Making vanilla wreaths as teacher’s gifts

I like getting my children to give gifts to teachers, etc – and I prefer them to be involved in the gifts somehow. I’m also conscious that most teachers probably get too many candles and soaps as it is.

So last year, my kids make some vanilla wreaths and balls for their teachers – the recipe below made about 30 of each which we shared between 9 paper plates and wrapped in cellophane, tied with red ribbon and given as gifts the next day.

Before you assume 9 teachers is a lot, I included one for each of my children’s class and instrument teachers, plus the lollypop lady, school librarian and the school cleaner (an under appreciated man!)

Here’s what I did…


250g butter, softened

145g smart sugar (or 290g castor sugar)*

2 eggs

2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

1 teaspoon baking powder

600g plain flour


About 320g smart icing sugar *

6 – 8 tablespoons fresh orange juice (the bottled stuff is too sweet for my liking)

15 mint leaves (the lolly variety!)

About 90 red smarties or equivalent lolly (useful if you’re used to eating the red ones last! Sorry, old ad jingles stick in my head!)

Packet of 100s and 1000s or mini lollies of some sort


Cream butter and sugar

Add eggs and vanilla; combine well

Add flour and baking powder; mix into a dough

Roll out dough to about 5mm thick – it’s a bit sticky so I use sheets of baking paper on either side. I also do it in batches as there’s a lot of dough!

Cut out large circles – circle biscuit cutter or a mug will do the trick

Cut a smaller circle out of each biscuit – use a smaller circle cutter or a glass

Put the rings (wreaths) and circles (Christmas balls) ont greased or lined biscuit trays

Put full trays into the fridge while you continue rolling and cutting and all dough is used up (rework the scraps back in each time)

Place trays in pre-heated 180° oven for 8 – 10 minutes – biscuits should be a lightly golden-brown on the top

Cool for about 5 minutes before removing from the trays onto a wire rack

When completely cool, decorate as wreaths or Christmas balls.

Vanilla Wreaths

Slice the mint leaves through the middle (so they become thinner but have the same shape as they started with)

Mix the icing sugar and orange juice in batches

Ice the top of the wreaths – I let it drip down the sides but you could ice the sides properly if you wanted to

Stick two leaf halves onto the biscuit to form the holly leaves

Dab some left over icing onto 3 smarties and stick them onto the leaves as holly berries – repeat for the other biscuits!

Christmas balls

Mix the icing sugar with some orange juice and a drop or red or green food colouring. If you have time, it’s really nice to use two colours, but one or none will work fine!

Spread icing onto the smaller circle biscuits – making some half red and half green is fun

Sprinkle 100s and 1000s over the top



* I tend to use smart sugar for everything now – you need half as much so the food is lower GI and it’s made from Australian cane sugar. If you can’t get it, castor sugar or normal icing sugar works just as well.

Kids’ thank you gifts

I have 3 kids, all at school and various clubs and groups, so there are a few special people I’d like the kids to thank at Christmas time. I know that most of these people are paid but it is for the extra effort and care beyond their job that I appreciate – and its good for the kids to say thanks even if the teachers are paid to be there.

But I just can’t afford much so spread across 13 or 14 adults, it leaves very little. Does anyone have suggestions of nice gifts they’ll appreciate (beyond the thought!) that are inexpensive?

And I feel I should spend more on my daughter’s Joey Scout leaders because they actually are not paid for what they do. Nothing I do could pay for a fraction of their time but they deserve something special. Is it right to spend very little on the other to spend more on the wonderful volunteers?

Teacher gifts

As a teacher, I often get a number of gifts from students. Everyone of those gifts is appreciated for the thought and the message it conveys, but I have to say that not all of them are wanted.

I mean, little soaps are cute but not so practical in a house with 3 boys and I’m actually allergic to chocolate (yes I know it is shocking) And I’ve noticed that female teachers never get given wine! (I wonder if female coaches, leaders, etc find the same thing???)

So I was VERY pleased today to get a gift from my class – not each child, but a class gift organised by a parent or two. They gave me a voucher for a massage and a bottle of moisturiser – a perfect way to relax at the end of the year and very thoughtful.

It’s probably too late for this year, but if you are thinking of a gift for a teacher/leader/coach consider getting something as a group – the recipient is likely to appreciate it and it may even be cheaper than buying something yourself.

And for anyone who does want to organise a group gift, I came across a site that may be useful – Chip In manages the payments from everyone in the group.

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