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Over the past few years, my advisor has been extraordinarily helpful, going above and beyond. She has written me countless LoR, edited thousands of drafts for fellowships and scholarships, and she has stood up for me on numerous occasions when my applications (and quite frankly me as well) were being mishandled by other faculty. 

 

I am going to write her the longest thank you letter ever, but I'm wondering if it would be inappropriate to get her a gift. I'm graduating from a BA, so I've never really had to do this before. I don't want to be disrespectful and put her in an awkward position (she is teaching a course I'm taking my last semester so grades might not be finalized before I leave). Any thoughts on if it is appropriate and if so, what I could possibly get her? 

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I got my LoR writers each something small, inexpensive, and fairly personal. One was an inside joke (novelty mints in comic tins) one prof was having a baby relatively soon so I got a literary themed onesie and the other some fancy loose leaf tea. Silly stuff that is below 10 bucks and just shows some thought to go a long with a nice letter. I wouldn't think any awkwardness would ensue if the gifts aren't lavish/inappropriate. My profs really appreciated the gesture. 

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I bought my recommenders small potted succulent plants for their desks. They came in beautifully colored ceramic pots and it was only $20 for three of them in a set. Cheap, beautiful, and easy to care for. Etsy has them among listings here or here. Marimos in aquatic terrariums can also be beautiful and relatively well priced. Turns out keeping plants or greenery on your desk can up your productivity and relieve stress

 

I considered baking cookies (I make excellent cookies) but don't know as much about everyone's diets. 

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Bananas are good. I like Bananas.

I gave a theory book and a fun book to one advisor/letter writer
A new theory book to another advisor/letter writer

a bottle of nice Whisky to the final advisor/letter writer/current instructor

They're grown adults and professionals I suspect they can/do seperate these sort of gifts from any idea of bribery/what-have-you.

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Thanks guys! My freshman year I got a professor a gift card to a book store she liked and put it in the thank you note for her. She actually mailed it back to me and said that it was too much and I didn't have to do that, it is her job. I felt horrible. 

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I think anything money-related is more likely to make people uncomfortable.  But if you've already bought/made/baked the gift, I don't think they'd feel as weird about it.

 

When I graduated I wrote my advisor a letter and gave her a plant that grew tea-making herbs, so she could make tea from it if she desired.  I just got into school, so I will be writing all my LoR folks thank-you letters, and...figuring out some sort of little gift.  Haven't figured out what yet though.  One of my friends made our history prof a mug of "Tudor Machiavelli 2012" for graduation.  I thought he was going to die he laughed so hard.  Fun stuff like that goes over well.

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