I have 4 out of the 5 kiddos in school this year. And 3 of those kiddos have TWO teachers! That's SEVEN teachers that I have to gift to. I try to be as giving as we absolutely can be. While, we are not the richest family out there - we also have a lot to be grateful for. It could always be so much worse, is how I like to look at it. I would consider us lower-middle class. Things are always tight when it comes to the finances, but we get by. We have to budget and we have to go without a lot of things. But we have MORE than what we need. We never go without the necessities and we never let the kids go without the necessities.
So, with all of that being said, I love to try and spoil my kids' teachers. I have been there. I know what it's like. But not totally because I have never taught in a pandemic like what we are in right now. I cannot imagine how hard it is for them right now. Which means its even MORE important that we show our gratitude and thankfulness to our teachers and all essential workers for that matter!
With all of that being said - we don't have a large budget for these types of things. I do budget for them, but it's not much.
So, I am going to share with you my GO-TO easy + frugal teacher gift!!! Drum roll please....
It's amazing. It's super easy to make. There are a few variations. You can do it on a crazy cheap budget. AND it leaves their house smelling just like CHRISTMAS!!! YUM!
So, there are actually a couple of ways to make this gift. But before I get into that - let me tell you want all you will need for this:
Star Anise (optional)
So, like I mentioned - we have a few options on how we can make this. The first option is to use fresh items and put it into a mason jar. This is probably my favorite option because I think it looks so beautiful this way. However - NOTE that if you choose this option, you are not going to want to make these too early in the season before you gift them away. They will start to ferment on the counter or shelf if they are not used fairly quickly after being made.
But look at how pretty they are...
I mean - COME ON! So gorgeous! RIGHT?!?!?!
Ok. So, here's how you make this version...
Slice up the oranges (and lemons if you are using them. I didn't this time because I didn't have any on hand and they were not on sale this week.) Place slices into the bottom of the jar. Try to cram in a full orange worth. Especially if that's the only citrus you are using.
Layer in 2 springs of fresh rosemary.
Add in 3-4 cinnamon sticks.
Toss in 1 teaspoon of whole cloves.
Add in 4-5 star anise (if you are using these. It's totally fine if you are not. I like to add them because they are so pretty and they add a lovely depth of smell)
Top with whole fresh cranberries. Literally shove as many in as you can. Press them down. And put more in!
Fill with water.
Top with lid.
That's it! SOOOOOOOO easy!
Now for version #2...
So, for this one, as you can see, it's all the exact same ingredients except I don't slice up the orange. I throw all of these into a little treat bag and do not add the water at the end.
This is how I made them for all of our neighbors. I had enough of everything to do it this year without even needing to go to the store for anything. I am going to list out the prices and where I purchased everything at the very end.
Last, but certainly not least, is version #3.
This is the exact same ingredients again - except everything is DRIED. Well, almost everything.
This version takes a few extra steps. Here they are...
Slice up the oranges (and lemons if you are using). Slice them thin. As thin as you can.
Places all sliced citrus on a cookie drying rack, placed on top of a cookie sheet. Refer to the pictures below.
Bake in the oven at 200* for about 6 hours or so. Sometimes longer depending on how thick they were sliced. Flip them every 1-2 hours and check them for doneness. You want them to be completely dry and crispy without being burnt.
Do the same thing with you fresh cranberries. Or you can just buy dried cranberries from the store and skip this step.
Layer all ingredients in a treat back similar to the one pictured above in version 2.
Tie it up and put a tag on it!
Here are the tags that I print off and put on them. I edit them depending on how I'm making the gifts to make sure I'm giving the receiver accurate directions. Lol.
Ok. Here are the prices and links to all the items that I purchased for these gifts.
Oranges - purchased at Aldi for $.49/lb = $2.00
Rosemary - purchased from Walmart for $1.98 each = $6.00
Cranberries - purchased last year on sale for $.49 each and kept them in my freezer = $3.00
Cinnamon sticks - purchased here for only $.59/ounce = cheapest I've ever found them.
Whole cloves - purchased here for only $.91/ounce = cheapest I've ever found them.
Star Anise - purchased here for only $.87/ounce = cheapest I've ever found them.
Mason jars - I already had mine, but these are a good price
Treat bags - purchased from Walmart for $.98 each = $2.00
TOTAL COST = $30.76
which breaks down to only $5.12 for each teacher!!
(also this is give or take a bit. I just estimated one ounce of the
spices per teacher. I might not have used that much)
Adding in some candy canes and some chocolates can really spruce these gifts up too! Here are a few more pics for ideas.
I hope this helps and maybe sparks a little bit of inspiration in you! Thanks for reading!!!