Our children wanted to present the entire local elementary school staff with Teacher Appreciation Gifts for Christmas. Needless to say, I have been scouting the discounts and coupons for a about a year to come up with an affordable idea. I believe it is important to allow your child(ren) to follow through with an act of appreciation, whenever possible.

Last fall I strolled into Walgreens on a couponing mission and stumbled onto a MASSIVE sale. They had their 6pk highlighter markers on sale for, get this, $0.09 each! After pinching myself and rubbing my eyes to make sure I was in fact awake, I quickly dumped about 50 packs into my chart and skipped off to the check-out lane. After I went home and marveled over my score, I decided I would go back and get ‘just a few more’. A few more meaning about 50 more. Immediately I had several ideas about what the gifts would be, but I wanted to leave the final decision up to the children.

Fast forward to present day and you will find us in the middle stages of assembling our Appreciation Gifts. We ran out of glue in mid assmbly. That seems to halt production rather efficiently. So does not having a vehicle that is fit to drive. However, several hours after putting on the breaks my wonderful husband went on a rescue mission and returned with the precise glue I had requested (applause), I was impressed. He gets a happy helper sticker for sure!

We will continue our assembly line tomorrow, but in the mean time, here are the instructions for making these darling little gifts, that only cost us $0.25 each (costs may vary).

SUPPLIES (We are making 60, adjust as needed)

  • 60-120 packages of highlighter markers
  • 60 Old Orchard frozen juice containers
    (we just happened to have been tucking these away for May Day baskets, but they were perfect for this)
  • Guillotine (optional) or scissors
  • Ruler
  • Decorative Edging Scissors
  • Craft Paper
  • Craft Bonding Glue, adhesive spray
  • Stick Glue
  • Permanent Marker
  • Old Newspaper

Step #1:

Wash and dry all containers. Spread out newspaper evenly over work area. Arrange containers open side down and write the Christmas year and child(rens) name on all containers. Allow to dry 15-20 minutes to prevent smudging.

Step #2:

Using guillotine or scissors, cut 60 strips of craft paper, 9 inches long by five inches wide. Next cut 60 strips of paper 9 inches long by 2.5 inches wide. You will want to edge the thin strips of craft paper at this point to save time during assembly. If you do not have edging scissors, you can fold the strip in half and cut a decorative edge freehand using regular scissors.

Step #3:

Once all the strip have been properly sized and edged you will want to write your gift statement on the thin strips. We choose the wording, “Thank you for being a highlight of our year!” We did go back over the writing an accent the tips of each letter with a small ball point.

Step #4:

You will want to take a minute to arrange your assembly line in a fashion that allows quick and precise work. If you are using the Craft Bond adhesive spray you will need to set out 4-5 pieces of craft paper on the newspaper, spray with a light coating and allow to tack up for about 20 seconds. Once they have set, you will need to work quickly before the adhesive become to dry to adhere to the container. This process worked well for us. We continued in groups of 4-5 until we, well, ran out of glue.

Step #5:

Some seams may require that you apply a thin layer of glue stick and reapply the top layer to seal properly. You will want to avoid laying them on their side as the adhesive will adhere to the newspaper and ruin your final product. When the seams are checked and resealed you can begin the decorative strip. Using the same process, lay out 4-5 pieces of decorative strips and spray lightly with adhesive. Wait about 20 seconds. Line up the center of the phrase with the center of the container and apply, then quickly and firmly press the strip around the container, wrapping it in one swift motion. continue on the opposite side, applying pressure to the seal for about 10 seconds before setting aside to dry.

Step #6:

Fill the now dry cup with 1-2 packages of highlighter markers and prepare for transportation. An empty box or tote will work best. Taking pictures and posting your accomplishments on Facebook is also worth while 🙂

NOTE: If you are making these gift for a select few, you may want to personalize them by placing the recipient’s name on the bottom or directly on the decorative strip. Be sure to have your children personally deliver the gift to the recipient as this makes it much more meaningful.

I would recommend delivering them before the day before Christmas break. From what I’ve seen the mass of students wait until the day before break to deliver presents and this leaves the teachers with massive amounts of items to haul home. Remember that they are busy Mom’s and Dad’s just like you are most likely have a list a mile long to accomplish once that bell rings. Personally, I think anytime after the Christmas program and before the last day is acceptable timing for delivering presents.

If you want to add another personalized touch from your child, include a hand-made card.

What are some of your favorite Teacher Appreciation Gifts to give or receive, and why?


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