Dear Mags and Emily,
Thanks for posting to the Hum Drum post. You have given me topics that should keep me going for the next little while. What a relief for all of us! ;)
So first off I will tackle cheap teacher gifts since the end of school is just around the corner. (sob, sob.) Mags, I LOVE the vase idea. I can envision it and it is adorable. You are so crafty!
Another version is an empty soup can, covered with paper your child has decorated, filled with pencils. If you want to go a step further, you can order pencils with the teacher's name on them. This helps her/him not loose so many to borrowers. ;)
*I have given sticky notepads to teachers who send home lots of notes on them. (Not glamorous, but meaningful.)
*A gift card for an icecream/coffee shop. (Ten dollars at one of these places will cover the cost of whatever they want, vs. only covering a pittance of the tab at a resturant.)
*Wildflowers your child picked for them put in a vase decorated by them.
*DD1 is giving a clearance coffee mug to her teacher this year because the teacher kept breaking hers.
*Do a Google search using "cheap teacher gifts" as the key words. I hit the first link from betterbudgeting.com. There were a lot of fun cute ideas. (If you click on the title of this post it will take you to this website.)
Hope this helps!