Okay let’s get really honest for a second- the month of December is one of the CRAZIEST months of the entire school year. The holiday season is in full swing as Christmas time is approaching and it can sometimes be extra hard for young learners to concentrate.
Adding some Christmas writing ideas into your schedule can actually be a great way to get students to write using their creative juices and imagination while they are excited about the holiday season.
We put together 10 of our favorite Christmas writing activities for upper elementary students for you to check out:
10 Christmas Writing Activities to Try with 3rd, 4th and 5th Grade
Below are a variety of writing activities that will help get your classroom in the holiday spirit while still focused on the academic part of writing. They can be used for creative writing prompts for morning work, journal writing, or whole class lessons during the month of December.
(Disclaimer: You do not need to make these activities Santa-related and we would recommend sending information home to parents asking what holidays are celebrated at home and if it is okay to discuss Christmas in the classroom).
Ready, set, let’s spread some Christmas cheer during writing this year!
1. Create Christmas Wish Lists (of course!)
Okay, obviously this is the perfect time of year for students to create some Christmas wish lists. It’s the perfect writing activity for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders because by these ages they usually have BIG plans of what they want to ask for.
Making Christmas wish lists can be so much fun for kids. It gives them a chance to really use their imagination and also do some research to make their list. You can differentiate this activity by having students type their list on the computer, write complete sentences for their list, or complete an entire paragraph about what they want. Another fun way to add some creativity to this is to have them add pictures of what they want as well. They could print a few, cut them out from a magazine, or draw them.
2. Write about your Family’s Favorite Christmas Tradition
Whether it is creating a gingerbread house together, decorating the Christmas tree or going somewhere special over the holiday break, have students write about their best Christmas tradition. Family traditions are a fun way to let students free write because they are writing about their actual experience so it should come more naturally for them.
Even students who may struggle with putting complete thoughts together should be able to dictate their traditions to you. This will allow you to figure out if sentence writing prompts are needed or let you know how to help them put a complete sentence together.
This activity pairs perfectly with the Christmas paragraph writing graphic organizers.
3. Make a Holiday Card
Another fun way to incorporate writing with your students during the Christmas holiday is to make cards. Creating cards is a fun change from typical writing activities because it allows students to have a little more creativity during the writing block.
Try beginning the lesson by reading the book, “Todd the Frog Spreads the Christmas Cheer.” Discuss how sending holiday cards can help spread cheer to others.
You could have students simply create a Christmas card for a friend or family member. You could even go as far as to adopt a family in need as a class at Christmas and have students make cards for the family.
Another idea is to have students send their Christmas cards to soldiers who are deployed and away from their families during the holidays. All you would need is some card stock or construction paper and you can print some fun Christmas-themed writing paper for students to write on and glue inside. Give them crayons, markers and stickers and encourage them to draw something festive on the front.
4. Create Your Own Christmas Song
Next up is another different type of creative writing idea. Have students think about their favorite Christmas song or Christmas carol. They can use that same melody but change the words to create their own Christmas song or Christmas carol! This becomes really fun for them to think outside of the box and create something that is their own. This is a great writing opportunity because the song could require complete sentences, accurate grammar, and in general just make sense, but it’s a fun change outside of the typical writing a paragraph or an essay.
5. Write down 3 Reasons you KNOW You are NOT on the Naughty List
This one is honestly just meant to be a super fun writing activity with a silly Christmas twist! You might be surprised by how many of your student’s creative writing skills come out during this activity. This one can always be fun to put up on the bulletin board during the month of December. This is also a great way to show students how a good topic sentence is crucial in their writing.
6. Create an Acrostic Poem
Acrostic poems are a unique form of writing where you choose a word and use each letter from that word to start a line or phrase. This type of writing activity sparks creativity and helps expand student’s vocabulary and spelling skills. The fun part about acrostic poems is that the phrases do NOT have to be in complete sentences. What we love about these types of poems is that it gives kids a fun way to work on adjectives and describing words.
Here’s an example of an acrostic poem about Snow:
S: Soft flakes falling
N: Nature’s ice
O: Over fields lays a white blanket
W: Winter is here
Here are some other holiday-themed words that you could have students use for acrostic poems: Christmas, Stocking, Candy Cane, Christmas characters such as the Grinch or Rudolph, holiday, tree, etc.
7. Give Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Make Hot Chocolate
It is the perfect time of the year for hot chocolate! This writing activity is really fun because it should definitely involve the snack that you are writing about! How-to writing is important for kids to learn because it helps them to better understand sequencing. Plus, it increases language skills because kids have to choose words that accurately describe what they are writing about. Sentences also need to be clear and concise so that someone else can follow the instructions.
Together, make hot chocolate in the classroom and list the step-by-step directions on the SMARTboard as you complete each step. Have students use a graphic organizer to write down each step and then use that graphic organizer to write a final copy of a how-to paragraph. Have them take their directions home and see if a family member can follow their steps.
8. Have Students Write about What Their Perfect Christmas Morning Looks Like
Have students write a detailed paragraph or more about their perfect Christmas morning. Really have them focus on story elements for this one! Does it involve candy canes in stockings as they come around the corner? What is the perfect wrapping paper on their Christmas gifts? Do they have lots of little presents or one huge present? Is there a breakfast involved? Do they see Santa Claus himself? It is so much fun to hear their hopes and dreams all written down about a perfect moment.
9. Teach How to Write Holiday Thank You Notes
Teaching students about writing thank-you notes is the perfect addition to your writing lesson plans in December. Understanding how and knowing when to send a thank-you note is actually a pretty important life skill. It is a valuable skill that goes beyond just good manners. By expressing thanks through a note, kids actually learn to communicate their feelings in a clear and polite manner, hence practicing their language and communication skills! Thank you notes are a win-win in our book because they work on gratitude, writing skills, and communication!
Additionally, writing thank-you notes fosters personal responsibility, teaching children to take an active role in acknowledging acts of kindness. This is an important skill to have as they grow older as everyone should understand the importance of acknowledging gratitude.
Check out the Holiday-themed Thank You Cards for a differentiated activity that focuses on thinking about who to write to, generating ideas of what to write, and ending with a complete and punny thank-you card.
10. Opinion Writing Prompts
Opinion writing is good for 2nd-5th graders because it helps them learn to express their thoughts and ideas in a clear and organized way. It also encourages students to consider different perspectives and learn how to respect others’ opinions, even if they’re different from their opinions. Writing opinions also helps improve language and communication skills. It makes kids better readers and thinkers in general. Opinion activities can be a great way to teach kids the concept of brainstorming.
There are tons of fun ideas based around Christmas activities that you can use for opinion writing prompts for upper elementary students:
- Do you prefer real trees or fake trees for Christmas?
- Is giving or receiving gifts more important during Christmas?
- Would you rather make a gingerbread man or a snowman?
- Should schools have a longer winter break?
- Should Santa keep a naughty and nice list?
- In your opinion, what is the perfect Christmas present?
- What’s the fastest way to get to the North Pole?
- If you could buy Santa Claus anything you wanted, what would you buy him and why?