Christmas & Holiday Themed Ideas
The holiday season is such a special time of the year. It is a wonderful time for us to spread the joy, peace and cheer of the season with others. In our schools and places of work, it is also a nice time to connect and share those holiday sentiments through cards, special greetings and gifts. Albeit cliche, it is definitely more of a time for giving than receiving! I encourage you and your students to find ways to reach your school families and communities this holiday season.
Below is a list of holiday outreach ideas for teachers in the general classroom and music programs:
1. Christmas cards - keep it simply by creating your own or, if you have the resources, buy professional cards; have the students sign and include a simple holiday greeting on behalf of your class or program; send to parents, administration, school board and community sponsors or businesses that are important to your work
Feel free to download and use the samples below to save some time. The first is a postcard (4x6") that has a generic Season's Greetings design on the front and can be personalized with a message on the back. The second is holiday letterhead (8.5x11") that can be used as a "card" where all of your students can sign their names.
2. Caroling - if you’re involved with a music program, gather a group of carolers (this can be done with small instrumental ensembles, too) and go around the school or campus to different classes; it is also a great opportunity to drop off a Christmas card to those faculty members
3. Holiday social - yes, it’s okay to take a day to celebrate the holiday season, especially after all of the work preparing and organizing a holiday concert is done, but consider helping your student council, National Honor Society or TRI-M Honor Society students host a special holiday lunch or social for the faculty and staff of your school
4. Gift tree - (this has to be one of my favorites) get your parent association involved with the guidance department to build a list of gifts for children in need from your school district or community; there are many ways to execute this - a literal “gift tree” where families buy specific gifts and return them or just have a collection of money in which a small group of parents/students go out and buy the gifts
5. Clothing drive - similar to the gift tree idea, offer to hold a collection of clothing/winter gear to be able to donate to a local shelter or community mission group; get other programs and clubs involved in your school to expand the reach
If you are looking to be extra creative (and some great fun!) and have the time in your schedule to organize events with your students, the following ideas are a nice way to stop the work for a bit and celebrate the holiday together:
6. Decorations - decorate the stage for the holiday/winter concerts with Christmas trees and lights; I used to organize a poinsettia memorial where families would purchase a plant in advance in honor or memory of a loved one, all of the donations would be listed in the program, the stage looked great with the plants and all those who bought a plant were able to take one home after the concert; students also love to decorate around the classroom or rehearsal spaces, too - let your student leadership organize among the students for a great team effort (maybe even have them offer to go around to other areas of the school, with permission, to decorate?)
7. Gift exchange - this can be done with gifts (I suggest placing a cost ‘cap’ like $5 or $10) or just with cards; it is great activity to have the students focusing on ‘giving’ rather than receiving
We are just beginning the height of the "Christmas card" season. Cards are still a great way to share with those closest to you that you are thinking about them at this joyous time of the year. I am a constant promoter of handwritten letters and cards in today's technologically driven world of communication. It is so satisfying and sincere to write old fashioned notes of congratulations, best wishes or, in this case, holiday greetings.
Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!