With the holidays and winter break approaching, many parents are thinking about ways to show appreciation for their children’s teachers in the form of a holiday gift. But unfortunately, not all gifts are created equal. We looked at what teachers had to say about the types of presents they usually receive around the holidays and what their favorites and not-so-favorites are.

Here are the top ten best—and worst—options:

Best Teacher Gifts

  • Gift cards. Gift cards are simple, versatile, and allow a teacher to spend the money on something they really need or want.
  • School supplies. Many teachers pay for school supplies out of their own pocket, and could always use more.
  • Spa or salon gift card. Teachers deserve a little pampering after working hard all school year.
  • Thank you card. Sometimes words of appreciation are the best gift. A handwritten note of thanks can go a long way.
  • Imperishable gourmet food items. Fancy, imperishable food items are a fun gift for teachers that they can use all year long.

Worst Teacher Gifts

  • Baked goods. While the intention is sweet and thoughtful, giving a teacher a homemade baked good is a gamble. They may be allergic or intolerant of certain ingredients or may be inundated with sweets this time of year.
  • Scented lotion or candle. Scent is a matter of preference and giving a teacher a scented gift that you like, such as lotion or a candle, might not match up with their taste.
  • Holiday jewelry or knick knacks. While holiday-themed gifts might seem adorable, they can only be used during a limited part of the year.
  • Mugs. Coffee mugs are a popular gift for teachers, which means they likely already have a lot of them. A tumbler or to-go mug might be a better option.
  • Beauty products. Intimate and personal items, such as beauty products, might not be appropriate to give a teacher or might not match their personal style and preferences.