Earlier this month I posted about trying to stay on track and organized for the holidays. This is part of those plans.
It's always a difficult decision trying to put together something for the teachers this time of year. While I want to show my appreciation for the effort that goes into teaching my children, I also don't want to have to take out a loan to pay for Christmas gifts.
Two of my older kids recently got interested in bulk teas, and this is what inspired this idea for Teacher's Gifts this year.
And this is where I wish I had a camera!
First, scout Thrift Stores in your area for Christmas themed coffee mugs. You'll find them for $1.00 or less each. Trust me. Coffee mugs are something every thrift store has in abundance. Make sure they have no cracks or chips, and that the image on the mug is still shiny and new looking. Also check the bottoms to make sure no one has written or etched their name onto the cup. You can buy these new, but buying them used means something got recycled, and whatever charity your Thrift Store supports got some money. This year we're making 18 teacher's gifts, so we'll buy 18 mugs. Many smaller, church run thrifts will let you haggle over prices when you're buying that many items, so if money is tight, keep that in mind.
Next, order some loose tea, and tea infusers. I got mine from Mountain Rose Herbs. I got the mesh teaspoons here, for $2.25 each, and a pound of basic Earl Grey tea, here, for $11.00. A pound of loose tea leaves is more than enough to make even the 18 of these gifts I will need. I chose Earl Grey because it's something that almost everyone enjoys, and the flavor isn't strong or surprising, so even those who are unaccustomed to drinking loose tea should enjoy it. Hot chocolate, especially home made, would be a good substitute. We chose tea because it's different, and because it's an interest the kids have.
Next, get some gift tags or make your own. We ordered this stamp, for $4.50, and a pack of 60# white paper for $2.50 from Paper Source, which we cut into fun shapes and hole punched. I let the kids stamp these while I put about 3 tablespoons of tea into individual baggies, and printed labels off on the computer that said "Earl Grey Tea" to go on the baggies.
A trip to Walmart for Christmas colored twirlie ribbon, four yards of red tulle, and some red and green starlight mints completed our preps for these Christmas gifts for our teachers. Mint is an excellent compliment to Earl Grey tea, so we wanted to be sure to include those. While starlight mints aren't the traditional method of matching tastes, I've found over the years that most teachers appreciate having hard candy available for those times they can't get away from their desks but need a little something sweet. We spent about $20.00 on these supplies at Walmart.
To put our gifts together, we put one tea infuser into each coffee mug. Then we filled each mug about 2/3 full with the assorted mints, filling around the tea infuser. We added a baggie of tea to each mug, and then centered the mug on a 12" x 12" piece of tulle. We brought up the edges of the tulle, and tied with twirlie ribbon, also tying on a gift tag at that point. We twirled the ribbon, and delivered the gifts.
We spent about $96.50 in total for 18 mugs, or about $5.36 per mug. We will have the stamp to use again and again, and paper, ribbon and tea left over for other crafting, gifting, or caffeine needs. I am really not a crafty person, but this gift was super easy to put together and definitely felt much more personal than buying a set at the store, which would have been easily twice the price.