General, seasonal / holiday

Christmas Gifts for Students, From 2011-2018

I know, I know…it’s barely November, and here I am already talking about Christmas gifts! But in my opinion, it’s never too early to start thinking ahead and brainstorming. I tend to enjoy the holidays more when I’ve managed to get an early start on my to-dos. 🙂

I don’t think it’s necessary to give your piano students gifts at Christmastime, but it’s a nice gesture if you feel so inspired!

And so, I thought it’d be fun to do a flashback post today, taking a look at the Christmas gifts I’ve done over the years for my students. Some of these gifts were pretty time intensive (certain years, apparently I was inspired enough to be willing to take on a big project!), and other years were simple, but thoughtful gifts. I hope perhaps these photos will give you a useful idea or two, if you’re looking for ideas for something to do for your own students!

2011: Personalized Glass Sheet Music Ornaments

Back in 2011, I created personalized glass sheet music ornaments for each student, with their name and the year written with a gold paint pen. They turned out so pretty! I love how they turned out, and would like to use this idea again in the future. Each student also received a chocolate Symphony bar. Read more here.

That year, I gave my adult students something else: a copy of the book “The A to Z of Foreign Musical Terms” by Christine Ammer. I learned about this book during grad school, when one of my professors recommended it as a music dictionary that actually contains all the words we commonly see in our music. (Have you ever looked up a word in your music dictinary, only to find it wasn’t included?!) This book is a nice slim volume, and a great price — I’d recommend it to any piano teacher or student! I use it not infrequently during lessons, to have students look up the terms in their pieces.

2012: Iced Sugar Cookies

The following year, I baked sugar cut-out cookies using my music cookie cutters. I topped them with icing, and I think they turned out pretty cute!

The music cookie cutter set I own is no longer available on Amazon, but this set looks pretty similar!


I bagged them using treat sacks and a topper I designed in Microsoft Word. Read more here.


2013: A home-recorded CD of favorite student classical repertoire

The next year, I home-recorded a CD of a few favorite classical teaching pieces. This was quite a big project, but it turned out pretty neat! Read more here.


2014: A Printed Composition (or two)

This year, I composed two pieces (one mid-elementary level and one late intermediate level) and give them to my students for Christmas. This was a fun project! Learn more about the details of this project and download the elementary level piece for free here.

20141219_141906 NIKON web
20141219_141841 NIKON web

2015: Sheet Music Ornaments

This is one of my favorite gifts I’ve done! If you like doing crafty things, this idea might be for you. I recycled old, tattered sheet music to create these lovely sheet music ornaments. Learn more here.

2016: Iced Sugar Cookies (again)

In 2016, I made sugar cut-out cookies again! I usually put three cookies per treat sack, for each student.

Making cut-out cookies is one of those things that I love doing around the holidays! I have good memories of making holiday cookies with my siblings growing up.

2017: Rice Crispy Treats in a Cookie Cutter

The next year, I tried something based on a picture I had seen (probably on Pinterest?) — with my own twist. I made Rice Crispy Treats, inserted music-shaped cookie cutters, and then decorated using red and green M&Ms.

I found out it was kinda tricky to remove the Rice Crispy Treats from the pan while keeping them inside the cookie cutters, but I think it turned out alright overall!

2018: Snowman Sheet Music Resin Ornament

Last year, I bought these adorable resin snowman ornaments on Amazon and added a ribbon scarf to each one (thanks goes to Sara Campbell for the recommendation!). I personalized them by writing each student name, the year, and a few music notes on the back using a permanent marker.

I paired each ornament with a bag of homemade cinnamon popcorn, made on the stovetop — a healthy snack I was really into last year!

What’s in store for 2019?

I have a couple of promising ideas in mind…stay tuned to hear the results! 🙂

Update: Check out my 2019 gifts here.

Your turn: Do you have any ideas to share? I’d love to hear what favorite gifts you’ve given to students in the past! Please share in the comments below.

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9 thoughts on “Christmas Gifts for Students, From 2011-2018”

  1. Joy, it is NEVER too soon to begin thinking about student Christmas gifts. Thank you so much for these ideas. I am going to get on Amazon and order those snowmen while they are still available!

  2. I have gotten my students sheet music or a book of music almost every year as recital preparation prizes or Christmas presents. I’m always fighting clutter in my house so I’m hesitant to give other things. They all seem to really like getting new music!

  3. I gave them a pair of mittens (dollar store) one year to keep their piano fingers warm, another year was a personalized bag to carry their music to lessons (dollar store bag and alphabet rubber stamps) and a homemade ornament (rubber stamps coming in clutch again!).

  4. I did the clear ornament with sheet music inside last year. I put the song they played for Christmas inside and they LOVED them. It’s such a great idea. I was pretty excited to see you made a similar gift. It’s fun to do stuff like that and I think the parents also get a kick out of it.

  5. Thanks Joy for such creative ideas for Christmas gifts.

    Last year I had relaxing neck pillows hand made in various musical fabrics for every student. Definitely was a hit with the students. One boy loved his so much he asked if I could get two more pillows made for his brothers who also play musical instruments. Even the college students loved their pillows. A nice reminder to love music, your instrument and maybe even to practice a bit more.

    This year 2019 I am giving a small 5×7 blank Journal (Dollar Tree kind) and a Frixion Erasable Pen with a note to start writing about your MUSICAL SECRET JOURNEY next semester. I will give ideas like how do lessons go, how is your practicing, are you performing for events or just stuffed animals? etc. And of course i will bake musical cookies too. I decorate my studio and the students look forward to it every year to see the lights and signs of Christmas.
    “For the Love of Music”
    Patty Mack in Durango, Colorado

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