10 Holiday Writing Activities that Aren't Santa Letters

Dear Santa,

All I want for Christmas are some new holiday writing ideas!


A teacher who is bored with Santa letter writing

If you're looking to spice up your holiday season writing program this is the place for you! Read on to get some new or different ideas.
I'm going to just jump right in with the writing ideas:

1. How to make an ornament! I know many of you do Christmas themed art or crafts around this time and many of you make ornaments. Why not have the students write about the procedure they followed to make it? Not only is this a different idea for holiday writing but it might also change up your procedural writing ideas (let's move on from "How to brush your teeth" and "How to make a cheese sandwich".

2. A Christmas List....but for someone else! Okay so this is kind of a Santa letter, but this puts a bit of a different spin on that traditional "Dear Santa, I want...." list writing activity. My students LOVE to write lists, and list writing is an important thing to master (I have to-do lists for EVERYTHING!). One year I had my students write a list for what students in other parts of the world might be hoping for. I let them choose a country and then they had to research the country to get a better understanding of the culture in order to figure out what those kids might ask Santa for if they celebrated Christmas. It was really eye opening for many of them. Many of the lists included things like, "clean water, a pair of shoes, a pencil for school, food".

3. Write about Christmas in a different part of the world. This can be a great non-fiction report writing activity. You can assign different countries to different students or groups of students. They have to research and write about it and then share it with the class.

4. Write about a different celebration altogether and compare it to Christmas. I love this activity because we end up learning so much about other cultures. We make a chart about Christmas together as a class and then students research and write about a different culture.

5. How to Decorate a Christmas Tree! Yes this is another procedural writing idea but my students love it! We always write about how we would decorate a tree and then they get to decorate a paper one.  My students actually do this with their reading buddies. If you're interested you can check out my template for this activity by clicking here.

6. Re-write the story of "The Night Before Christmas" from the perspective of a reindeer. These ones usually turn out really funny!

7. Create a design plan for the ultimate Santa sled. Labeling a diagram is still considered writing. We have to get away from the idea that writing always needs to be a story or a recount or a report. There are so many different forms of writing out there and if we let students have more voice and choice in their writing you will find that those reluctant writers really come out of their shells.

8. Write about your family's Christmas or special Holiday traditions. You might get some interesting writing here about how little Jason puts beer and cookies out for Santa instead of milk and cookies OR how Granny Sue always dresses in an ugly Christmas sweater and sings Christmas carols outside for the neighbors (yes these were real traditions from my students). I also got some great ideas for my own family to use, like spending Christmas Eve or Day volunteering at a soup kitchen. I was so moved by that piece of writing.  The other one was getting the kids to each pick two of their own toys to donate to charity.

9.  Write Christmas cards to soldiers or veterans. Many soldiers don't get to come home for the holidays, and many veterans sit alone in nursing homes. Students can design their own Christmas cards or thank you notes to show their gratitude.

10. Have students respond to this prompt: "Should we stop giving presents at Christmas?". I was expecting a resounding "NO" with follow up sentences of "I want my presents, I can't live without them". Yes there were a few of those but overall most students wrote out extremely thoughtful responses with supporting details for why we should stop or why we shouldn't stop. I was so pleased with the responses and the level of thinking that went into them. Definitely a valuable activity that I will repeat again and again.

I hope you got some new or different ideas for holiday themed writing that you can go back and use with your students! I promise, you won't be disappointed!

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