Every time I turned the news on this weekend I found myself in tears. Hearing about the tragic events at Sandy Hook left me shocked, horrified, and drained of my usual enthusiasm. I still can’t quite muster my thoughts and feelings about Friday’s attack so I am not even going to try. I will simply say that my stomach churned as I walked into my classroom this morning. But my only choice was to swallow the bitter taste in my mouth, put on a happy face and be the loving teacher that my kindergarten students deserve. It’s strange to share joyous things with you when our country has been rocked yet again by senseless violence, but Christmas is only 8 days away and my 14 precious kinders are in need of a magical Christmas this year more than ever.
So, if you’re overwhelmed, unmotivated and facing a holiday to-do list that’s a mile long, here are a few simple tips and tricks from my classroom to help you create a fun Christmas experience for you students (while saving you a little time and energy).
Each year I give my students a book as a Christmas gift. I LOVE Scholastic book orders because they always offer a few books for $1 each during the holidays. Earlier this month, my class went on a field trip to see If You Give a Mouse a Cookie performed at a local venue by Theatreworks USA. (If you’re not already familiar with this wonderful company-you should definitely look into it. They perform musical adaptations of several popular children’s books in each hour-long performance.) Anyways, I was THRILLED to open my Scholastic book orders and see that If You Give a Mouse a Cookie was one of the $1 books this month. I use book orders in my classroom regularly, so I was able to get a copy for each student using only my bonus points.
I wanted the gift to be special for my students but I did NOT have time to gift wrap, so I quickly printed a cute label for the inside of each book and I purchased blouse boxes for the gift wrap (you can buy them at the dollar store in packs of 3 and they are surprisingly adorable!) Ten minutes later, my gifts were labeled, wrapped and ready to go. I can’t wait to see my students’ faces when they open their gifts!
Last week I showed you the adorable watercolor Christmas trees my students painted as gifts for their parents. Their lovely framed masterpieces also needed to be wrapped and I didn’t have time to wrap those gifts either. Out came the dollar store gift boxes (larger boxes are also sold in 3-packs). With the addition of a personalized label (Merry Christmas Dad! Love _____), these were also quickly wrapped and ready to go. I let my students select the box for their parents and they loved being a part of the wrapping process.
Here is one of the paintings (in case you missed it the first time). I know many of you are VERY curious to see what my students’ second gift is- I promise to share that gift with you later this week.
If you’re behind in your holiday party planning, don’t fret… I have a fun way to engage your students in a festive way and review information. Play Christmas BINGO! Turn any Bingo game into instant holiday fun by getting creative with your Bingo markers. I always use holiday M&Ms to play Bingo at my classroom party.
The tragic events at Sandy Hook have left an impression on the hearts and minds of every teacher and parent. This will be a difficult week to put on a happy face each day at school, but all children are deserving of Christmas magic. Let’s make this Christmas one they will never forget (for all of the right reasons.)
Find More Christmas Fun
Looking for more festive holiday fun? Be sure to check out these blogs posts. They are filled with fun and exciting ideas and moments from my classroom to help get you in the Christmas spirit.