advent conspiracy [spend less]: Alison Chino

As we look for ways to spend less, we thought it might be fun to share some creative gift ideas. This was originally posted by Alison last Saturday, Dec. 3, in conjunction with the Women’s Christmas Brunch at FN.

ten ideas for teacher christmas gifts

For our women’s event today at church, I am doing a demonstration on teacher gifts.

Of course, it goes without saying that these could also be neighbor gifts. Or gifts for friends.  Or gifts for the UPS man.  Whatever.

I usually choose something every year that I make a LOT of and I am always glad for the extras in those moments you need a little something for someone who drops by.

Here are some of the many things we’ve done as gifts, past and present.

1. Candied Nuts

Recipe for candied nuts can be found here.  They are so easy to make and always a hit!  A pound of nuts will fill up 5 or 6 cellophane bags depending on how full you make them.  You can also use mason jars to make them extra cutie.

2. Handy Tag Bag

Take all the piles of scrap paper you have from past projects or cut up new paper and use it to make handmade gift tags.  When we did this several years ago, we had several evenings of all the crafts out making these tags until we had piles of them everywhere.  We used stamps, punches, ribbons, embroidery thread and metallic pens to make an assortment of gift tags.

Once you have a good supply of tags made,  package a handful of tags (15-20) with a roll of tape and a sharpie or pen to have a thoughtful gift to hand out to your teachers. Now when they get out of school they will be all ready for gift wrapping!

3. Cookies

In the past I have made cookies and boxed up several different kinds for gifts.  I scoop the cookies with tiny scoops and use tiny cookie cutters so that they fill up little boxes better. Some of my favorite recipes to make for giving away are:

Snowball Cookies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sugar Cookies (from Martha Stewart)

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

Espresso Shortbread (from Smitten Kitchen)

Here’s an example of a fun little box I did last year:

This year I am doing packages with one big treat in them instead of a variety.  I’m taking a little more time to make them especially pretty!  Extra large iced sugar cookies and jumbo brownies are possibilities.  Also, Mary Polly and her friend, Kindell have been making cake pops that I think would make pretty gifts.

4. Chalkboard Chargers

Buy inexpensive plate chargers and paint them with chalkboard paint.  Package them with some chalk and write a sweet message around the rim.

5. Christmas Subway Art or Teacher Subway Art from eighteen25

Print these free downloads from eighteen 25 and either frame them or attach them to a clipboard.

6. You LIGHT up my life! {tea lights}

Wrap a few tea lights in tissue paper and a cello bag. Tie them with a bow.  And add a tag that says “Thank you for lighting up my life!”

7. Cinnamon + muffin recipe tag

Buy a bunch of nice cinnamon in bulk from Penzey’s or Whole Foods and fill tiny jars with it.  Tie on a card with a recipe for your favorite cinnamon muffins!  Yum.

8. You’re a CUT above the rest {cookie cutter}

Buy several cookie cutters and attach tags that say “You’re a cut above the rest!”  Bonus points: Also attach a recipe card with the recipe for the best sugar cookies.

9. Drink cups with fun tags from Lisa Storms

These cups are EVERYWHERE right now.  They have them in Christmas colors at TJMaxx.  I think the little flags are darling!

10. Felt Apple Coasters

I think these apple coasters would make darling Christmas ornaments for teachers too!  The girls around my house could probably even make them with their mad stitching skills.

If you have a great teacher gift you like to use, please share in the comments!  I’m always looking for new ideas!  Full tutorial on how to make these fun apples found here.

Happy Gifting!


Today’s post is by Alison Chino – she blogs here and twitters here. Married to Taido and mom to Cole, Mary Polly, Ben, and Simon, she loves cooking, reading, yoga, and travelling. One other way the Chinos will celebrate in Advent Conspiracy style will be through their annual Cupcakes for a Cause sale – check out that link, you don’t want to miss it!


This Christmas season at FN, we’ve decided to join into the Advent Conspiracy. As a part of celebrating together, we’ve asked several people to write about each week’s topic here on our blog. And we’d like for you to join in too: share your reactions, plans, or experiences in the comments. Or, if you post on your own blog, leave a link in the comments. Post pictures to our Facebook wall. Tweet us @fellowshipnorth. Let’s use our online space as a community – one that will conspire together this Christmas season!

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