Suburban Soiree


Teacher Gift Ideas... They Actually Want

Christmas, Tuesday TreatsAmy WileyComment

I love many teachers and many of them are also close friends. A reader reached out and asked for teacher gift ideas and I was happy to share. I am passionate about doing my best to bless teachers.

I’m always quizzing my teacher friends about what they want… and what they don’t want. Bottom line… they love gift cards and useful things! You can still be creative and make it pretty, but practical is the way to go. Teachers don’t need another coffee mug or clever sign. I know many also would rather not receive home-baked items for a number of reasons. With all that in mind… here are my go-to teacher gifts.

This post contains affiliate links.

Fancy Markers and Pens


Teachers have a deep appreciation for good pens and markers. This is an affordable, functional gift any time of year! I like to give these pens and these markers. A fresh package full of fun colors is such a treat.

A Little Chocolate and a Gift Card

Gift cards paired with chocolate are another one of my go-to gifts. I love these little boxes of caramels from Trader Joe’s with a convenient slot for the gift card.


My other favorite I’ve given dozens of times over the years is a bag of Ghiradelli chocolate caramel squares. This is my favorite variety, but there are so many to choose from. I use a hole puncher to put two holes at the top of the bag, then thread ribbon through and tie a bow. You can give as-is or step it up by adding a gift card to Starbucks or Amazon. I like to use glue dots to attach them.


Personalized Notepad

The next idea came from a wise teacher friend of mine. These notepads come in sets of 8. You can put a different name on each one and give them to all the teachers on your list! This is a lovely gift and it comes out to under $4 per notepad. I like to wrap them in a cello bag and you can easily add a gift card to the mix if you like.


Money Tree

I did this several years ago for a class gift to our preschool teacher. Everyone donated money and we presented it as a money tree. You can find tiny live Christmas trees this time of year just about anywhere, or use one like this so it will last forever. I thought this little flocked tree was darling. Simply tie paper money with twine or ribbon all over the tree. Who wouldn’t love this?! I used dollar bills I had on hand for this example but of course you could go bigger… especially if it’s a group gift.


It’s a great time of year to bless the teachers who do so much. Happy gifting!

With Love From Loveland: Add a Special Touch to Your Valentine's Day Mail

Amy Wiley3 Comments

I love me some snail mail.  I truly get excited to check my mailbox each and every day.  I consider it a little box at the end of my driveway where on any given day a fun surprise could show up.  I'm not even kidding.  The way to my heart is through the United States Postal Service.

I love sending mail as much as I enjoy receiving it.  Each Valentine's Day since I became a mother (which was February 15th, 2007 after a very long Valentine's Day spent in labor) I've sent family and friends Valentine's photo cards of my kids... with a special twist.   It's a Colorado thing, but no matter where you live, you can participate!  It's the Loveland Valentine Re-mailing Program.


Since 1947, volunteers in "The Sweetheart City" have hand-stamped a special Valentine's Day message on cards sent in to the program.  It's so easy and free!  You just prepare your cards to be mailed normally.  Then put all your stamped, addressed cards in a big envelope and mail it to:

Postmaster - Attention Valentines

       446 E. 29th St.

       Loveland, CO 80538-9998

Volunteers will add a special Valentine's greeting (new every year) with a rubber stamp by hand and you'll have the unique Loveland postmark.  It's just too cute!  I always include one addressed to us so that we can see how they arrive.


The deadline for US destinations is February 7th.  So with a little extra planning, you can add some flair to your love letters and Valentine's greetings.  If you live in Colorado, you can drop them in designated bins at any King Soopers store and they will get them to Loveland with no need to put them all in a bigger envelope.

You can find all the details here.  What a fun way to brighten someone's mailbox, right?

Girlfriend Gifts

ChristmasAmy WileyComment

Gifts for girlfriends are some of the most fun to shop for, give and receive.  It's always nice to celebrate the friendships that mean so much to you with a little something at Christmas.  Here are my picks for fun and budget-friendly girlfriend gifts.


Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Kate Spade Earrings - These go with everything and always come in cute packaging.

Manicure Set - This glittery case is perfect to keep in your purse for any nail emergencies.

Thermal Mug - Run, don't walk... this Kate Spade mug is on sale!  Your friends can carry the cutest coffee all season.

Ornaments - It's no secret I'm a MacKenzie-Childs nut.  You could break up the set and give one to three friends.

Beauty Advent Calendar - I just love this.  A dozen beauty items to open!  This one would present so nicely.  

Sock Kit - I gave something similar last year and I'm giving some more this year.  I love a craft that is easy and quick. Plus, festive socks.

Platter - For the extra special friend in your life, this platter would be a huge hit!