Holiday Baking Week & Teacher Gifts

This is my big holiday baking week. It’s a tradition that I started when the kids were in preschool. I bake all our favorites over the course of two or three days freezing much of what I make for later.

Since we had an Annual Fondue Party at our house for about eight years, I combined my baking efforts and made enough for the party and for gift baskets for their teachers.

Try to imagine that I actually crafted my own centerpiece with real apples and votive candles.

Scary I know because I am so-not-a-crafter.

But the baskets have always been lovely in spite of my missing crafter gene. Sometimes I’ve even busted out a can of gold or silver spray paint to make a natural wicker basket more festive.

One year I think that totaled eight baskets including music, art, computer and PE teachers plus the administrators and office staff.

I remember thinking how many darn apple notepads, pencil holders and smelly bath salts could one teacher endure year after year. I know that gift cards are always appreciated and many times the room mother takes up a collection for this but I really like to give a more personal gift.

I was delighted to read this “Announcement on Behalf of Your Child’s Teachers” blog post last week and if you don’t have time to read the whole post (but really you should because it’s worth reading!), here’s the section that validated my teacher gift giving.

Feed them. If money is an issue and you have many teachers to gift, there’s nothing wrong with making several batches of fudge, toffee, cookies, haystacks, peppermint bark, etc., wrapping them up with ribbon, and presenting them with a nice card (written from your child or you). Being able to go home on the last day of school and gorge on all the goodies is a wonderful thing. Giving the gift of treats also might allow the teacher to not have to do work in the kitchen this holiday season, as they can take some of the goodies along with them to parties or serve them if they are hosting. It’s essentially the opposite of forcing them to run an errand.

You can read the rest of the post here.

My gift to the teachers is heartfelt. I appreciate how much time and energy they spend with our children for way too little pay. I think by the time the holidays arrive, they are exhausted and ready for the holiday break. I’ve always written a little note of thanks and let them know that I hope the basket of homemade goodies will help them and they can make a platter or two if they have guests. Or they can just sit down and eat it all themselves. 😉

I set up the kitchen assembly line style with saran wrap, cellophane gift bags, labels I print on the computer, curly ribbon, tissue paper and baskets or containers I try to score on clearance after Christmas. I always included a colorful plastic knife to cut the mini loaves of bread and tuck in a few holiday napkins. Sometimes we have added a couple of Dollar Tree mugs and assorted envelopes of gourmet hot chocolate.

Here’s the kitchen island from last year…

There is not a surface in our house that doesn’t have some baked good on it for a few days.

We have standard non-negotiable items that HAVE TO be made or we can’t have Christmas at our house. I make the mini loaves of quick breads and cookies and I delegate fudge and miscellaneous confections to PhilBillPaul.

Sherra’s List:

  • Poppy Seed Bread
  • Pumpkin Cranberry Bread
  • Mini Black Bottom Cupcakes
  • Illinois Soft Sugar Cookies
  • Raspberry Shortbread Dreams
  • Fudgie Bon Bons
  • Chocolate Mint Cookies
  • plus at least 4 batches of my special “Semi-Cajun” Chex Mix

PhilBillPaul’s List:

  • Maple and Chocolate Fudge
  • Toffee
  • Chocolate Dipped Pretzel Rods
  • Cinnamon Almonds

Then we have a wish list of a few new recipes to try to see if they will be basket-worthy for the next year.

This may be where I’ve gone wrong. We keep adding instead of subtracting!

These are my additions to add this year:

Any creative or crafty teacher gift ideas you will share? If you’d like a specific recipe for anything on our list just leave a comment and I’ll be glad to share!


One year ago..

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  1. 1
    nancy says:

    I’d like some of the pumpkin cranberry bread and the lemon drop cookies sound pretty good too!
    ps you need some “scrunch” in the bottom of your baskets! lol (you know, for height!)

  2. 2
    Sherra says:

    @nancy: I’m sure you were mortified by the look of my baskets as the professional crafter you are. If you were here, you could have added some scrunch for me but this is what happens when I’m on my own!!! 🙂

  3. 3
    Teri says:

    Look, at this point in the FA-LA-LA-LA-LA process, I’ll take whatever I can get and not look the gift horse in the mouth!…Scrunch or NO SCRUNCH! Even tho’ we know that all of Nancy’s creations are professionally noteworthy! ;0/

  4. 4
    Sherra says:

    @Teri: For some, it’s all about the presentation…for others it’s all about the FOOD. I know which group I belong in and don’t pretend to be a member of the other group. 😉

  5. 5
    julieann says:

    As a former teacher I’d like to mention two gifts that I really appreciated: personalized Christmas ornaments (with your child’s name and the year)—minus the apple motif, of course—and any type of decorative holiday towel. If you really use these towels they need to be replaced every few years or so anyway, so better to receive them as a gift complete with memories than to have to replace them yourself. Now I’m not certain that EVERY teacher would like the personalized ornaments, but I found that the moms who were willing do go to all that trouble were usually the moms of the kids I most wanted to remember. It’s so cool to pull out Garrett’ s “I heart Mrs. M” every year—by the way, it’s dated 1988. No age comments, please.

  6. 6
    Sherra says:

    @julieann: I love the personalized ornaments idea – and if you have a tree in your classroom that would be fun for decorating and such great keepsakes!!

  7. 7
    Peggy says:

    Here’s my very easy, yet affordable and I think appreciated gift. Since the kids have 7 or 8 (or more) teachers in Jr. Hi and H.S. and since I’m quite cheap, this is a good idea. We get each of the teachers a $2.00 scratch off lottery ticket, put it in a card, tape a candy cane to it, and viola’, easy gift! Plus! They have a chance on winning some real money!

  8. 8
    Sherra says:

    @Peggy: Is there tiny print at bottom of card that they must split it if they win big? Oh, I guess that would detract from the spirit of giving, wouldn’t it?

  9. 9
    Dawn says:

    These are really good and easy to make.
    Old Fashioned Ginger Strips

    3/4 cup softened butter
    1 cup sugar
    1 egg
    1/4 cup molasses
    2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp ginger
    1/2 tsp cloves
    2 1/2 cup flour

    3/4 cup powdered sugar
    1 T softened butter
    1 T milk, or a bit more
    1/2 tsp vanilla

    Heat oven to 350. Grease cookie sheets. In large bowl, combine butter, sugar, egg, and molasses. Mix thoroughly. Blend in remaining ingredients. Divide dough into 6 portions. Shape each part into a 12 inch roll on cookie sheet. Flatten slightly. Brush tops with water, sprinkle lightly with sugar.
    Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. (I Baked around 12 minutes, they looked slightly undercooked)
    Cool 5 minutes. Cut diagonally into 1 inch strips. Do not separate. Cool completely.
    In small bowl, combine glaze ingredients until smooth. If needed add a bit more milk to make a glaze like consistency. Drizzle over bars Allow glaze to set, & then separate into bars. Freezes great!


  1. […] year is no exception and the baking frenzy is just about over. PhilBillPaul made 12 pounds of fudge and chocolate dipped pretzels were […]

  2. […] was in full swing last week. Our annual baking frenzy where we make teacher gifts and various other goodies so we can contribute in our small way to the […]

  3. […] previous years, we’ve used baskets or gift bags as the vessel that holds the baked […]