23 Best Gift Ideas for Professors

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Some academic occasions are to be celebrated, such as the end of a semester, graduation, or when your favorite professor retires. To honor the occasion, you may want to purchase a gift to thank your professor for all the hours and work they’ve put into your education. Trust us, professors work hard – when they aren’t teaching you, they’re likely in meetings, working on administrative tasks or doing research. 

But what should you buy? 

To help you find the perfect gift for your professor, we have prepared a list of 23 of the best gifts for professors you can buy online.

Best Gifts for Professors

In a hurry? Check out these top 3 staff picks:

Sea Urchin Air Plant Kit

Bringing nature indoors, this exotic kit comes with 3 tillandsia air plants and 3 sea urchin shells to display them in. These unique plants can live without soil, absorbing their nutrients from the air. An attractive addition to any space, these versatile plants can be arranged in any style and will filter and cleanse the air around you. With low maintenance, and minimal watering, they will thrive anywhere.

What we like:

  • Comes with a convenient instruction sheet
  • Easy care
  • An exotic and unusual gift 

What we don’t like:

  • The shells are on the smaller side, with some plants being too large to fit in them – a different pot may be needed if this is the case.
Pink Sea Urchin Air Plant Kit (Tillandsia) Pink Sea Urchin Air Plant Kit (Tillandsia)

This is best for anyone looking for a gift idea for green thumbed professors, but are after something more unique than your typical indoor plant. These will certainly brighten up any professor’s face and office!

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VOBAGA Coffee Mug Warmer

Professors usually spend their days being interrupted, often leading to the bitter disappointment of a cup of coffee gone cold. The solution – a coffee mug warmer. Suitable to sit on an office desk, this compact design has three temperature settings to either keep or warm up the temperature of the beverage, meaning no more wasted trips to the staff room to reheat a drink.

What we like:

  • Safe and durable with an automatic shut off after 4 hours
  • Suitable for a range of mugs and materials
  • Lightweight and portable

What we don’t like:

  • Don’t expect drinks to become super hot – if your drink is cold when you use it, it will become warm but not piping hot. 
  • Can be a little bit noisy
VOBAGA Mug Warmer for Office Desk Use VOBAGA Mug Warmer for Office Desk Use
$25.99

This is the best gift for nearly every professor! If you’re looking for the best gift ideas for professors, this could be the leading choice. What better way to say thank you than to make sure your professor never has to sip a cold coffee again!

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11/27/2022 07:34 am GMT

Related: Shop These 5 Best Planners for Law School

Tea Forte Single Steeps Organic Loose Leaf Tea Sampler

Designed to relax the mind, body, and spirit, this organic tea leaf sampler offers a selection of gourmet teas for every mood. The pack comes with five varieties of tea, 3 of each blend – Darjeeling Quince, Mountain Oolong, Lemon Lavender, Orange Jasmine, and Vanilla Pear. Coming in pre-portioned single servings, these tea leaves can either be emptied into a teapot or infusing basket, for the perfect cup of tea. 

What we like:

  • A great way to sample new and different flavors of tea
  • Convenient pre-portioned servings 
  • Well presented box

What we don’t like:

  • Some of the flavors are a bit hit and miss – down to personal preference
Tea Forte Single Steeps Loose Leaf Tea Sampler Tea Forte Single Steeps Loose Leaf Tea Sampler
$17.00 ($1.13 / Count)

This is the best gift for professors who prefer tea to coffee or who enjoy cozying up with a good book and cup of tea.

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11/27/2022 07:37 am GMT

Coffee Table Book

When deciding on a gift for a professor, you can’t go wrong with a coffee table book that showcases your teacher’s interest. Not only is it a personalized and thoughtful gift, but you have the freedom to make it as funny, serious or practical as you want. 

What we like:

  • Thoughtful
  • It’s unlikely that someone else has bought the same gift
  • Can play around with genre and price

What we don’t like:

  • Sometimes when there is too much choice, it’s hard to make a decision! 
1000 Record Covers (Bibliotheca Universalis) 1000 Record Covers (Bibliotheca Universalis)
$25.00 $22.50

This is the best gift for those looking for gifts for a college professor that they can perfectly tailor to the individual. 

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11/27/2022 07:48 am GMT

Thank You Card

While a gift says thank you, it’s always nice to receive a personalized note to go alongside it. Or, sometimes, just a well designed and thoughtful thank you note is enough. With gold foil letterpress combined with a solid color background, these cards offer a simple yet elegant design, perfect for both men and women for any occasion. Made with premium paper, both the card and envelope look smart and professional.

What we like:

  • Suitable to give to anyone
  • Elegant and quality design 
  • Envelopes are self-sealing

What we don’t like:

  • Limited choice of background-color
Hallmark Signature Gold Thank You Cards, Gold Script (10 Cards with Envelopes) Hallmark Signature Gold Thank You Cards, Gold Script (10 Cards with Envelopes)
$19.49

This set of thank you cards can be used for all your personalized thank you notes to your professors. In a pack of 10, you will have plenty of cards to hand out to the professors who have imparted you with their wisdom.

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11/27/2022 08:07 am GMT

Pop Quiz Clock

A unique and creative way to keep track of time, this analog display wall clock has a different math problem for each hour. A large design made from matte black powder-coated metal with white letters and numbers means this clock will stand out in any classroom, lecture hall or office. 

What we like:

  • A fun way to tell the time
  • Discussion starter
  • Unique gift

What we don’t like:

  • Makes quite a loud ticking noise
  • May be a distraction to students in the class who become focused on solving the math problems rather than the lesson at hand!
DCI Pop Quiz Clock DCI Pop Quiz Clock
$31.99 $27.99

This is the best gift for a professor who loves math, or any teacher that would enjoy a novel addition to their classroom or office. 

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11/27/2022 08:13 am GMT

Inspirational Quote Pen

This stylish gift is an ideal choice for any professor, as they always need a pen to hand. Coming in a range of engraved designs, from Aristotle quotes to Einstein quotes and even Hemmingway, there will no doubt be an inspiring saying that your professor will love. Made from metal, with a lacquered wood-colored finish, this elegant ballpoint pen is refillable and reusable. 

What we like:

  • Not too heavy or too light
  • Uses the standard Parker ballpoint refill

What we don’t like:

  • On the bulkier side
Aristotle Enlightened Quote Pen Aristotle Enlightened Quote Pen
$19.99

Need a gift idea for a PhD advisor, college professor or university professor? This luxury pen is both a practical and stylish gift. 

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11/27/2022 08:17 am GMT

MOKOQI Magnetic Levitation Floating Globe

The perfect desk companion, this floating globe is a high tech gadget that everyone would enjoy, even your PhD advisor! Simple to install and set up, it’s easy to make the globe levitate. You can even make it spin in the air and watch it rotate! Your professor’s office will have never looked cooler!

What we like:

  • LED light feature makes it look cool in the dark
  • Great conversation piece
  • A fun gift

What we don’t like:

  • The magnets are powerful and can’t be close to computer devices or other electronic devices.
  • Smaller than expected
MOKOQI Magnetic Levitating Globe with LED Light MOKOQI Magnetic Levitating Globe with LED Light
$41.99 $32.75

This is a fun, novelty Christmas gift for a professor - it will certainly add the wow factor to any office. 

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11/27/2022 08:23 am GMT

G-WACK Stress Relief Desk Toy

Being a professor is a stressful and demanding job, so why not gift them with something to relieve the pressure? Therapeutic and entertaining, this desk toy releases stress as well as aids creativity. It is the ideal distraction and a productive brain break. 

What we like:

  • Great desk addition
  • A good way to release stress
  • Novelty gift

What we don’t like:

  • Balls can fly everywhere!
  • A mix of magnetic and metallic balls, with less magnetic ones
G-WACK Stress Relief Desk Toys G-WACK Stress Relief Desk Toys

This is perfect for those wanting to buy a gift for their professor that provides some humorous entertainment and a distraction from marking papers!

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50 States, 500 Ideas

The travel experts at National Geographic have created this book to showcase the best travel experiences in every state. Mixing in the well-known with the unexpected, from off the wall museums to the best place to spot a sea otter, each entry gives useful information and fascinating facts about each state to fuel an adventurous spirit. There’s also a section on the Canadian provinces and territories. 

What we like:

  • Fun and informative
  • Awesome pictures
  • The ideal reference to have while travelling

What we don’t like:

  • No maps
  • Small font 
50 States, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do 50 States, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do
$29.47

Seeking to buy the perfect retirement gift for a professor? This book will encourage them to start planning the vacation of a lifetime!

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11/27/2022 09:38 am GMT

The Legend Has Retired Whiskey Highball

What better way to see someone off into retirement than with something they can sip their favorite whiskey, bourbon or scotch from. This 11 oz personalized rocks whiskey glass is a fun way to celebrate retirement, while still being a thoughtful gift. 

What we like:

  • Thoughtful and personalized for the occasion
  • Fun, and can double as christmas gifts for professors

What we don’t like:

  • A tad gimmicky 
The Legend Has Retired 11 oz Whiskey Glass The Legend Has Retired 11 oz Whiskey Glass
$15.49

Want to see your professor off in style? Here's a great retirement gift for a professor that they will love.

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11/25/2022 02:18 pm GMT

Happy Retirement Plant Pot

Another great retirement gift idea for a professor, this planter is a small durable wooden box that comes with forget-me-not seeds. The planter is inscribed with the cute message: “Happy retirement, let your new life bloom!” The box includes planting instructions, an indoor garden planter, seed packets, and peat pellets.

What we like:

  • A cute gift for any PhD advisor
  • Personalized for retirement 

What we don’t like:

  • This doesn’t come as a plant – the recipient must grow the plant from the seeds
Happy Retirement Plant Pot to The Best Thyme of Your Life Happy Retirement Plant Pot to The Best Thyme of Your Life
$15.95

This is an amazing idea for anyone after a sweet and thoughtful retirement gift for their professor that ties in nicely with the occasion. 

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11/27/2022 10:58 am GMT

Holiday Nut and Dried Fruit Gift Box

You can’t go wrong with a well-stocked healthy gift box! Containing a selection of 12 healthy little treats, from protein-rich salted and roasted nuts to juicy dried fruit, there’s plenty to get those taste buds watering. Both a quality and healthy gift, Oh! Nuts use the best and freshest ingredients to build up their delicious holiday gift baskets. 

What we like:

  • Suitable for vegans/vegetarians and those who have a dairy intolerance, and the box is certified Kosher
  • Well packaged
  • A good variety of fruit and nuts

What we don’t like:

  • Mixed reviews on the quality of taste – this is more of a personal preference though
Oh! Nuts Holiday Gift Basket - 7 Nut Variety Oh! Nuts Holiday Gift Basket - 7 Nut Variety
4.5
$29.99 ($16.66 / Count)

1.8 pounds of a fresh assortment of nuts - makes a great gift basket for those seeking a healthier lifestyle.

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11/28/2022 12:04 am GMT

Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker

You’ll be hard pushed to find a professor who doesn’t like coffee! This stainless steel french press makes it simple to brew a delicious cup of coffee in just 4 minutes. The mesh filter helps to extract the coffee’s aromatic oils, ensuring maximum flavor in every cup. With a durable design, the coffee press comes with a Bodum Patented safety lid to stop spillages, and is dishwasher safe for easy cleaning. 

What we like:

  • Comes in a variety of sizes
  • Easy to use and clean
  • No coffee grounds in the cup

What we don’t like:

  • Plunging mechanism not overly smooth
  • Glass is quite fragile

Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker, 51 Ounce, 1.5 Liter Bodum Chambord French Press Coffee Maker, 51 Ounce, 1.5 Liter
$66.00 $41.99
This is best for those after a practical gift idea for a professor, this coffee maker could be a great choice. It will likely make better coffee than what’s in the staff room!
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11/26/2022 01:23 pm GMT

Moocoo Portable Espresso Machine

While we’re on the subject of coffee, if you feel like splashing out, this simple, light and sturdy portable coffee machine makes a great coffee. Due to advanced pumping technology, this espresso machine is able to provide the perfect crema in every single brew. Simple to use, this hand-powered machine requires no battery or electricity. It’s easy to clean and is dishwasher safe.

What we like:

  • Takes both ground coffee or espresso capsules
  • The pump can froth milk
  • Convenient and easy to use
  • Handy to take anywhere

What we don’t like:

  • On the small side – don’t expect a big cup of coffee
  • Higher-end of the price scale
STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine STARESSO Portable Espresso Machine
$64.99

Looking to buy an innovative and useful gift? Although more expensive than the other professor gifts, this could be given for a special occasion - perhaps as a retirement gift for your professor. 

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11/27/2022 11:18 am GMT

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Both the number one national and international bestseller, renowned psychologist Dr. Jordan Peterson answers one of life’s most difficult questions – what does everyone in the modern world need to know? Humorous and informative, this book covers all sorts of truths of ancient tradition alongside revelations from cutting-edge scientific research, discussing discipline, freedom, adventure, and responsibility. 

What we like:

  • A mix of philosophy, psychology, and self-help
  • Witty and educational 
  • Covers a broad range of topics

What we don’t like:

  • Can ramble on in places – you may have to dig around for the point Peterson is making
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos
$18.21

Want to buy a book as a gift for a professor but are unsure what genre to go for? This bestseller provides a mix of both humor and education, making it a pretty safe yet interesting choice.  

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11/27/2022 01:23 pm GMT

Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief

Another book by Dr. Jordan Peterson, Maps of Meaning is a provocative hypothesis that explores the mind, morality, and structure of the world by honing in on the connection between neuropsychology, cognitive science, rituals, myths, and religious stories. It also looks at the Freudian and Jungian approaches to mythology and narrative. 

What we like:

  • An interesting look at the world and our cultures
  • Technical and scientific mixed with fun and curiosity

What we don’t like:

  • Can be a challenging read
  • Pricey
Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief Maps of Meaning: The Architecture of Belief
$76.95 $30.00

This is great for those looking to buy a gift for a PhD advisor who specializes in psychology, philosophy, religion, or any professor who enjoys having their world view challenged.

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11/27/2022 03:12 pm GMT

Stress Sign Wall Plaque Decoration

A novelty sign that can be used inside and outside. Covering a range of subjects such as BIOLOGY BLVD, SCIENCE ST, ENGLISH ST, HISTORY ST, these signs make for a humorous and personalized gift for your college professor or university professor. There’s even one that says RETIRED RD! Made from high-quality plastic and easy to install. 

What we like:

  • Fun 
  • Personalized to a specific subject

What we don’t like:

  • A limited number of subjects available
BIOLOGY Street Sign Wall Plaque Decoration BIOLOGY Street Sign Wall Plaque Decoration
$14.95

This is best for anyone looking for a fun gift to buy a professor, perhaps a little something for Christmas!

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11/27/2022 03:18 pm GMT

Solar System Color Changing Heat Sensitive Mug

A thermochromic mug that, when activated by a hot liquid, will make the sun and planets and night sky appear, as if by magic. Like any heat sensitive color changing mug, this must be hand-washed. Also, it cannot be put in the microwave. With its cool design, this mug will certainly bring some cheer to any professor’s day!

What we like:

  • Good quality
  • Fun and novel way to enjoy a hot beverage
  • Great images of the planets

What we don’t like:

  • Not suitable for a dishwasher or a microwave
  • Liquids must be very hot for the mug to work
Magic Heat Changing Coffee Mug Solar System Magic Heat Changing Coffee Mug Solar System
$15.93

This is for all the science professors out there, or any professor that would enjoy a cool gift! 

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11/27/2022 03:38 pm GMT

Jane Austen Books Coaster Set

A set of 6 individual coasters featuring titles from Jane Austen’s famous novels, perfect for any English lover or anglophile! Practically designed, with a fabric top to help absorb condensation and a non-slip recycled rubber back to protect furniture. 

What we like:

  • Easy and safe to spot clean
  • Fun to look at
  • Functional – good protection for furniture

What we don’t like:

  • Colors come out quite dull
  • Strong rubber smell
Jane Austen Books - 6 Piece Fabric Top Coaster Set Jane Austen Books - 6 Piece Fabric Top Coaster Set
$29.99 $19.99

This is an awesome gift for any English professor! These would make a good Christmas gift.

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11/27/2022 03:52 pm GMT

Mceal Wax Seal Stamp Regal Letter

With a choice of any letter in the alphabet, this wax seal stamp could be used on anything, like envelopes, wine bottles or gift packages to add a level of sophistication! With a 30mm silver-plated brass seal head and a wooden handle, this stamp not only looks good but has a great design. 

What we like:

  • High quality and well made
  • Beautiful design
  • Easy to use

What we don’t like:

  • Doesn’t come with wax
Mceal Wax Seal Stamp, Silver Brass Head with Wooden Handle Mceal Wax Seal Stamp, Silver Brass Head with Wooden Handle
$8.99

This is a fun and unique personalized gift for a professor.

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11/27/2022 03:58 pm GMT

Newton’s Cradle Balance Ball

Art-in-motion is a classic gift and the perfect accessory to any desk. Another stress-relieving gadget for that overworked professor, the simplicity of lifting one steel ball and letting it swing back into the other steel balls never grows old. 

What we like:

  • Fun and entertaining gift
  • Will make any desk look cool
  • Simple and classic design

What we don’t like:

  • Pretty pricey
Newtons Cradle Balance Balls Desk Toy Newtons Cradle Balance Balls Desk Toy
$28.89

This is an awesome gift for a physics professor or for those looking to buy a stylish yet simple gift for any professor.

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11/27/2022 04:07 pm GMT

Professor Gifts Buying Tips

There are a couple of things you should consider before purchasing a gift for a professor:

Gift Etiquette for Professors

While there is no set etiquette when buying a gift for a professor, you may want to think about the type of gift you want to give – something funny or novel, something serious or educational, or something practical and useful. How well you know your professor or what subject they teach will influence the gift choice, as it’s always nice to be given something personal and thoughtful. If in doubt, there are plenty of excellent generic gifts out there where you can’t go too wrong, especially coffee-related paraphernalia like the French Coffee Press or the coffee mug warmer!

How Much Should I Spend on a Gift for a Professor?

Ideally, the gift should be under $35, as most professors aren’t able to accept high-cost items from students due to institutional regulations and ethical standards. Rather than focusing too much on the price, think about a gift that will mean something to the professor or something that you know they will use often. It could be an inexpensive book in their field or a thoughtful little addition to their desk, you don’t have to splash out too much. 

Gifts for Professors FAQ

What are appropriate gifts for professors?

Appropriate gifts for professors should ideally be budget-friendly (under $30) and considered thoughtful rather than luxurious.

What’s the best thank you gift for a professor?

The best thank you gift shows that you considered what he/she is interested in and show that you care. These can be small desk toys related to their field of work or even a simple thank you card including a favorite memory or takeaway from class.

Is it ok to give a professor a gift card?

A gift card in a small amount may be ok if it is personal or related to his/her interests. But keep this gift card in small amounts below $20 so they do not feel uncomfortable accepting it.

Professor Gifts Bottomline

When you put a little thought into thank you gifts for professors, we’re certain they’ll appreciate the gesture. Just remember, your gift isn’t a way to sway a decision about your grades! It’s there to say thank you!

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