Are your kids counting down the days until school’s out? Guess who else is… TEACHERS! Every time I volunteer at school, I appreciate more and more those brave souls who can not only maintain their sanity amidst chaos on a full-time basis, but actually manage to deliver knowledge into the brains of our squirmy, distracted kids!
It’s already May, so now is the time to start thinking about those end-of-the-year teacher gifts. Whether you pool resources with other parents, or go it alone, there’s a wide range of options with various price points to consider. You can certainly opt for Target and Walmart cards, so they can stock up on school supplies for next year, but I had some more frivolous fun in mind. Here’s a handy list of gift and gift card suggestions to get you started.
It starts with an “A,” so it has to come first! I’m not talking about sending in a half gallon of Jack Daniels with a bow on it (though, it would probably be appreciated, after a tough year), but if you know that your child’s teacher enjoys an adult beverage now and then, why not pick up the next round via gift card?
Martin Wine Cellar (Uptown, Metairie, Mandeville)
In addition to a fabulous wine selection and a really helpful staff, they also offer beer, spirits, and gourmet nibbly items. The Metairie and Uptown shops also have bistros with some pretty delightful lunch and brunch menus.
Fat Tuesday/New Orleans Original Daiquiris (Covington, Hammond, New Orleans)
It’s about to get hot, y’all. And what better to go with a nice book and poolside lounging, than an icy daiquiri? This place is always a safe bet, with lots of locations, flavor options, and usually, convenient drive-thrus.
Daiquiri Bay Cafe Bar & Grill (Metairie)
I had to mention this one because not only do they have outstanding flavors (pink lemonade is my favorite of all time), but they run teacher specials all the time! See? They get that it’s a tough job! They have a convenient drive-thru, lots of flavor options, and they also serve food.
After endless hours of grading papers and doing lesson plans, that special teacher might enjoy finally having free time to stretch out on a hammock with a good book.
2nd & Charles (Covington)
Though it’s technically part of a chain, this Northshore gem has a cool, independent vibe. It sells both new and used books, plus video games, vinyl records, DVDs, hip t-shirts, and eclectic gifts and accessories.
Barnes & Noble (Mandeville, Metairie, West Bank)
The beauty of Barnes & Noble lies in its huge selection, multiple locations, and ease of online shopping. (And their stores smell like that heavenly Starbucks coffee!)
The ultimate indulgence. It’s one of my favorite gifts to give or receive, either on its own, or as a little lagniappe to accompany another gift. We’re not talking about the cheap, drug store variety, though — only the good stuff!
Blue Frog Chocolates New Orleans (Uptown, Lakeside kiosk)
Blue Frog has been voted best candy shop in New Orleans for six consecutive years by the readers of Gambit Weekly, so you know they’re great! They have an eclectic selection of novelty chocolates, cocoas, sauces, chocolate bars, strawberries dipped in chocolate, Italian candy flower bouquets, and Aunt Kate’s Old Fashioned Pecan Pralines.
Godiva Chocolatier (Lakeside)
Well, you can’t go wrong with a gift card or a beautiful golden box from the grandame of them all. Since 1926, this internationally acclaimed company has specialized in gourmet Belgian chocolates, truffles, cocoa, and other sweet gift items. Their only local store is in Lakeside Mall, but you can also find their products at Fresh Markets and Barnes & Nobles on both shores.
Sucré (French Quarter, Magazine Street, Lakeside)
Sucré is like our own little local Godiva, with its beautiful packaging (namely, the little pink purses), decadent array of chocolates (and signature macarons!), and all-around elegance. The Magazine Street, French Quarter, and Lakeside boutiques also serve desserts and coffee/espresso, while the chic Salon Restaurant in the Quarter offers modern high tea service, brunch and light lunch menus, clever cocktails, and house-made sodas. Northshore friends, Rouse’s Supermarket in Mandeville carries a nice selection of their goodies, as well.
I think I truly realized the discipline that’s required to be a teacher when I was commiserating about work with an old college roommate a couple years after we graduated. She was teaching second grade, I was working at a public relations agency. Though I was paid worse, had few benefits, and worked nights and weekends, she pointed out that she couldn’t take random coffee breaks. Ever. Yikes! Treat your child’s teacher to some well-deserved coffee breaks at any number of excellent establishments.
P.J.’s Coffee of New Orleans (Multiple locations on both shores)
Their first shop was in the Carrollton neighborhood of New Orleans, now they’re all over the place — with plenty of locations on both shores. In addition to their lovely coffee blends and espresso drinks, they also do fruit smoothies, chai and other teas served hot or iced, plus frozen lemonade, and hot and frozen hot chocolate. Their food options include sweet baked goodies and a few breakfast sandwiches.
Starbucks (Multiple locations on both shores)
While I am not a fan of their regular roasts, even I have to admit that Starbucks’ espresso concoctions are pretty tough to beat. Plus, they are everywhere and pretty much every location has a drive-thru, so they’re super convenient. They have plenty of sweet and savory, hot and cold edible options, plus hot and cold teas, smoothies, handcrafted sodas, kid-friendly drinks, healthy juice concoctions, and “Refresher” iced beverages.
Independent coffee joints are hit-and-miss when it comes to gift cards. Several of my favorite places on both shores don’t offer them — I was shocked! But, you might get lucky. If you’d prefer to support a smaller establishment, just call them up and ask if they carry them.
Spas are always great options if you are pooling resources with other parents, but they also usually have very affordable options, if you are planning on going it alone and/or spending somewhat modestly.
Body Art Day Spa & Hair Salon (Destrehan)
Body Art is all about beauty, relaxation, and revitalization. The salon offers haircuts, color, and styling, plus eyelash, eyebrow, and makeup services. The stress-relieving spa has a full menu of therapeutic massages, body wraps, facials, nail services. They also offer teeth whitening and laser therapy for weight loss and to quit smoking.
Earthsavers Spa + Store (Mandeville, Metairie, Uptown)
While they have a full menu of services for nails, face, and body, they also offer some unconventional healing services, like immunotherapy, in which therapeutic grade essential oils and blends are applied to the body to help defend against bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. They also sell their own line of botanically derived face and body products that also make great gifts.
Paris Parker Salon & Spa (Mandeville, multiple New Orleans locations)
They offer lots of both standard and exotic options for facials, massages, and body treatments. For your hair, they offer cuts, styles, extensions, color, and texture/treatments, plus they do waxing and services for lashes, brows, and nails. If the teacher is environmentally conscious, she might like to know that Paris Parker has raised over $500,000 to benefit environmental and clean-water organizations, such as the Lower Mississippi Riverkeeper® and the Gulf Restoration Network. Cool, right?
If none of these ideas floats your boat, you can also check to see if the school or room mom has a list of the teacher’s preferences. These cheat sheets are the best, especially if they reveal the teacher’s hobbies or favorite restaurant. And don’t forget to check our shopping page, too! We have other great customers listed like Auraluz Linen & Gifts and Tyson Knockout Cleaning that would also make great gift ideas.