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Cute, Inexpensive Thank You Gift Idea

May 21, 2012

Hello! I apologize for having been AWOL lately. A few factors converged all at once to keep me away from the computer.

I work in education, so this time of year gets hectic and drains my creative energy pretty quickly. At the same time, my husband had a break in his graduate school courses between spring and summer semesters. When he is working full-time and taking classes, we obviously don’t have very many leisurely afternoons and weekends to spend together. So we packed these couple of weeks full of walks, movies, Saturdays in Birmingham, gardening, cooking together, dinners out, errands, housework, and baseball games at the university. We finally got around to getting a new car to replace my 16-year-old Jeep. We bought bikes, which weirdly seemed to take more time, effort, and research than car shopping.


Anyway, David began classes again today, and I start summer break on Friday, so you should be seeing more of me around here again.

I thought I’d get this post up first, in case you are looking for cute, inexpensive gift ideas for your child’s teacher, your coworkers, or people who have helped you. I wanted to do something thoughtful for the wonderful group of parent volunteers who have assisted me throughout the year, as well as the people who serve on a committee I chair. I thought about giving each of them a $5 Starbucks card, but ideally wanted something cheaper. (I had 17 volunteers!)

So, I trolled Pinterest for inspiration, and you can see a number of the ideas I liked here on my “Gift Ideas” board. I combined a few of them and ended up with these mugs filled with peppermints, tea bags, and single-serve packets of lemonade and coffee.

The notes attached say something along the lines of “Thanks a ‘latte’ for being part of the ‘tea’m. Your ‘ade’ really ‘mint’ a lot!” Of course, you can use “tea”cher instead of “tea”m depending on who your recipients are. You can also use any noun ending in “-ment” for the “mint” word, like commit”mint,” involve”mint,” etc.

Each gift for the volunteers was only about $2.60, including the bag and tissue! I made the ones for my committee a bit nicer, with better varieties of coffee and tea, cuter ribbon, and the addition of latte and tea candy, so they cost a little more to make.


Here are the items I put together:

I ordered a box of 24 colorful plastic double-wall travel mugs from Dollar Tree. I had them delivered to my local store, so there was no charge for shipping; each mug only cost $1. Unfortunately the box does not include equal numbers of each color, so make sure you check to see exactly what you have before choosing paper and ribbon. Of course you could use a nicer ceramic or travel mug- these are just the best budget-friendly option I came across!

I found adorable double-sided polka dot/striped round tags in gray and pink from the Scrap Bits shop on Etsy. ($4 – $6 for a packet of 20.)

And I got round “Thank You” stickers in yellow, brown, and aqua from Cute Tape. ($6 for 90 stickers. That website also sells striped paper straws, pretty yet casual gift bags, and decorative tape.)

At the grocery store, I grabbed Starbucks Via single-serve packets of coffee ($7 for 6), or Nescafe Taster’s Choice in single-serve sticks (20 for $3.79). I also picked out some individually-wrapped tea bags. (Lipton tea bags [but not pyramids] are individually-wrapped, as are Bigelow, Twinings, Yogi, and Tazo. Stash tea bags come individually-wrapped, and in an amazing variety of colors if you want to work with a specific color scheme.)

The peppermint candies are from the grocery store too, as are the single-serve Publix lemonade and Archer Farms cherry limeade packets. If you want fancier/more expensive individual servings of lemonade, this McSteven’s brand looks intriguing.

You can get Bali’s Best green tea latte and coffee-flavored candy online, but I’ve also seen them sometimes at stores like World Market. I like to sprinkle them in gifts because they are so unique.

The mugs fit perfectly into some basic brown paper gift bags with handles that I saw at Michael’s for .59 each, or about $4.50 for 13. I think they were 5.25 x 3.25 inches. I used ribbon that I had on hand, but if you are in the market for some, my favorite place to buy pretty ribbon is Hobby Lobby.

Does that all make sense? It seems like a lot of writing for a pretty straightforward concept! Did I leave out any important details? If you have questions or would like clarification on packing or anything else, please do not hesitate to comment or email me. Otherwise, I hope this post will be useful for some of you who may be looking for practical, small, easy, and cheap “thank you” gift ideas this time of year. I was pleased with how they turned out, and feel good that they were cute, fun, and somewhat personalized without breaking the bank.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Amber August 2, 2013 at 2:10 pm

I am a teacher for an extended school year and this is by far the best gift I could give my wonderful aides! Thank you for your creative, yet sentimental gift creation!

Warm regards,


granolagrits August 11, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Hi Amber! You are so welcome! I am thrilled you like the idea and hope your aides loved it and felt appreciated. I bet they turned out really cute- I’d love to hear any tweaks you made to the idea or see pictures if you happened to take any! Thank you for visiting and for your feedback! I’m glad you stopped by!


Amanda Stewart November 6, 2013 at 6:46 pm

I am a student teacher, and I was trying to find an idea with coffee mugs and coffee for my lab teachers. I was running around town going nuts trying to find a cute enough gift on a small budget. I am so glad I saw these. Now, I can make gifts for the other faculty, too! Thank you, thank you, and thank you!


Rachel November 22, 2014 at 8:54 pm

These ideas are great. Have been looking for some little gifts for my parent helpers and swimming teachers etc. Now I’ve got lots of ideas. Thanks.


Robin December 2, 2014 at 7:08 am

LOVE this idea! I’ve been looking for a fairly inexpensive gift for my coworkers and this is ideal!!! Thank you for sharing!!!


Echo June 9, 2015 at 11:26 am

These would be great little gifts for “Pop-bys” as a realtor! Thanks!


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