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45 Awesome Teacher Retirement Gift Ideas

Show a retiring teacher how much they impacted your life with one of these heartfelt gifts.

Teachers can have a huge impact on our lives! In interviews and speeches, many celebrities and other outstanding people have credited their teachers with putting them on that path. Many of us can think back to a special teacher that made an impact in our own lives, too.

So, when a teacher like that retires, it’s important to show them what they mean to us! Here are 45 teacher retirement gifts that express your admiration and appreciation for a special teacher. Some are funny, some are sentimental, and some are practical presents. All of them can show a special teacher how much they mean to you.

45 Unique Teacher Retirement Gift Ideas

These gift ideas are as unique as the teachers who guided you on your journey!

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Orchid Gift Set

  • For Helping You Blossom

  • $$$$$
  • Decor

Orchids make lovely teacher retirement gifts because they last for years and years if they’re cared for. This one also comes with a beautifully scented orchid candle as well. The candle comes in a decorative box, perfect for gift-giving.


  • Never Stop Learning

  • $$$$$
  • Hobbies

Many teachers are voracious readers, which is probably why they embraced the profession! Help them keep their book appetite satisfied with a Kindle. They can simply buy or check out more books at any time, and it’s a great device for traveling.

Teacher Notebook

  • For Writing Their Memoirs

  • $$$$$
  • Hobbies, Sentimental

Now that they don’t have to race out the door to school in the morning, perhaps your teacher friend might want to spend a little time journaling. This notebook has more than 50 double-sided pages and says, “An awesome teacher is hard to find, difficult to part with, and impossible to forget.” It could also be used to record books they’ve read or notes on their travels.

One Smart Cookie Set

  • For A Sweet Teacher

  • $$$$$
  • Practical, Sentimental, Food & Drink

This baking set gives one of the best teacher retirement gifts – a sense of how much they’re appreciated! The potholder says, “Thanks for making me one smart cookie,” and the set comes with a rubber scraper and a packet of cookie mix. Not only does it convey a meaningful message, but it’s also a very useful set as well – just about everyone can use another potholder!

Gift Cards

  • Teacher’s Choice

  • Practical

They may not be the most exciting gift to give, but gift cards are some of the most practical. They make especially good teacher retirement gifts if you’re collecting money from students or fellow educators because you can spend exactly the amount of money you collect on the present! Also, since teachers get gifts from lots of students, this is one gift that isn’t a problem if several others duplicate it in the class.

Bean Box Gourmet Coffee Sampler

  • Java Jolt

  • $$$$$
  • Food & Drink

If the retiring teacher is a coffee-lover, a coffee sampler box may delight them…especially now that they can linger over a cup in the morning! This sampler box includes four expertly chosen coffees. The beans are professionally ground to release the perfect amount of flavor, and they come with tasting notes and brewing tips.

Literary Insults Chart

  • Elegant Put-Downs

  • $$$$$
  • Funny, Decor

A retiring English teacher or librarian will appreciate this chart of insults from literary greats like Mark Twain and Shakespeare – one of the most eloquent shade-throwers out there. From calling someone an acorn to saying, “she doesn’t so much cook as assassinate food,” there are some great one-liners that they can toss out as zingers for a good laugh.

Retirement Wine Bottle Labels

  • Wine With A Twist

  • $$$$$
  • Funny, Food & Drink

These wine bottle labels would make a hilarious gift for teachers or professors who are retiring because they’re quirky and funny ways to say goodbye. With labels that read “Congrats on Being A Quitter” and “You Can Wine All You Want, You’re Retired!” these are a fun way to send off a retiring teacher, especially when they’re combined with some delicious bottles of wine!

I'm A Teacher, What's Your Superpower Candle

  • A Scentsible Present

  • $$$$$
  • Decor

Candles make great teacher retirement gifts because they’re consumable, meaning even if they get more than one, teachers will eventually work their way through all their candles. This one smells like lemon, peach, and orange and reminds the world of how exceptional teachers are.

Teacher Charm Bracelet

  • For A Charming Teacher

  • $$$$$
  • Sentimental

A teacher will love this bracelet with charms like this round one that says, “It Takes a Big Heart to Teach Little Minds.” It also has an initial, an apple (of course!), a heart, and a small pearl charm. Because it’s stainless steel, it won’t rust and it’s hypoallergenic.

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The Influence of A Great Teacher Mug

  • A Sweet Teacher Treat

  • $$$$$
  • Food & Drink, Sentimental

Mugs are practical teacher retirement gifts that they can use for a long time after their last day in class. This one would be a nice present with some gourmet coffee or tea, or maybe chocolates to accompany the sweet message on the mug.

Teacher Angel Figure

  • Teachers Are Saints

  • $$$$$
  • Decor, Sentimental

This Willow Tree resin angel holding an apple is hand-painted and comes with a card that says, “Thank you for making a difference.” It would make a lovely Christmas figure or a beautiful figurine to display any time of year. Make sure the teacher in your life knows how important they are!

Thank You For Helping Me Grow Bracelet

  • For A Precious Teacher

  • $$$$$
  • Sentimental

Show your teacher what an influence she had on you with these bracelets! They come as a set of two – a narrow, plain copper bracelet cuff and a wider stainless steel cuff that says “Love Inspire Teach” on the outside, and “You have made a difference in my life. Thank you for helping me grow” inscribed inside.

Classic Literature Rocks Glass

  • Classy Cocktails

  • $$$$$
  • Food & Drink

These cocktail glasses feature quotes from famous novels like Ulysses, War of the Worlds, and Moby Dick. They’ll give anyone’s cocktail hour an even more refined air, but a retiring English teacher will especially appreciate them.

Note that these glasses are ordered individually, so be sure to adjust the quantity if you want a set.

Travel Journal

  • For The Planners

  • $$$$$
  • Practical

If you know a teacher who 1) has been looking forward to retirement so they could travel and 2) is a big planner who loves plotting things out ahead of time, this journal is for them! It has space to plan a budget, add notes while researching places to go, and a spot to journal during the trip. Afterward, they’ll have a self-contained scrapbook of their adventures.

The New Yorker Book of Teacher Cartoons

  • Sometimes You Gotta Laugh

  • $$$$$
  • Funny

This hilarious collection of New Yorker cartoons captures the funny, absurd, crazy life of being a teacher. The cartoons feature teachers, students, and parents in all the odd and quirky situations that school can cause. Sometimes, you have to just sit back and laugh at it all.

Coffee And Book Club Monthly Subscription Box

  • A Perfect Pairing

  • $$$$$
  • Food & Drink, Hobbies

Who doesn’t love sitting down with a hot cup of coffee and a good book? This subscription box provides both! Each month teachers will receive a 12-ounce bag of gourmet coffee and two new hardcover books in the chosen genre. It’s a great way to be introduced to new coffee…and new books!

Canvas Duffle Bag

  • See The World

  • $$$$$
  • Hobbies, Practical

Now that they’re retired, teachers have more time to travel! Whether they’re going on a weekend trip to visit family or planning a trip to a far-off land, this duffel bag has plenty of room and lots of pockets to make packing easy.

Ballpark Scratch Off Map Poster

  • Track The Bucket List

  • $$$$$
  • Hobbies

Lots of people dream of visiting every MLB stadium in the country after they retire, and this map helps them track their progress. Teachers can scratch off each stadium as they visit, making this both interesting decor and an easy way to track where they travel. This would be a great present for a P.E. teacher or anyone who loves baseball!

Audible Subscription

  • Books On The Go

  • $$$$$
  • Hobbies

Avid readers don’t let mundane tasks like laundry, working out, or gardening stop them from reading! They simply move to audiobooks while they do these other tasks. Gift your teacher friend with a subscription to Audible, which has thousands of audiobooks from which to choose.

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School’s Out Forever Retired Teacher T-Shirt

  • Not My Problem

  • $$$$$
  • Funny

Grab this gag gift for your favorite retiring teacher and let them proudly announce to the world that they’re finally finished with school! You can customize the size and color of the shirt to make something that suits your teacher perfectly.

Literary Tea Bags

  • Tea & Conversation

  • $$$$$
  • Food & Drink

This selection of teas has tags on the string featuring literary quotes from authors and books throughout history. You’ll get a smattering of Shakespeare, of course, plus C.S. Lewis, Louisa May Alcott, and many more. It’s definitely a great present for an English teacher or anyone who loves to get their nose into a good book.

Fitbit Health Tracker

  • Keep Track Of Good Health

  • $$$$$
  • Practical, Hobbies

Fitbits are good teacher retirement gift ideas…or good gift ideas for anyone who’s retiring! It may take some time after retirement to develop a new daily schedule, and unless exercise and good health are a priority, they could get left behind. A Fitbit is a good way to remind a newly retired person to take walks and not to neglect their eating and sleeping habits so they can enjoy retirement for a good long time!

Number 2 Pencil Socks

  • Snazzy Feet

  • $$$$$
  • Funny, Practical

Make sure your teacher feels good in retirement with some comfy socks for wearing around the house. These socks are decorated to look like Number 2 pencils, which will hopefully bring back fond memories and the realization that they don’t have to fight with a pencil sharpener ever again.

Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones

  • I Can’t Hear You

  • $$$$$
  • Practical, Hobbies

After years and years of noisy classrooms and endless questions, teachers deserve a little peace and quiet! These noise-canceling headphones enable them to block out excess noise and only hear the music, audiobook, or podcast they want. They’re also wonderful for airplane travel!

Keurig Single-Cup Coffee Maker

  • Cool Beans

  • $$$$$
  • Food & Drink, Practical

After years of bad breakroom coffee, your teacher deserves a quality cup each morning! Show them how much they mean to you with a Keurig coffee maker that will make them a single, delicious cup of coffee that they can sit and savor all morning long if they wish.

Coloring Book For Teachers

  • Find Inner Calm

  • $$$$$
  • Hobbies

Adult coloring books are not only trendy, they’re a great way to de-stress while providing a creative outlet. This coloring book celebrates teachers with inspiring and funny quotes. It would make a great gift paired with some quality gel pens or other fancy coloring pens or pencils (no more Crayola crayons for this teacher, thank you very much!).

1,000 Places To See Before You Die

  • Oh The Places You’ll Go

  • $$$$$
  • Hobbies

If the teacher you know is planning to travel after retiring, this book will give them all kinds of ideas! They can read about 1,000 places all over the world where they can visit sacred ruins, beaches, islands, museums, and so much more. They may not get to every place, but they’ll expand their knowledge and get a good idea of what they do – and don’t – want to visit.

Organic & Sustainable Wine Pack

  • If You’re The Reason They Drink

  • $$$$$
  • Food & Drink

It’s okay to admit it – sometimes our kids are the reason a teacher might look forward to a nice glass of wine after work. It’s a hard job! This six-pack of wine bottles ought to make up for some of that with an assortment of red and white wines to help them unwind after years of rambunctious pupils.


  • Bloom Where You’re Planted

  • $$$$$
  • Decor

Flowers may be a basic present, but there’s a reason they’re given so often – they’re wonderful! A beautiful flower arrangement will smell amazing, and the cheerful colors brighten any room. Also, for a teacher who may be getting a lot of presents, flowers will only last a week or so and they won’t have to find room for a gift they may not really want!

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Travel Scratch Map

  • Roam Around The World

  • $$$$$
  • Decor, Hobbies

This map of the world features scratch-off countries, so a retired traveling teacher can keep track of their travels! The map is gold and black but as the teacher scratches off each country, bright bursts of color are revealed underneath. The bottom of the map also has interesting facts about geography around the world.

Let The Recess Begin T-Shirt

  • Relax And Enjoy

  • $$$$$
  • Funny

Let’s face it, while they’re working, teachers don’t even get to enjoy recess! Now that they’re retired, however, the recess goes on indefinitely. Help them celebrate with a t-shirt announcing this fact to everyone.

Sterling Silver Compass Necklace

  • Where To Next?

  • $$$$$
  • Sentimental

A necklace can be a beautiful piece of retirement jewelry, and this one reminds the teacher in your life that she can go anywhere in her next step! The necklace is made of sterling silver and the pendant is stylish and meaningful.

Fishing Rod And Reel

  • Gone Fishin’

  • $$$$$
  • Hobbies

Retirement is a great time to either take up fishing, or to devote more time to the activity! Help a teacher out with a new rod and reel so they can head to the lake and relax. This kit also comes with a carrying case to keep everything looking good.

Inspirational Trinket Tray

  • Teacher Treasures

  • $$$$$
  • Sentimental, Decor

This tray is great for holding jewelry, coins, or other small items in one spot. The message on the tray is also a good way to let a teacher know the effect they had on your life. It reads, “Never underestimate the difference you made, and the lives you touched. Happy Retirement!”

Wineglass Gift Basket

  • Party Time!

  • $$$$$
  • Funny

Give this retirement gift basket to a woman who is finishing her career as a teacher! It features socks with a message on the soles that says, “If you can read this, the queen has retired.” There’s also an unbreakable wine glass that says, “A wise woman once said, ‘I’m outta here’ and she lived happily ever after.” The set also includes a keychain and coaster.

Heart Photo Collage

  • Precious Memories

  • $$$$$
  • Decor, Sentimental

Help a teacher remember great times with this heart photo collage! You can choose 30 pictures to add to the collage and move them around however you want them set up. A class could include pictures of each student, or a faculty could include pictures of staff events and school activities.

Craft Beer Club Membership

  • It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere

  • $$$$$
  • Food & Drink

Now that they no longer have to be in school during the day, no one’s stopping a retired teacher from cracking open a cold one at noon for a special treat now and then. Regardless of when they drink it, however, these craft beers will open up a world of variety. They come from around the country and recipients get new ones to try with each shipment.

Retirement Keychain

  • Keys To Success

  • $$$$$
  • Practical, Sentimental

If you’re looking for a small retirement gift for a teacher or principal, this keychain makes a thoughtful gift that won’t break the bank. It has two charms on the keychain that say, “Thank you” and “Never forget the difference you’ve made.”

Catch-All Bag

  • No Papers In Here

  • $$$$$
  • Practical, Funny

Help a teacher celebrate their retirement milestone with this bag, which happily announces, “This bag contains absolutely no papers to grade or lessons to plan #retiredteacherlife.” It’s the perfect size to be used as a makeup bag or to hold card games or small toiletries. The one thing it won’t hold is school assignments.

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Musical Serving Boards

  • Face The Music

  • $$$$$
  • Decor, Food & Drink

Music teachers (or teachers who just appreciate music) will love these serving boards that are just the right size for a cheese platter or for appetizers. Choose from a guitar, piano, or violin and present your teacher with a beautifully handmade wood serving board to use for dinners or special occasions at home.

Gourmet Drizzled Strawberries

  • Teachers Are The Sweetest

  • $$$$$
  • Food & Drink

A 24-count order of these delicious strawberries comes with several combinations of chocolate. Some are dipped in white chocolate with milk chocolate drizzle, some dipped in milk chocolate with white chocolate drizzle, and several other variations. The only thing that stays the same is that they’re all delectable.

100+ Books to Read and Reread

  • Teacher’s Reading Assignment

  • $$$$$
  • Hobbies

Sometimes teachers who have been teaching for a while run out of time to actually read for their own enjoyment. If they’re stuck and need a place to start when choosing books to read during retirement, this book about books is perfect. They’ll have a list of books to start reading – some may be old favorites, but others will probably be brand-new.

Keys to a Successful Retirement Book

  • Never Stop Learning

  • $$$$$
  • Practical

Teachers may be done teaching, but there’s still more to learn! This book will help a retiring teacher (or anyone!) figure out how to manage their finances, stay fit, and find a passion now that teaching is done. It’s a great first step to a great retirement!

Best Teacher Ever Plant Pots

  • Keep Growing

  • $$$$$
  • Decor

If you know a teacher with a green thumb, they’ll love this set of three plant pots. Each pot has a different word, and together they say, “Best teacher ever.” They’re the perfect size for succulents or other small plants and will make a big impact when they’re grouped together.

Teacher Retirement FAQs

How Do You Honor a Retiring Teacher? ​​

A retiring teacher can certainly have a retirement party to celebrate this new step! This could be thrown by family and friends or by fellow faculty members. Often, schools will also acknowledge a retiring teacher during graduation ceremonies, or in the school yearbook, or at other end-of-year celebrations.

You can also honor a retiring teacher with a present – either individual presents from students or fellow teachers who will miss them, or with a group gift after taking up a collection. However, you choose to honor a retiring teacher, be sure to take the time to tell them how they have influenced your life!

How Much Do You Spend on Teacher Gifts?

How much you choose to spend on a teacher gift depends on several factors. First, consider the economic circumstances of students at the school. Students whose parents make less money will likely not be able to give as much as students whose parents are well-off.

Also, consider your relationship with the teacher. Students may give less if they have six teachers in their school day. Also, if a teacher helped write a recommendation, or taught an after-school activity, or went above and beyond somehow, you may want to give them a special gift to show your gratitude. Co-workers may also want to give gifts that show their relationship to a fellow teacher. A casual acquaintance may not get as heartfelt a gift as a team teacher or close work friend.

A school may also have a cap on how much students (and parents) can spend on a teacher to avoid the appearance of bribery. It’s a good idea to check with the office if you’re unsure of how much to spend.

Many families average between $10-$50 on teacher gifts. If you can’t afford to give expensive gifts, remember that teachers also love to know they’re appreciated! A heartfelt note, drawing, or poem are also sweet gifts for a teacher.

What is a Good Retirement Message?

A good retirement message celebrates this next step in someone’s life while letting them know that they made an impact and will be missed. A personal note expressing gratitude is always best, but you can also include the following messages:

  • Thank you for making a difference.
  • Enjoy your retirement – you deserve it!
  • Congratulations on your retirement! Wishing you the best on this next step in life.

What Are Good Retirement Gifts for a Female Teacher?

Although they aren’t terribly creative, if you ask most teachers, many will say they actually prefer gift cards! This is because gift cards allow the flexibility to buy exactly what a teacher needs or wants, and you won’t have to worry about duplicate presents.

Other good gifts for a female teacher include jewelry, candles, lotion, or a coffee or tea sampler.

What Are Good Retirement Gifts for a Male Teacher?

Male teachers also appreciate gift cards! Other good gifts for them include plants, coffee or tea, a book or Kindle, or an accessory for a hobby they have.

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About the Author

Laura Falin

Laura Falin is a freelance writer from Colorado. She worked in TV news for more than ten years, and since then has written for publications and websites including BabyCenter, Colorado Parent Magazine, and Denver Parent. She loves being outdoors and reading.