It isn't referred to as 'the most wonderful time of the year' for nothing. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, one cannot deny that there is something about this time of the year that brings cheer of some kind. While for many, the holidays are for baking, Christmas shopping, and downtime with family and friends, for others who do not celebrate, it is at least a break from work for a couple of weeks, if nothing else. That said, with the sharp nip in the air, the tree up and the lights strung, it's funny how things start looking festive at school too.

Are teachers planning for Christmas parties at school? Is there going to be a staff lunch before Winter Break? Is playing Secret Santa a part of your school holiday tradition? Have you thought of gifts for your co-counselor/counselor bestie, or for that matter even a teacher friend? If you're looking for gift ideas that are economical yet meaningful, this guide is probably what you need.

1. Stationery and Supplies

I've never met a counselor who has enough stationery and office supplies, so you cannot go wrong at Christmas by gifting items such as this 'Friends' inspired counselor notepad. If the person you're gifting, is into decor and design, you might like to pick up this quirky wall decor piece or this Zones of Regulation themed artwork. Amazon and your local craft stores are where you can pick up bits and bobs that counselors use regularly at school; play-doh, crayons, fidget toys, etc. If you want to play it safe, this School Counselor Mug is a great option. It can be used as a decorative piece too.

2. Books

Never underestimate the power of a good book! For counselor friends who enjoy reading but don't get as much time as they would like for it, this blog post has a list (with Amazon links) of my favorite books that are sure to help aid you in your professional life.

Personally, I wouldn't mind receiving SEL books too, even if it's to use with the kiddos. My new favorites include The Sour Grape by Jory John, Way Past Jealous by Hallee Adelman, Badgie and Ming and the Angry Tent by Julia Inserro, Beat, Beat, Thump by Allison Edwards, and Angry Me by Sandra V. Feder. If it helps, this blog post features my go-to SEL books and how I use them in tier 2 and 3 counseling.

3. Self-Care

One of the easiest self-care packages to put together is a mani-pedi kit. On the one hand, I've had colleagues gift each other bath salts, handmade soaps, and scented candles, and then on the other, it isn't uncommon, especially if it's a friend to go on a spa date together. I think this set of Self-Care Cards or this fun Grey's Anatomy inspired School Counselor Makeup Pouch make for thoughtful gifts too.

4. Gift Cards

December is an expensive month and since the end-of-season-sales are still more than a month away, for Secret Santa at school, you might prefer to give something that doesn't quite burn a hole in your pocket. Gift cards from Starbucks, Amazon, or even Teachers Pay Teachers (for as little as $5) make for thoughtful yet inexpensive gifts.

5. D-I-Y It

Handmade cards and gifts can never go out of style. Handwritten notes acknowledging your colleague's good work, why you respect and admire them, will let them know you see what a positive influence they are to those around them. From homemade candles and chocolates to a hot cocoa/chocolate mix, to go with a Christmas card, there are a number of easy and inexpensive ways of gifting. If you're looking for some last minute inspiration and recipes for edible christmas gifts, check out this link.

Are you playing Secret Santa at school? What gift ideas do you have for other counselors? I'd love to know in the comments.


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