Letters to Santa - Combining Holiday Magic and Letter Writing Skills

'Tis the season to be jolly! Just watch the eyes of your little learners light up with holiday wonder as you announce to your class: "We're going to write letters to Santa!" A letter-writing activity is a great option for channeling the high energy and excitement of your students during the holiday season. Use a "letters to Santa" activity to teach the proper format of a friendly letter, and to provide your students with the opportunity to hone their writing skills. Here are some fun suggestions for making the most out of this Christmas-themed activity:

Pick up a package of holiday stationery at your local craft store, or consider using the festive Santa letter template on Super Teacher Worksheets to give your students' letters an extra dose of holiday charm.

Include specific requirements in each part of the Santa letter. An example might include: asking Santa about himself (first paragraph), telling Santa about oneself (second paragraph), using kind words to ask for a favorite gift (third paragraph), and expressing words of thanks and appreciation (last paragraph). Laying out specific requirements for the letter will help children remember to use a well-mannered and respectful tone in their writing. This will also help students organize their thoughts.

Request that your students swap letters with a classmate in order to proofread each other's letter. Students can check the structure of the friendly letter (such as the placement of the salutation and closing), as well as the grammar and spelling. Classmates can also see if their partner has included each topical requirement in their letter. You may want to provide a proofread checklist for your students.

Display your students' letters to Santa on a Christmas-themed bulletin board in your classroom. Or consider sending a copy of the children's letters home for their parents to see. Another fun option is to have your students send out the letters in the mail. The U.S. Postal Service has a program in which children who write letters to Santa will get a response, written by a program volunteer. Most local post offices participate in this program. Other postal systems may have similar programs.

Writing letters to Santa provides students with an excellent opportunity to creatively express themselves through the written word. Their contagious enthusiasm during the holiday season, combined with an invaluable lesson on friendly letter-writing, will make this simple classroom activity one that they won't forget for a very, very long time.

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