Appropriate Gifts for Your Favorite Professors

Gift-giving is a great way to show your friends and loved ones that you appreciate them. Whether it’s for Christmas, their birthday, or just an ordinary day, giving them a gift can make their day brighter.

But that’s not to say all gifts are good ideas. Gifts that are inappropriate, too cheap, or too expensive with regards to who your gift receiver is can be offensive. A long-term sweetheart can appreciate a diamond necklace, but a co-worker or acquaintance won’t (even if you can afford to dole out necklaces to anyone).

So, what gifts can be considered appropriate for professors? You want to show them you appreciate them, but you don’t want your gift to come off as someone bribing their way to a higher grade, trying to be a teacher’s pet, or sending the wrong signals to a professor.

Our picks for the best gift ideas for professors are good for an average gift budget. These are available in different categories, so consider what is most relatable to your professor.

For Coffee, Tea, and Drinks

A Coffee Mug

While there are plenty of plastic and stainless steel mugs available in any department store, why not go the extra mile and get a customized mug for them? There are plenty of specialty stores that customize white ceramic mugs, but there are already a few in online stores that might interest your professor.

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This mug is perfect for the old-soul Literature Professors who love Shakespearean Literature and understand (and appreciate) the modern terms used by today’s younger generation.

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Or this one, for the sarcastic Linguist or English Professor who doesn’t mind a bit of swearing in the name of correcting common grammar mistakes.

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Or for the professor known for their tough love who has seen a few students shed a few tears over the semester.

Infuser Water Container

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For the professor who prefers lemon water or fruity water over coffee, they’ll appreciate a water bottle infuser to give them freshly seeped fruit water while walking to their next class.

Water Tumblers

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Klean Kanteen’s water bottles are pretty popular at the moment to students on the go who don’t want to keep buying water in plastic bottles, so why not get one so your professor can enjoy greener water, too? Admittedly, they’re a bit more expensive than the average water container, but Klean Kanteen’s containers are known for their durability and insulation. Your professor’s iced water and hot coffee can stay at the same temperature for up to 20 hours.

Wine Glasses

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Perfect for drinks after hours while reminding your laboratory professor of their lab. This is great for teachers who aren’t afraid to share their love of wine to their students. Be warned, though, that this gift may be inappropriate to more formal teachers and is a better gift for more informal teachers who you’re sure has a sense of humor.

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Or, you can get your geography or world history professor this pair of globe glasses.

Mug Coaster / Cup Holders

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If your professor is the formal type who always brings a drink ready, they may appreciate having coasters ready in their office or for their home. These mandala designs are perfect for anyone who wants a bit of color and design on their table.

Food For Thought

Steel Utensils with Case

Now that more and more people are going green, your professor may find these travel utensils handy when their takeout doesn’t include plastic utensils or they don’t like the wooden alternatives more stores are using. This set comes with a knife, perfect for most meals.

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Or consider this set which comes with a pair of reusable chopsticks. Perfect for professors with a love for Asian cuisine.

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Reusable Straws

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Some stainless steel straws are too bulky for people’s bags, which is why some opt not to use them. These collapsible straws are very portable – just attach them to your bag and then bring out when needed. Your professor will appreciate and remember you every time he chooses not to use plastic or flimsy paper straws when drinking his favorite drink.

Office-Related Gifts

Sticky Notes

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Perfect for the professor who needs a lot of notes or reminders, this set of sticky notes, markers, and pens will help them stay organized.


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You can never go wrong with giving your professor writing materials. This box of pens can tide them over for a few months and save them from having to buy new pens every time you lose them.

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Or, if you want a more personal gift, these personalized pens can be something your professor won’t want to throw away.

Tech Gifts

Wireless Presenter

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Useful for professors who use a lot of PowerPoint Presentations for their lectures. This wireless clicker can allow them to lecture naturally without having to manually tap on the space bar each time they want to further the discussion. This one also comes with a laser pointer, so they’ll have no problem presenting from far away.

2-in-1 USB & Digital Voice Recorder

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Serves as both a USB and a digital voice recorder, this device is compatible with both USB ports and micro-USB ports. It’s useful if your professor attends many meetings or has classes of their own where they need to record. The audio clip automatically saves to the device’s 16GB storage, which you can transfer to either your computer, your Android phone, or any device that supports USB or micro-USB ports.

These are just a few examples of appropriate gifts. They are useful for your professor’s everyday use in the university or for their own personal use. However, make sure that this gift really is something they would use. No matter how expensive your gift is, they’ll appreciate it more if you put more thought into it.

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