23 Sustainable Teacher Gift Ideas (Under $50)

We can all agree that teachers play an indispensable role in society. And even when the world turned upside down during the pandemic, they continued to work hard and displayed a strong determination to positively nurture the next generation. So why not show them some appreciation by saying thank you?

A gift is a meaningful way of showing our gratitude, but if you’re anything like us, you might be wondering, “But what do most teachers want as gifts?”

Here at Sow ‘n Sow, we believe in putting aside the last-minute mug and chocolate and swapping them for a unique and sustainable present whose memory will last.

Whether it’s for the end of the year, Christmas, retirement, or simply a small gesture of kindness, by the end of reading this guide, you’ll have your hands on some inexpensive, eco-friendly gifts we know your teacher will genuinely love.

And don’t worry, all of our gifts are under $50, meaning that no matter what state you live in, you can safely shop for a gift doubt and worry-free (unless you live in ACT, in which case stick to our gifts that are under $40!).

Small thank you gifts for teachers

Pot and Seed Set

A Pot and Seeds Set is the perfect appreciation gift for a teacher that loves to garden. They’ll love the idea of a flat-pack folding plant pot and enjoy growing the seeds you give them inside it.

Mix and match any Small Pop Up Pot with a Gifts of Seeds to create a gift set the recipient will love. Choose from edible varieties like leafy greens and herbs, Australian natives or cottage garden favourites. They’ll love nurturing their seeds and watching them grow and bloom.

Hot Drink Mixes

Treat your teacher to something sweet with a bag of Drinking Chocolate or Sticky Chai from Australian brand, Mixed Bag. Lovingly handmade in Melbourne using real ingredients, these small batch blends are health-centred and refined sugar-free. Not sure if your teacher has food allergies? No worries! These drink mixes are vegan-friendly, organic and gluten-free, ticking all the boxes for a worry-free food gift.

Tote Bag

Give your teacher a helping hand with a foldable travel tote bag. A popular all-year-round gift, these tote bags from The Other Bag come in a range of vibrant colours and prints and are perfect for carrying extra teaching supplies. But the best part, each bag is made from discarded fishing nets and plastic bottles destined for landfill.

Thermal Travel Mug

As teachers are busy all day, it’s not uncommon for their hot cup of tea or coffee to go cold. Instead of giving your teacher another ceramic mug this year, give them the gift of a hot cup of tea or coffee with a triple wall, vacuum-insulated travel mug that will keep their beverages hot for hours.

Key Ring

Help your teacher keep their keys safe with a Fjallraven Kanken upcycled key ring. Designed in Sweden with a focus on sustainability, simplicity and practicality, this keychain is both timeless and durable. The handy loop is constructed from 100% recyclable webbing and paired with a metal rivet for long-lasting strength. It’s perfect for everyday use or weekend adventures.

Reusable Car Air Freshener

Make every car ride to and from work a fragrant escape with a reusable car air freshener from SmellyBalls. Handmade in Australia from sustainably sourced Nepalese wool, you simply dab the natural essential oil blend provided onto the wool balls and hang it up in your car to keep bad smells at bay.

 Personalised teacher gifts

Plant Pots

Does your teacher love plants? Surprise them with Sow’ n Sow’s Jackie Anderson Pop Up Pot collection. Featuring original acrylic artwork, this set of three plant pots will enliven your teacher’s desk, classroom or home with splashes of vibrant colours. You can plant directly into them, and the best part is they’re made from 100% recycled waste that would otherwise go to landfill.

Award Winning Jam

If your teacher is a foodie, delight them with a pack of award-winning jams. Lovingly handmade in Brisbane, Amy Simpson, the founder of Paddington Jams and Sauces, creates indulgent contemporary flavours founded purely on homely nostalgic tastes. From decadent Chocolate Fudge Sauce to Red Hot Chilli Jam, there’s a condiment that will please both savoury and sweet tastebuds and culinary connoisseurs.


For the teachers who enjoy reading, give them a bookmark they’ll love leaving between the pages of their favourite book. Rindo Asa-No-Ha bookmarks by Tree of a Kind are handmade in Sydney from recovered White Oak. The design conveys a meaning of strength and beauty, and features 35 pieces that have been meticulously measured, cut and assembled by hand using the intricate technique of Kumiko.

Paper Saver Notebook

Here’s a gift for the eco-warrior teacher! Help turn their old lesson plans and resource printouts into a notebook to jot down memos for the day. Paper Saver Reusable Notebooks bind old A4 sheets of paper to reuse before discarding them, giving them a second life as a notebook.

Travel Jar

Does your teacher love sipping on iced lattes or refreshing smoothies? If so, give them a fun vessel to sip in style on the go while . The Latte Jar Travel Jars feature beautifully decorated glass jars with a silicone lid and glass straw. Choose from various fun prints, including daisies, pineapples, turtles, flamingos, waves, chillies and more. There’s a print to suit any teacher’s style or passion or personalise it with their name.

Seed Gifts

Gift of Seeds

Nothing makes a teacher feel more appreciated than a handwritten card from a student. But if you want to go the extra mile, surprise your teacher with a Gift of Seeds which cleverly combines a greeting card with a packet of seeds to form a gift to grow.

Christine, who gave Gifts of Seeds to her teachers, said, “What’s not to love – beautifully presented, environmentally friendly, longer lasting than a bunch of flowers and the online ordering was quick and easy.”

End of year teacher gifts

365 Days of Kindness

Thank a kind teacher with a journal that speaks to them. 365 Days of Kindness by Lisa Messenger is a kindness journal filled with over 300 acts of kindness including helpful tips, advice and engaging stories that will inspire your teacher to spread more kindness and live a happy and fulfilling life. After all, when we embrace being kind to ourselves we’re more likely to be kind to others and our environment.

Pencil Case

While every teacher needs a sturdy pencil case to contain all their markers, there’s no doubt this one from Beekeeper Parade will brighten their day and warm their heart. It’s not only made from remnant fashion and textile waste saved from landfill, but each Beekeeper Parade purchase helps build schools and fund places for disadvantaged children to study English in Cambodia.

Handheld Massager

Just because you’re shopping on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t treat a deserving teacher to a relaxing massage. While most massage treatments cost over $100, you can give a similar experience with a wooden handheld massager for less than $15. The three free-rolling stainless steel balls help to reduce tension and soothe sore muscles – everything a dedicated teacher needs at the end of the day.

Travel Cutlery Set

For practical teachers, a travel cutlery set is a gift they’ll appreciate. Packaged in a beautifully illustrated, sturdy metal carry tin, this cutlery set contains a fork, knife, spoon, chopsticks, straw, and straw cleaning brush – everything you need for a zero-waste lunch. The compact design will fit inside any lunch bag, backpack, handbag or desk drawer, ready for when they need it.


Keep your teacher’s toes warm with a pair of socks that also supports a cause close to their heart. Conscious Step Socks that Give Books feature a multi-coloured blue star design and a book embroidery. For every pair sold, a book is donated to Room to Read – a charity dedicated to improving literacy and equality for school children.

Teacher retirement gifts

Sustainable Gift Packs

Flower Seed Gift Set

Want to give your teacher a gift that lasts longer than something they can eat or drink? Keep your teacher busy in their first year of retirement with a Flower Seed Gift Set containing four seed varieties to grow and enjoy. Each Gift of Seeds features beautiful illustrations, a packet of seeds and a tear-away plant label. Seed varieties include Sunflower, Forget-Me-Not, Poppy and Sweet Pea.

Flower Press

For the crafty and artsy teachers, fill their days creating beautiful crafts with a Mini Flower Press. Made in Australia from sustainable materials, Sow ‘n Sow’s Flower Presses are perfect for pressing and preserving flora from the garden which can be used to create artwork, greeting cards, bookmarks and more.

Essential Oil Blend

Help your teacher relax and unwind from the day with a calming oil blend from The Physic Garden. The Relax Oil Blend features a floral blend of Rose Geranium, Ylang Ylang and Clary Sage which has been naturopathically formulated to soothe and restore.

Cheese knife

Send a teacher off into retirement with a special Cheese Knife and Pate Set by Winestains. The handles on these knives are handcrafted from recycled wine barrels by a father and daughter duo in the Barossa Valley, and each set includes a postcard noting which winery they soured the wine barrel timber from. This gift is truly unique and guaranteed to become a treasured item in their home.

Colouring Book

Colouring is not just for kids. It’s a wonderful mindfulness activity that helps to focus, calm and rest the mind while reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. Botanicals by Edith Rewa features over 80 pages of stunning botanical illustrations of Australian native flora to colour.

Adventure Books

What’s more sustainable than being outside connecting with our surroundings? Adventurous teachers who love discovering new places to explore will love the Lonely Planet’s Best Day Walks Australia book featuring 60 places they can escape into nature, complete with images and maps. From easy walks that only take a few hours to more challenging treks that require a full day, they’ll enjoy discovering vine-striped hillsides, hidden coastlines, and outback adventures.


How much should I spend on a teacher gift in Australia?

While you may want to shower your kid’s teacher with lavish gifts to show your appreciation for their hard work and dedication, there are restrictions on the amount you’re allowed to spend. Each Australian state and territory have different price limits, but as a rule of thumb, a $50 limit is acceptable for each state, except the ACT, which has a $40 limit.

Find additional information about each location’s teacher gift limits here: QLDNSWVICWATASACT. There are currently no sources for SA and NT.

What do most teachers want as gifts?

Whatever gift you choose to give someone, the act of shopping for the perfect item, wrapping it, and delivering it makes it special and memorable, but the real challenge is finding the perfect piece that will light up their world and show them how much you care.

Try thinking outside the box when shopping for teacher’s gifts. Find out what they’re passionate about or their weekend hobbies to avoid giving them a gift they won’t use. If they love gardening, they’ll appreciate receiving seeds or a new plant pot. If they’re passionate crafters, unique craft items inspire them to create something new. Practical or edible gifts or items that encourage mindfulness are always well received.

Choosing to give a sustainable gift also means the gift you give to your teacher will have a positive impact on them and the plant. By purchasing sustainably produced products, you’re supporting the cause to protect our environment and reduce our social impact by reducing waste and reusing what we already have, which helps make a positive difference to our planet.

Gifts to Grow

Embedded and inspired by nature, Sow ’n Sow believe in purposeful gifting that doesn’t cost the planet.

From a small seed of an idea, Sow ’n Sow was dreamt up by founder Michelle Brady combining her love of gardening and flair for design in 2010.


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