How to buy your child's teacher something they actually want this Christmas.

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of lives that draw us closer and closer and closer to the inevitable anxiety and indecision involved in buying a gift for your child’s teacher.

It’s a time that’s fast approaching — not that you need anyone to tell you.

A recent survey by GroupTogether, a service that allows groups to collect money online, asked teachers what they really wanted and what they really, really didn’t want.

“As lovely and thoughtful as it is and any gift is appreciated, no more chocolate, hand creams, mugs, soaps and candles please,” one teacher responded to the survey.

No chocolates please. (Image via iStock)

This teacher is not alone.

The 198 survey respondents listed their worst gifts for 2016. And if you were looking at that lovely tea cup in Myers and you were thinking it would make a tasteful, elegant gift for Mrs Lloyd who teaches Year Five, I have some bad news for you.

Mugs top the worst gifts list. Quickly followed by hand cream (which is baffling, really. Who doesn't want a lovely tub of fancy hand cream?) and chocolate.

The inclusion of chocolate on this list leads me to question just exactly who is teaching our children and what sort of monsters are they, but there you have it.

Other items on the list include perfume, pens and stationary, candles (candles?) and pot plants.

Who doesn't want a fancy hand cream? (Image via iStock)

And what do teachers really want? Well, somewhat unsurprising for research conducted by a group buying service, the overwhelming majority, nearly 75 per cent of the survey respondents said a group gift, with a lovely message and a group card was the preferred gift.

"Go in as a group. I have done this for my children's teachers and you can get something really nice. Something they can pick," one teacher wrote.

“Go group present. All gifts are appreciated but sometimes there are only so many candles you can burn in one house. Re-gifted presents and used/opened presents make you feel like the family felt obliged to buy you something," wrote another.

“Teachers don't get paid that much, [so] a voucher allows us to treat ourselves to something we really need/want!”

GroupTogether takes the hassle and awkwardness out of collecting for a group gift. One person sets up a collection in a few minutes. GroupTogether does the heavy lifting: the reminders, tracking and collecting contributions online. Start a free collection here.