I got this idea years ago from here! I buy a cheap glass/plastic ornaments and write my student's name on it. Each child gets their own name. I buy them cheap after Christmas each year. I'm lucky..my husband does fancy writing so they always look great. I also write the year on them. They are a momento of our year together. As I'm from Australia and our school year ends 3 days before Christmas, it is a nice way to finish the year. For children who do not celebrate Christmas I may have a small book or something similar.
I package them in a box and I tie fancy ribbon so they can hang the ornament from the tree. Ribbon also bought cheap after Christmas in the sales! All up it usually costs no more than $5 for a set of 30. Have to be nice to my husband though!! Every year I do it I get lots of oohs and aahs. Good luck !
I am making each one of my students a Santa Clause light bulb. I take a regular lightbulb and paint a santa face on it. I then take a fancy marker and write their name and year on the beard part of the bulb. I started 50 last night and should be done by Thanksgiving.
Last year, Wal-Mart had these great flat gold ornaments. The jewelry department engraved them for free. I like doing stuff myself, so they let me use the little tool to engrave them myself. We hung them on the class tree, and then I let them take them home the last day of the semester. Each one had The student's name, the year, and the grade they were in.
I do those clear glass/plastic ornaments, too - I buy the round ones at Hobby Lobby or Joanne Fabrics. Then I take the little topper off and put that sparkly garland in it (the stars garland that is wire - gold, red, etc). Then I write their name and year on it with the special pen you can buy for glass ornaments (was right next to the ornaments when I bought them at the fabric store)
The kids in my mom's room (its as close to "my" room as I have right now) get:
2 pencils (1 is usually 3rd graders are super or 4th graders are great, something special)
1 blue pen
1 red pen
1 candy cane
1 notepad (they LOVE to write on these)
The teachers put them in the Christmas ziplocs. The kids get this bag from all 4 of their teachers (science/social studies, reading, writing, and math). So it works out to be pretty inexpensive, not time consuming, and the kids love the notepads for writing things to each other (and usually, nothing bad comes from them). Plus, its something practical that the kids can use at school. Just think how many ornaments and knick knacks we get every year that we can't use.
My partner teacher and I make up a booklet of coupons for each student. We include a homework pass to skip one assignment, sit by a friend for a day, talk during the entire lunch period, 5 extra points on a test, etc.
I gave my students (3rd grade) small stuffed animals last year (you can buy a whole bag pretty cheap at teacher stores, or Oriental Trading) and they LOVED them! I'll probably do the same thing this year.
I have done Christmas ornaments. I buy those christmas ornament apples and write their names on with silver Sharpies. I thought the apples seemed kind of teachery (new word). Also, I have done books from Scholastic (95 cents or used bonus points). I have given those BIG candy bars. You can get them on sale before Christmas sometimes for 75 cents (ex. really big Hershey bars). They loved that. They are impressed by the size. Usually, none of them have had a candy bar that big.
When my son was an infant and going through jars of baby food left and right, I decided to use these as snow globes for presents. I bought mini ornaments at the craft store along with some styrofoam. I cool glued the styrofoam to the underside of the lid and attached the ornament to that. I filled the jar with water and glitter and screwed the lid on. A bead of hot glue and a nice ribbon tied around the outside and the kids loved them.
I also give the coupon book--they love the chance to turn them in for fun things like eat lunch with a friend, read a comic during silent reading ect. Last year, I wrote the books in code and I think they enjoyed trying to break the code even more than the gift!
Last year I gave each student a little stocking filled with candy and small toys purchased at the dollar store. I am thinking this year I'd like to give them each a special card with a gift certificate to the school store.
I use Mic. Word to create personalized stationary for my students, and then I copy 20 pieces each for the kids. I buy colored paper to give it a little "kick," but that's the extent of the spending. The kids love it, the parents love it, and it's cheap.
Some teachers use Bonus Points from book orders to buy each child a book. Others buy pencils, stickers, candies, etc.
But I personally like my idea the best.
I think it's nice just to give them a little something, no matter what you do. It's the thought that counts.
I just happened on this website...I am NEVER on this - so if you respond, could you please email me. I LOVE the idea of your coupon book - especially the fact that you wrote them in code!! Do you have those saved on your computer? If so - would you mind sharing those with me? I would LOVE it if you emailed me the blackline. My email address is: email@example.com
Do you mind sharing your stationary? I am curious to see what it looks like - I think it's a GREAT idea! If you are willing to share it, could you please send it as an attachment to me? My email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
I have to admit that it's not my idea, but I think my students will love it. I bought Christmas mugs at the dollar store. (the manager was really in the spirit as she gave me half off when I told her why I was buying 29 mugs). I put a package of hot chocolate, 3 hershey kisses, 10 mini marshmallows and a candy cane that serves a stir stick. I attached the following note.
I was told you've been really good this year.
Always glad to hear it!
With freezing weather drawing near,
You'll need to warm the spirit.
So here's a little Snowman Soup
Complete with stirring stick.
Add hot water, sip it slow.
It's sure to do the trick!
I put every thing (subsitituting a soft peppermint stick for the hershey's kisses) in a plastic zip lock bag minus the mugs......I was tempted to put the poem for Snowman Poop versus Snowman Soup but I know my principal does not want to hear from any parents on the last day of school before vacation...........the mugs are a cute idea - I will remember them for next year - Walgreens had great mugs on sale for 50 cents versus a dollar........