End-of-the-year teacher’s gifts have become tricky territory for parents.

Should I buy her a bottle of wine? She certainly deserves it, but what message does that send? Maybe chocolate . . . but what if she’s on a diet? A fruit basket . . . but I don’t want to insinuate that she needs to go on a diet. Maybe some sort of a spa treatment . . . or is that too personal? How about a gift certificate to Starbucks . . . will she think I’m boring? Some muffins . . . how insensitive, she could have a gluten allergy.

Parents often get caught up in this struggle, agonizing over picking the perfect gift for their children’s teacher. Instead of trying to think of what the teacher might like or need, many wonder: What does this gift say about me as a parent? What message does it convey?

Like so many things related to children, teacher’s gifts have become a casualty of the helicopter-parenting trend—over-analyzed, judged, and the subject of wild expectations. As Wednesday Martin, author of the forthcoming book Primates of Park Avenue, explained last week to the New York Post, “deification of children,” is de rigueur these days. You are “. . . supposed to be enriching your child on every measure you could think of: emotionally, socially, artistically, academically.”

Gift giving for teachers has become a part of that enrichment process. Long gone are the days of kids simply giving their teacher a handwritten thank you note or a crayon drawing of a flower on a torn out piece of binder paper. Today, moms, not their kids, are in charge of the end-of-the-year teachers’ gifts and they better be Pinterest perfect.

Ultimately, though, as the pressure to provide the finest gift increases, the thoughtfulness of the gift often declines. The teachers I’ve spoken to tend to prefer notes from their pupils with simple messages like, “You are nice,” or “Thank you.” One told me, “I personally save hand written notes and treasure those sentiments.”

Yet today, teachers receive fewer notes and more trinkets. Items like expensive and trendy Jo Malone scented candles, embroidered key chains, hand lotion with scents so strong they can substitute as smelling salts, tacky stationary (Oh, look! It comes with attached pen. Fancy!), and coffee mugs with impersonal phrases like “You’re awesome!” printed on them.

Would a kid ever select these things?

This year, when picking a gift for your child’s teacher, consider bringing the kid along and let them choose something. Remember that this gift is about the teacher, not you. It’s not about proving you’re cool or down with the struggle or up on the latest trends or cognizant of the hot new gift ideas. It’s about the teacher, and letting her know her efforts are appreciated. If that involves more than just a thank you note or a picture drawn by your kid, here’s a tip: Don’t go overboard.

While a pedicure is a nice gift, a day-at-the-spa is overkill. An exquisite bar of Belgian chocolate is thoughtful and unique; a subscription to the European chocolate-of-the-month club is overkill. A nice bottle of French rose is appropriate; a $300 bottle of small batch Tempranillo from the Sierra Foothills (complete with a boring lecture on how awesome the wine is) is a bit much. You get the point.

This year, I’m going with a Visa gift certificate loaded with $25, which operates like any credit card. To me, that gift conveys the correct message: Go treat yourself. You deserve it. I trust you know what you like.

That leaves me more time to figure out what I’m going to do with my kids for the next three months. Now that’s something worth getting stressed out about.