Your students, however, probably have one list. You know, the BIG LIST. Their wish list for Santa. It's probably filled with toys, video games, new clothing, or expensive electronics. Chances are, their lists consist of a combination of all of those things. Their lists ask for more stuff.
But Christmas is more than stuff. Christmas is about giving. Giving time. Giving love. Giving hope. Last Christmas, my co-teacher Jorielle and I really wanted to remind our fifth graders of the meaning of Christmas.
We wanted our inclusion class to write a different kind of list. A grown up Christmas list. We were inspired by Amy Grant's song, Grown-Up Christmas List. We wanted them to look beyond all of the stuff and to think about the real meaning of Christmas.
We had our class listen to the Amy Grant song while reading the lyrics. We discussed the differences between the Christmas lists they are used to writing and the list in the song. And then, we put them to work on their own letters to Santa.
The results were heart-warming and heart-wrenching. Some asked for big things to make the world better. A few students opened our eyes to difficulties in their lives we were unaware of. Each and every letter written was meaningful and powerful. We were able to see into their hearts.
Of course, our students are still going to write their Christmas lists asking for stuff but for a few days, they thought about more than just themselves. They thought about others. They thought about our world.
If your class is still in session before break, you should have your students write their own grown-up Christmas lists. And as you look at all of your lists around you, think about a more meaningful list. What do you wish for? What can you do in the coming year to make your wish list a reality?
If this is an idea you want to implement in your classroom, but you're struggling to find time to throw something together this busy holiday season, I have everything you need already created for you!
I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season filled with joy and love. See you in 2016!