Teacher & Staff Gifts: Tips for Gifting in Bulk

In my role as 3rd Vice President of our school’s PTA, it is my responsibility to create appreciation gifts for our amazing staff and teachers each school year.  This is a REALLY fun part of my job!  I really love that the rest of the PTA board agrees that making our teachers and staff feel appreciated shouldn’t only happen once a year in May during Teacher Appreciation Week… we should quest to make them feel needed and loved year round!  Of course, when you have 100 people you are gifting, this makes the budget issue pretty tricky!

Last year I was new to this position on the board and this led to several “ooopsies” in regards to budget.  I just had no idea what I was in for!  I wanted to recognize our staff every month and only budgeted about $200 (for the entire year!) to do it… think about that…100 people… 9 months…$200.  Yep, I REALLY didn’t think that one through.  Of course, because of my colossal mistake, I learned A LOT about how to save a few pennies on bulk gift buying.  And while I still had to dip into my own pocket for a few things, I did find ways to save a few pennies….

1.  Find a good source for goodies…

I really LOVE Oriental Trading company.  This is a great site for buying large quantities of items for a fraction of the cost.  Now, keep in mind, sometimes the quality is not exactly supreme, but if you are looking to buy lots of items for a small cost, this is the way to go.  Before pushing the submit button on your order though, make sure you hunt around the net for good OTC coupons.  I have found free shipping combined with 10% (or more!) off my order – talk about saving some pennies!

Another tip for OTC, check out their sale section… especially the “going fast” section.  Sometimes you can find amazing gifts for a fraction of the cost.  With the addition of a cute tag or ribbon, you could have an amazing (and inexpensive!) gift.  If you preplan your gifts, like I have to do for yearly budgeting, you can buy items in off season time and save a ton!

To give an example:

from Oriental Trading Company siteRight now, OTC has these special “Christmas Swirl Pops With Iconic Stickers” on sale for $2/ dozen.  To purchase for 100 people, I would need 9 dozen which would amount to $18 for the entire school.  If I were paying regular price for these during the Christmas season, I would be looking at $5.99/dozen or approximately $54!  That is a whopping $36 savings, just by purchasing things a bit early! If you store these in a cool dry place for a few months, you are not only an early bird shopper, but one prepared PTA momma, on the ball gift giver, and one thrifty gal!  🙂

If I were using these, I would add a cute homemade gift tag, maybe with something cute such as “We are suckers for you!  Sincerely, Your PTA“.  I could even make the tag using my Cricut (which I will talk more about soon) using some bulk paper and add a little curling ribbon (also purchased in bulk).  The result?  I have a cute inexpensive gift for a fraction of the cost!  So plan ahead and save your pennies!

Also, while you are on the OTC, look around!  You will be amazed at some of the goodies you find there!  This year I found cute curling ribbon for $2/ 200 yards or $3.50 / 500 yards – and some of it was even in our school colors!  Great deals which will last me for multiple years worth of gifting!

2.  Use Dollar Stores Wisely

You might think Dollar Stores would be great places to purchase teacher gifts in bulk, but sometimes, when buying for lots of people, the price can really creep up on you.  Think about it… if you are buying something that costs $1 and need 100 of them, you are looking at $100 plus tax.  I don’t know about your school’s budget, but mine can’t do that for many things.  I do like dollar stores, however, when you can find multiple items in a package.

Say for example you want to purchase these cute bottles of bubbles…

Purchased from Dollar TreeFrom Dollar TreeThere are 9 mini bottles for $1… that is about $12 to purchase for 100 people.  Add a cute tag and some school colors curling ribbon, and you have an adorable, easy, inexpensive gift…

The tag could read, “We’re bubbling with enthusiasm about you!  Love, Your School PTA”

Use the dollar stores to buy in bulk if you can find packages of multiple items.

3.  Don’t Forget to Check Out  Wholesale Stores

I discovered last year that I used cellophane bags like they were going out of style!  I needed them for nearly every gift I made for the teachers…. and amazingly, those bags got really expensive after a while!  I soon discovered that buying them in wholesale lots was a much better deal for me… sure, I paid a little bit more up front, but the bags would last for several years and cost only a few cents per bag as opposed to nearly $0.10 per bag at other stores.  I recommend using the G.T. Bag Company if you are buying in bulk.

Sam’s Wholesale Club was also my friend this past year!  I found great prices on candy, sodas, and dry food items, which I used a lot for teacher luncheons and treats.  One of my best finds came right before Halloween when I was looking for a cute treat for the teachers boxes, but I didn’t want to give them candy (I knew they would get tons of sweet items from their students).  So, I found these…the ones pictured on the right.

purchased at Sam's ClubThere were 45 mini packages of pretzels in each container (and since a few of our staff were gone that month) I only needed to buy 2.  They were on sale for only $6!!  I made simple tags using Avery shipping labels (which I also buy in bulk)… this tag included a cute black cat image and read, “We’re KNOT lying, Westside would be really SPOOKY without you here!  Your PTA” .  They were easy enough to assemble too… I just printed out enough labels and slapped them on the backs of each individual package.  They turned out really cute and were something the teachers could actually use.  🙂  We were also able to use the large left over containers for some fun Halloween crafting!

Hopefully these tips will help those of you out there who need to do some mass gifting this year.  It is SUPER fun to have this job, but it doesn’t have to break your budget!  😀


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