If there’s one thing we can all agree, it’s that we owe our teachers and principals a lot.
Whether you’re a student or a teacher, the principal sets the tone of an entire school, and deals with daily stresses and entire trees worth of paperwork, just to make sure that you can get through your school year.
That’s why a principal retiring is a big occasion that deserves to be celebrated. If your principal is retiring, they deserve a decent gift. Here’s our list of the 30 greatest gifts for your retiring school principal that’ll get you remembered.
30 Gift Ideas for Your Retiring School Principal
For smart home offices: Handmade Marble Apple Paperweight
Apples have been the traditional gift for teachers for hundreds of years, a symbol of appreciation and thanks for all the hard work they do.
So why not bring that tradition into the 21st Century with this apple paperweight.
Carved from onyx marble, it’s gorgeous to look at, and comfortingly weighty in the hand, or on top of your documents. Around the size of a real apple, it’s functional, smart, and pretty enough to serve as a simple piece of decoration.
Your principal will love it.
For a good sense of humor: Retirement Survival Hat
No one knows what retirement’s like until they get there, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to go in unprepared.
More suited for men, you can give your principal a laugh with this retirement hat covered in all the essentials.
Golf tees, bottle openers, fishing flys. No matter what they’re planning to do with all that free time, this hat has their back.
One size fits most. Not suited for larger heads.
For a little more style: Massi Morino Men’s Tie, Cufflink and Tie Pin set
Everyone likes a little style in their lives, and you can give your principal a memorable and useful gift that they’ll appreciate every time they slip into something fancy.
A complete set, this comes in over a dozen different styles, with matching tie and cufflinks.
The tie bar is a nice addition, and the handkerchief is matched to the tie, making it a fantastic pocket square or even just for general use.
It comes pre-packaged in a gift box, making it incredibly simple to gift, too.
Just write a tag and hand it over.
For a coffee table talking point: MOKOQI Magnetic Levitation Floating Globe
A gorgeous and interesting centrepiece that would look good in any home, floating globes like this are fantastic whether you want them just to look at, as a conversation starter, or even to sit on your desk and give you something to aim at when you’re deciding on where to travel to next.
Magnetically levitated, the globe hands in the air with zero force needed. A single touch will set it spinning, for up to 25 minutes. Three LEDs illuminate the globe with soft light, and cast a gentle color over your room.
The globe is 3.5 inches diameter, slightly larger than a tennis ball. The whole structure stands about 7 inches tall, and it’s simple to install in seconds.
For a little touch of relaxation: Way out west scented candles
After all those years teaching and dealing with the paperwork and politics, a principal deserves a little relaxation.
A pair of candles packed with pure essential oils, lighting one of these will fill a room with pleasant scents in minutes.
Both have been mindfully chosen, with Lavender for relaxation and anti-anxiety, and Eucalyptus and Mint for focus, mindfulness and reinvigoration.
Unlike cheaper candles, each one of these lasts for up to 80 hours, and they’re created from purely premium materials, including soy candle wax and cotton wicks.
Other scents are available, and all of them come in a beautiful gift box.
For the budding gardener: Good gain gardening tools
After 30 years in education, everyone deserves a little time for gardening. This kit contains everyone a new or established gardener needs to get going.
The 12 piece kit has a selection of tools, water spray bottle, heavy duty gloves, clippers and wire.
The most thoughtful touch, and the reason we’ve chosen this set over any other, is the fact that the bag snaps open into a stool capable of holding over 250lbs, perfect for lazy days in the garden.
For the green fingered: Glass bulb plant terrarium with wooden stand
Unique and beautiful, this planter set will let anyone grow flowers or herbs in the comfort of their own home, simply and easily.
The bottles are high boron glass, so they’re tough and resilient, and the stand itself is easy to build and really smart looking.
Put together, it resembles a set of test tubes, ideal for a principal that was once a science teacher.
Whoever you’re buying for, they’ll appreciate the gift. Make sure to buy some seeds to go alongside it, so they can get started straight away.
For a relaxing night in the bath: LifeAround2Angels Bath Bomb set
A traditional gift that’s always appreciated, bath bombs turn any normal bath into a delicately scented, relaxing treat.
Handmade in the USA, each one of these bath bombs is completely individual, giving you a unique experience every time you choose one.
Plus, they’re formulated with moisturising, therapeutic ingredients that caress and nourish dry and tired skin.
The whole set comes in a beautiful ribboned box that’s ideal as a gift box, meaning you only need to write a gift tag.
For the adventurous: Bucket List Journal
Half the reason we never pursue our dreams is simply not knowing where to start. The other half is planning.
But you can help your retiring principal solve both problems in one fell swoop with this nifty little journal.
It contains dedicated space for 65 different trips or experiences, letting you plan them out and break them down after they’re finished. Plus, it has sections for lists like books to read and movies to see.
Finished in gold over a black hard cover binding, with thick, acid free paper, it’s a gift anyone would appreciate.
For something personal: Personalized engraved wine glass
After all those years, your principal probably deserves a celebratory drink. A personalized wine glass makes for a thoughtful gift that looks great sitting boxed on a shelf, but is still really useful.
Etched onto a high quality glass, the etching is permanent, dishwasher safe, and can be marked with anything you want written, allowing you to write a personalized message that will be remembered!
For the party: Funny retirement party label pack
A retirement is a time for celebration. After thirty to forty years of hard work, it’s probably well earned. It’s a time to raise a toast, and speak fond words.
When it comes time to crack out the wine, these labels are sure to make everyone laugh.
They’re designed to stick seamlessly onto any standard bottle of wine, and the pack has four completely different amusing designs.
Waterproof and high quality gloss stickers, if you don’t like them, you can always send them back, with the 100% money back guarantee!
To say thanks: The influence of a great teacher is never erased mug
It’s true. Teachers have some of the largest impact on the later life of their students. Most teachers are aware of this, but this mug will remind your principal of how good a job they did every time they make a cup of coffee.
Made from high quality ceramic, it’s printed white and red with class styling, and comes in a stylish box ready to be gifted.
For the inspired traveller: National Geographic Destinations of a Lifetime
Retirement is the best time to travel, and there’s a whole world out there to explore. With hundreds of ideas to choose from, and thousands of luxurious, full color photos as well as explanations of culture, where to stay, where to eat and other recommendations, this book is the perfect companion for anyone looking to travel.
More than that, it’s a beautiful book by itself. It’s massive, with high quality prints throughout, and looks amazing whether it’s in your hands, on your bookshelf, or strategically placed on a coffee table.
For carrying it all with you: Plambag duffel bag
If you plan on travelling the world, you need a reliable travel bag to take everything with you.
A duffel, like this one by Plambag, is the perfect companion. Suited and sized to fit as carry on for all major airlines, but large enough to hold everything you need for a long weekend, or longer, it’s excellent both as a main travel bag and as a companion bag.
Made from soft canvas cotton with a nylon interior, it’s stylish but hard-wearing. Expandable up to 26 inches, it has a 60 litre internal capacity, wide enough to hold laptops and tablets, and 6 internal and external pockets.
Available in 5 different colors, you’re sure to find one that will suit any style.
For ticking off the list: Scratch off deluxe bronze world map poster
Help your principal forge new memories every time they walk into their lounge or home office with this scratch off poster.
The smart design lets you remove sections as you travel each country, letting you or others see at a glance where you’ve been.
It’s also gorgeous, and surprisingly large, at 36 x 24 inches, but still suitable for framing.
For a principal who likes to laugh: New Yorker book of Teacher Cartoons
The New Yorker is world famous for its humor, and their cartoons are known everywhere for biting satire and belly laughs.
This collection is all based around teachers, with over 100 included cartoons, recently updated to reflect how the world, and education, has changed in the last few years.
Compiled by the cartoon editor of the magazine itself, this is a gift that will be revisited time after time.
For travels in the US: 50 States 5000 ideas
The US has some of the world’s most impressive and interesting natural sights, as well as hundreds of towns and cities that are all worth visiting, for reasons as varied as the culture, the food, or the history.
This book has more than enough ideas to keep someone travelling for a lifetime. From historic battlefields to out of the way museums, a quick read is sure to discover something to inspire the next big trip.
For staying fit with all that free time: Fitbit Inspire
If you’ve never used one, you don’t realize just how effective a fitness tracker is for changing habits and making you fitter.
The ability to literally glance down at your arm at any point and see your daily steps, calories burned, and more is a massive incentive to keep you moving.
Staying fit when you’re retired is important. It can be hard transitioning from having to run a building that has hundreds of people in it to almost nothing, and the difference, and how it can affect you, is deceptive.
The Inspire is the basic model, but it doesn’t have basic features. Track steps, calories, distance travelled, hourly activity, your active minutes and more, all on 5 days of battery life. Sleek and professional, it also looks good.
If you know your principal wants to stay active, this could be an awesome option.
For out on the greens: Leatherbound personalized scorecard holder
One great thing about retirement is the time to pursue all the hobbies you haven’t been able to spend time on for the last few years.
A popular choice is golf, both for the game itself, but mostly because you can relax in the clubhouse after with a nice cool beer.
If you know your principal loves golf, then this personal scorecard holder is a fantastic gift. Distinctive looks will stand out on the tee, the personalized name adds a nice touch, and it’s good for up to 48 games.
For the traditional touch: Mechanical Pocket Watch
Pocket watches have been a gift given at the end of things for years, and now you can give your principal the gift of time as they end their career.
The mechanical action is hand wound, and only needs 30 turns to wind to full.
The frame is high quality metal, with an acrylic face to prevent cracks and breakages. It comes in 6 different styles, and can be engraved with a personal message.
For everyone to create: Rustic Town Scrapbook style Photobook
Too often these days, we take photos and never print them, so they sit in memory or on social media forever.
But real photos have an impact that’s unparalleled. There’s something about the tangible reality of a photo in your hands that’s different.
So give your principal a proper book of memories. Leather bound, with high quality cotton rag paper, this book can take hundreds of standard sized photos and accompanying messages.
It’s perfect for a class to work on together, filling with photos, trinkets, messages and other memories, then you can pass it on to your principal as a group gift that’s sure to have an impact.
For the foodie: Bon Appetit Gourmet Gift Basket
A simple gift that anyone would appreciate, these gift baskets are packed to the brim with tasty delights, including candies, brownies, cheese and teas.
Available with a personal message written for you, the whole thing weighs over 3lbs and it’s massive, meaning it’s going to look good as well as taste good, when you hand it over.
For someone with a sweet tooth: Gift tower of sweets
If you want a food gift that makes an impact, this tower of sweets is absolutely perfect.
It arrives pre-wrapped and beribboned, and even the act of opening it is a gift in itself. Unwrap the ribbons, peel away the paper and open every box one by one, showing off the delights inside.
With a combination of ginger biscuits, cookies, biscotti, citrus slices, fruit succulents and more, no matter what your principal likes, they’re sure to find something they love.
For the coffee lover: Starbucks Gourmet Gift Basket
Everyone knows teachers basically run on coffee. But what to do when you’ve retired and there’s no way to run to the canteen for a refill or pick up a coffee on the morning run.
You make your own coffee.
This basket is packed with Starbucks favorites, including their own blend of coffee, biscotti and shortbread to have a cheeky snack on, and a bunch of teas. For the coffee lover, it’s literally the perfect gift.
For something with a little charm: Principal bracelet charm
Charm bracelets are incredibly popular, with charms being a cute and clever way to link memories to a physical thing.
So what better gift for your principal than a charm to go on their jewellery. Whether it’s a dedicated principal piece, like this one, or something different, it’s something that will be remembered and worn almost daily.
For a touch of class: Grace of Pearl Principal thank you necklace
Jewellery is a gift that is always appreciated. Say thank you for all those years of hard work with this imitation pearl necklace.
Coming in a beautiful gift box with a heartfelt message, the whole thing is hand placed inside a gift bag and wrapped with a ribbon, setting off the look.
Even better, you can customise the message, saying exactly what you want.
For the tea lover: Bamboo tumbler with tea infuser and strainer
Nothing calms the spirit like a cup of tea. This tumbler is bamboo clad, with an impressively unique look. Bamboo also helps to insulate the outside, ensuring it’s going to stay cool no matter what you put inside.
The internals are just as high quality. Made from stainless steel, it can keep hot drinks hot for up to 12 hours, or keep cold drinks cold for an entire day. The included strainer also means it can be used for teas, both black and green, for fruit infusions, herbal drinks, or even just water.
For well wishers: Retirement wish jar
They say it’s the thought that counts, and what better way to communicate that than giving everyone who is saying goodbye the chance to say one final thing.
The gift comes with the jar, one hundred tickets to write inspiring or heartfelt messages on, and a handy pen.
It’s perfect for staff or students, and it’s something that will look amazing on any shelf or desk.
For a gentle reminder: Retirement congratulations plaque
After a lifetime of working hard, the urge to continue can still be there. Give your principal a reminder that they’re allowed to relax and take it easy now with this wall plaque.
Made from wood, with a glass overlay, this framed sign is 12 inches by 12 inches, and ready to hang out of the box.
Your retiring principal presents buyer’s guide
If you still don’t know what to buy your principal, there’s a few options that we can offer some help with. Our list of gifts can broadly be broken down into three types, which might give you some insight into what else you could buy:
Gifts for hobbies
Retirement gives a person a lot of time to pursue the things they’ve been putting off. Whether that’s spending more time in the garden or pursuing sports like tennis and golf, or taking up painting, cooking or more.
If you know your principal has a particular hobby, or even if they don’t, buying them things to help them do the things they love is always smart.
Gifts to help them travel
Travel is one of the biggest things everyone does on their retirement, because there’s nothing holding you back from travelling the world for months at a time.
So gifts based around travel are obviously great. Travel guides, luggage, smart little widgets and trinkets, the list of things you can get is endless.
Lastly, more traditional gifts are always a good choice. Things like wine and chocolates are safe and appreciated, as are gifts that communicate the good times you’ve shared.
A principal has a massive impact on the lives of hundreds of people, and their retirement is the time to pay some of that back. A thoughtful gift doesn’t have to be hard to choose, or even particularly expensive, but taking the time to pick something meaningful will be appreciated for years to come.