As the mother of two teenagers, I've spent many years trying to pinpoint the perfect teacher presents. As our own Christine once aptly noted: "You want to show genuine appreciation, but go one step too far and you quickly find yourself in the land of the "apple polishers." My strategy is to select small but well designed—and truly useful—gifts of thanks. Add a homemade card and note from your child (or teen), and you've got an A+ present.
To make sure we've got everyone on your list covered, we're running a new gift guide every weekday from now until Christmas. See all of the Gift Guides to date in our archive.
Above: For the teacher with an appreciation for the basics (and a twinge of wanderlust): a Set of 3 Notebooks with Twine In Gray Green and Beige, made by Antica Cartotecnica, an 83-year-old stationery shop in Rome's Piazza dei Caprettari; $28 from Unionmade.
Above L: A porcelain apple, hand-painted and finished with a carved stem, by Penkridge Ceramics, a small studio near Birmingham, England. To view other pieces by the workshop and to inquire about prices and place orders, contact Sweet Bella USA. Above R: The Top Hat Dux Large Pencil Sharpener, an Art Deco classic made in Bavaria from a solid block of aluminum; $50 from Madewell.
Above: The L'Atelier d'Exercises Ring Calendar is a universal date-marking system: turn the wheel to arrive at the correct day, date, and month. A fascinating teaching aid as well as decoration for classroom walls, it's at Saks Fifth Avenue; $78.
Above L: For the grammarian, Shady Characters by Keith Houston, a book (and companion blog) that chronicle the astonishingly lively history of the ampersand, the dash, and other punctuation marks; $16.41 from Amazon. Above R: The Decimal Equivalents Canvas Bag, $24 from the Museum of Useful Objects, is sized for books (shoulder strap included) and decorated with a vintage tool catalog chart.
The perfect desk accessories from Japanese emporium Muji (which has worldwide outposts and a US online store). Above L: The Wooden Magnetic Paperclip Holder Tree; $9.50. Above R: The Heatresist Cafe Set for hot or cold drinks, $23.95.
Above: For the DIY educator: The Anselm Bookbinding Kit from Peg and Awl contains the fixings, plus illustrated instructions, for making a palm-sized 40-page journal; $28. Go to Peg and Awl to watch an inspiring—and very pretty—step-by-step video set to banjo music.
Ready to wrap? See 5 Quick Fixes Holiday Gift Wrap.