Cheap and Cheerful Gourmet Gifts for Teachers

Our school has finished the year confoundedly early (Why? Why? #howtheheckshouldiknow? #holidaypanic!!) This has had numerous ramifications on the everyday life of our family. The main one being CHAOS.

I was not prepared for the Christmas rush hitting me on December 1 with sledgehammer-like force. There I was all happy about the Christmas countdown, when it said 42 and 38 days to go. When it hit 25 I bravely posted a snowman counting down photo. See how the snowman is not really smiling? He knows what's coming..

Suddenly I found myself staring down the barrel of nine weeks holiday (actually 8.5 weeks, but you get my drift) that included a lot of trips to the supermarket with four kids in tow. Not to mention the Christmas shopping I haven't done yet and the busy round of events and festivities. Eek!

So I did what any sensible person would do when faced with this potentially stressful situation. I mass deleted emails.
Sorry to all those trying to make contact. Yes I missed three end-of-year dinners and three lots of teacher/present $ collecting. I hope I haven't offended too many people. I kind of had my own idea for teacher gifts. And with Christmas baking to do, I had to go off line in order to focus.

Loved these as an accessory to otherwise plain Christmas cupcakes. Packs going cheap in ALDI.
These are plain vanilla cupcakes with peppermint flavoured icing and red and green sprinkles. Simple. But Cute.
As for the teacher gifts, there were going to be quite a few. Teachers are amazing people. They deserve a special treat or two.
While I may not have been organised on every level, I had been collecting:
  • Jam
  • Silver Spoons
  • Puddings
  • Tea
  • Vintage Bowls 
My first inspiration came from a photo posted by the lovely girls at  Fete Press, whose magazine and website is very swoon worthy. They had put this together: two lovely jams with some quirky and delectable looking spoons. And I loved the simplicity of it as a gift idea.
Everyone likes jam, don't they? It's a little luxury that doesn't cost the earth, and doesn't become tomorrow's clutter. It's useful and sweet and enjoyable, and then it's gone.

I went with the French Bonne Maman jams, which are easy to find in supermarkets or fruit shops. They cost around $5 a jar, and the packaging is lovely. Their range includes the amazing Chestnut Cream, Caramel Spread and Quince Jelly, so there's something to suit every taste.

Also in the supermarket are Christmas puddings to suit most tastes. I stayed with the 'name' brands: Jamie Oliver and Heston Blumenthal. Great packaging and inexpensive at around $7 each.

Same with the tea. I chose some gourmet blends from the supermarket shelves. Good looking boxes with snazzy flavours. Had to be under $5.

The trick is finding inexpensive foodstuffs with a gourmet "special occasion" feel. Things the recipient wouldn't necessarily buy for themselves - but will hopefully enjoy as a special treat. Heck, if they don't like  jam/pudding (and it could be my staple diet this holiday, considering how much I've accumulated) they can always re-gift it. Try doing that with a "Best Teacher" mug!

Next I was rubbing my thrifting hands with glee over a stash of silver cutlery in my local op shop going for 50c a piece.  Perhaps not as functional as a wooden spoon but more my style of vintage chic meets Downton Abbey elegance. A nice silver spoon (and I wasn't picky on sizes or styles) is beautiful and practical stuck into a luscious jar of jam on any table.

If the silver spoon idea seems a bit too hard, go to any kitchen shop to pick up a spoon that looks good enough on its own.

So I matched boxes of tea with jam and a spoon, and mini puddings with tea and a spoon. I was happy with the results. All gifts came in under $12 each and I hope the teachers find them useful and yummy and fun.

I don't really resent them for finishing school so early.

Not really.

And I loved this gorgeous Hanks jam that fitted perfectly into a vintage china bowl with a shiny silver spoon on the side. The labelling is snazzy and the flavour, Strawberry and Vanilla Bean sounds amazing. Also good to be buying Australian of course.

For wrapping, brown paper and cellophane look good, with ribbon and a dash of tinsel for bling. I added the spoon to the outside of the wrapping.

Know why?

Because the spoon is the WOW factor - something a little unexpected, cute and useful.
Teachers like that sort of thing. Trust me.

do you have many gifts to give?
fresh out of ideas?
I'm putting more on my Facebook page - like me for info on bargains and brands I've found to help you.
(It'll distract me from the panic..)


  1. they look wonderful Sarah - well done. I ended up going to Bed Bath and Table where the Christmas Decorations were 30% off and bought these cute little birds on a red ribbon - they wrapped them there and I bought some Christmas ribbon at the same time and asked them to put some ribbon around the brown paper package - cost $4.40 each! Very happy! I did this at 2.10pm y'day arvo. Enjoy the hols, Merylx

    1. Meryl, I love BB&T! The Christmas decorations are always wonderful and I can't tell you how much I admire your buying/bargaining/presentation and time management skills! Fabulous effort!! :-) sbdx

  2. I love that I could hear your voice in this post. I felt like we were chatting over tea! I would enjoy your gifts so I know the teachers will too!

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