Cathy of Mayberry Mom shared what I think may be the sanest method of organizing gifts for teachers:
This may be an obvious one, but I think it's so helpful.
At our kids' day care (hey, the source of the other hack I submitted), one of the parents organizes a communal teacher gift every December. She sets up a box full of envelopes, one for each teacher/staff member, along with a holiday card for each person. Parents are invited to contribute any amount of money toward a gift by placing it in the relevant envelope(s) and signing the appropriate card(s). This way each family can give anonymously and tailor the contribution–for example, I give the most money to my kids' primary teachers, a mid-range amount to the directors and cook, and a smaller amount to other teachers who work with my children only occasionally.
After everyone's had a chance to contribute, the organizing parent takes all the funds and buys gift certificates to our local mall for each staffer. No more agonizing about what to give or how much to spend! (I still follow up with a more personal note and some homemade treats for the primary teachers, though.)
Anyone else with a teacher gift idea to share? Teachers: what are the favorite gifts you've received from your students?