Paper Matters Blog
Give Teachers the Gift of Paper This Year

‘Tis the season to be list making…grocery lists for baking and holiday get-togethers, address lists for holiday cards and of course, lists for gift giving.  Many parents would agree that holiday gifts for those who help and support their children during the year are important to add to their shopping lists – teachers likely at the top.

Teachers Deserve More

A quick search for “teacher appreciation gifts” on Pinterest yields a plethora of unique and creative ideas.  But before you reach for that coffee mug, “world’s best teacher” item or “thanks a hole bunch” donut pack, instead try searching “what teachers really want.”  Here you’ll find a completely different set of ideas for your list.

Many teachers indicate simple hand-written notes of appreciation or homemade cards are among the items they treasure most.  One commented she keeps a pick-me-up file filled with notes she can reread after a rough day.

But topping the list of items teachers want (but will seldom ask for) were gift cards.  When you consider many teachers subsidize their classrooms out of their own pockets, this shouldn’t be too surprising.  According to a 2021 Teacher Spending Survey on, the average amount teachers spend without getting reimbursed is $511.  One in four teachers spends over $750 annually on supplies.  A quarter of teachers say their schools don’t provide any funds at all for classroom supplies.

Non-profit tells a similar story.  Their survey found that teachers spent an average of $750 during the 2020-21 school year, with 30% spending $1,000 or more on school supplies.  Teacher spending has increased 25% since first began surveying teachers in 2015.

Teachers have historically been able to deduct up to $250 annually on out-of-pocket expenses such as books, supplies, and other materials used in the classroom (or $500 for two married teachers).  The IRS recently added Covid-19 protective items (i.e., masks, hand sanitizers, etc.) as counting toward this deduction for 2021.  To be sure, as noted earlier most teachers spend more than $250 over the course of a normal school year in supplies and did so before the coronavirus pandemic, which inflated costs even more.

The Perfect Gift

If the gift card idea seems too impersonal, or local school rules prohibit individual gift-giving, the PTO Today website has some unique ideas, including an ‘ultimate buffet’.  Parents got together and purchased various items, including school supplies, disinfecting wipes, gift cards, house plants and other items and invited all teachers to each select 14 items.

And of course – don’t forget to include paper on that buffet!  Many teachers’ Wish Lists include printer paper and in particular, colored paper.   Xerox® Vitality Colors® Pastel Multipurpose Paper is a great choice for color coding and organizing in the classroom.  Available in 12 colors, including 3 assorted color reams, this versatile paper is environmentally responsible with 30% post-consumer recycled fiber.

Bright color paper is also popular in the classroom to create fun craft projects and bulletin boards.  With Domtar’s Color Paper 625-sheet mega ream of assorted colors, a teacher’s classroom will be well-stocked for the new semester!

Ultimately, if you choose to give, we’re certain that teachers will be grateful for whatever gift they receive and appreciate the thought and generosity behind the gesture. Still, it couldn’t hurt and could help, if you choose paper this Christmas

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