puppy chow recipes I’ve discovered I love recently include Cookie Butter Muddy Buddies and Peanut Butter Brownie Puppy Chow
Lastly, an Organization Tip!
Before we go, let me give you one organizational tip regarding student Christmas gifts:
Keep a list of what you give your students each year!
The first year I opened my studio, I didn’t record the gift I gave, and I regretted it because it is SOOOO nice to be able to look back and see what you’ve done in the past.
Knowing how long it’s been since you last gave a certain gift means you can repeat gifts with confidence depending on how long your students have been with you.
It’s as simple as writing it down in your favorite note-taking app (like Evernote, of course!).
- 2017 Resin Sheet Music Snowman Ornament
2016 Grand Piano Japanese Eraser and Puppy Chow
2015 Black Sparkly Music Ornament
2014 Bag of Puppy Chow
2013 Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix
2012 Hershey’s Symphony Chocolate Bar
What are you giving your students this year?
Thanks for the ideas. I normally spend $1-2 per student because with 35 students it adds up quick! I try to steer away from giving sweet stuff, but sometimes end up doing that…
I usually find cheap classical music CDs on Amazon and gift those to my students. I find that many of my students don’t listen to a lot of classical music, so it helps connect them with some of the music we play.
That’s a great idea too!
This year I had my logo printed onto spinners for only $ each and then I am adding a little booklet from a purchase I made from TPT with rhythm challenges that you do with the spinner as a “timer”. I hope they don’t all already have them ! I am coming in late on this trend!
That’s very creative, Ruth!
I bought inexpensive black stretchy gloves on clearance last year at Target for $2.50 but have seen them at Walmart this year for $1.50. Took some puffy white fabric paint and squeezed out a bass clef on the left hand glove and treble clef on the right. Quick and easy.
See, now that’s the kind of crafty, creative things I never think of! Thanks for sharing!
Thank you Amy! Starting to think about gifts for my students. Don’t want to give the candy filled candy canes again!
Thank you for your wonderful ideas! I’ve used several of them! We’re giving decorated clear plastic ornaments to our students with their name on them! Hope they like them! We’re also making cupcakes for our recital this year!
You’re welcome, Angela! I love doing something different every year. Ornaments are always a guaranteed win – I’m sure your students will love them!