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!
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.
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.