You know your child’s teacher works hard, and your child would like to get that special teacher something during this season of giving.
Your child has probably been learning about developing healthy eating habits and staying physically active. Maybe you’d even like to model that behavior through your choice of a gift. But what are your options in the land of cookies, hot chocolate and candy, candy and more candy?
There are food and nonfood items that you can give that will convey your appreciation to your child’s teacher and without going into debt or adding to the sea of sugar laden goodies.
If the teacher is a coffee drinker, consider giving a pound of coffee beans. If it’s tea he or she prefers, how about a selection of teas with a nice tea cup. Tea cups are inexpensive at second-hand stores.
Fresh fruit and nuts are always welcome as a mid-afternoon snack. Homemade granola or trail mixes are easy to make. The OSU website, Foodhero.org, has a recipe for DIY Trail Mix that can be customized to fit almost anyone’s preferences and can be made in large quantities for multiple gift giving.
Now that there are gluten free items available, the snack can even be made gluten-free and nut-free for anyone with special dietary restrictions.
If your child’s teacher likes to cook, a homemade spice mixture or a basket with the makings for a dinner can’t be beat. This is especially welcome during a hectic work week when the teacher comes home and needs to make dinner for a family.
Wallowa County is famous for its abundance of handmade and homegrown items. From soaps to lotions, hand- knitted items or even a dozen fresh eggs with a bow all lend themselves to gift possibilities. If you sew, knit or crochet, a nice pillow is fun and easy, especially if it’s one that can be taken into the classroom for others to enjoy.
If there is a photographer in the family, a scenic photograph from one of your family trips in an inexpensive frame (again, think thrift store) is an idea.
Teachers spend a great deal of money out-of-pocket for supplies that are not covered by the school budget. A gift card to Safeway or Walmart, where school and program supplies can be purchased, is never out of style. A gift card to a local coffee shop is also a welcome gift.
Although the holidays are fraught with foods high in sugar, fat and calories, it’s possible to enjoy some sweets and still maintain a healthy eating plan. Cookies or breads that rely on dried fruits and nuts, instead of a lot of sugar or butter, make for a nice food gift. Homemade vinegars, mustards and pickled vegetables are easy to make and low in calories and sugar. If you have home-canned items, such as applesauce, those can be turned into gifts, too.
Whatever you decide, your children’s teachers will appreciate the thought, and knowing you recognize their hard work is the best gift of all. Happy holidays!
Ann Bloom is a nutrition program assistant for the OSU Extension Service in Wallowa County. She can be contacted at 541-426-3143.