I was an assistant preschool teacher for one year and realized that year that gift cards are the way to a teacher's heart. And I've spoken to lots of teachers on this and they all agree.
So I emailed all the parents in the class and told them my plan to make a gift card tree and asked that who ever wanted to participate to send in a gift card (of any amount) and I would take care of the rest. I asked Sarah's teacher about some of her favorite stores and emailed that to the parents as well.
Sarah's class only has 17 kids in it and a few of them wanted to give their own gifts so they didn't participate in the tree. (And that was okay. I just presented the tree to the teacher as a gift from the entire class.)
All in all our little gift card tree had 13 gift cards on it to Barnes and Noble, Starbucks and Panera and the cards ranged in value from $5, $10, $15 and $25.
I think it turned out pretty cute:
(Although, one of the kids did ask me if it was a Charlie Brown Christmas tree!)
I got the tiny tree and the tiny ornament balls from Target. I got the tiny clothes pins from Michael and I made the star out of construction paper and glued it to one of the clothes pins.
It may be too late for you to use this idea this year but you can always pin it for next year. And be on the lookout for sales on tiny trees right after Christmas. I think I'm going to try to see if I can find one on sale for next year!