One of my favorite holiday traditions to do with my students is writing letters to Santa! Keep reading to find out all about how I plan for and execute my holiday writing tradition with my moderate/severe special day class students, and download a free Santa Letter template to use with your own class!
A holiday writing tradition that involves writing and mailing letters to Santa!
My students and their families participate in the Letters to Santa activity. If you have students and families who do not celebrate Christmas, you can modify the Letter to Santa activity. Examples of alternative letter-writing activities could be writing letters to a veteran or someone your students are thankful for.
I start teaching the letter-writing unit after Halloween. After Thanksgiving break, we start our Letter to Santa project. It is planned to be a week-long project for my class.
Mail your letters by December 7 to make sure they arrive at the Anchorage, AK, Postmaster before December 14. If you happen to miss the December 14 timeline, you can still execute the Letters to Santa activity by skipping the mail. Simply return your parent letters to your students!
Written expression is a big focus in my class. Functional life- skills are also a big focus in my class. I always like to create opportunities for my students to practice skills developed in the classroom in real-life, functional settings.
- Plan Your Holiday Writing Activity
Determine how you would like to develop and execute your holiday writing activity. Some questions to ask yourself may be:
- What pre-teaching activities would I need to put together for my students?
- How many levels of differentiation would I need for my students?
- What types of supports would my students need?
- How much time do your students need to learn and complete this activity?
- What types of support would families need?
2. Teach Your Holiday Writing Activity
Let students know that they will be writing a letter to Santa. I like to use smaller writing assignments to help students build their final projects. Below are the five parts I divide the holiday writing activity into:
- Ending and signing off
The length of your activity depends on how fast your students are picking up the skills. Depending on your students’ ability levels, how they access the activity may vary.
3. Mail Your Letter to Santa
- For students’ letters, place in an envelope and address it as follows: Santa Claus, North Pole.
- For parents’ response, place in a second envelope, and address to the student. Put return address as SANTA, NORTH POLE. Don’t forget to affix postage to the envelope.
- Place both letters in a third, larger envelope. Affix appropriate postage, and address each letter to the following address:
NORTH POLE POSTMARK POSTMASTER
4141 POSTMARK DR
ANCHORAGE AK 99530-9998
How I Plan My Holiday Writing Tradition in My Class
I start teaching the letter-writing unit after Halloween. Between November and December, my students have plenty of opportunities to complete smaller writing projects and practice their letter-writing skills.
Depending on my students’ ability levels, they use different letter templates to complete the activity. I love that the free Santa Letter template from Simply Special Ed (linked below) has five different levels for both printable and digital versions! There is bound to be a version that fits your students’ needs!
I also get families involved by having them write a personalized response to their students, as Santa. Families are informed and their participation is solicited at the beginning of our letter-writing unit. This gives them plenty of time to write a personalized response for their student.
For more information
Please visit the official USPS Greetings from Santa webpage here.
You can download your free Santa Letter Template (both digital and printable) by signing up for the SSE email list here. Add your email and you will instantly receive the free download.
If you use this template this year, be sure to tag @Simplyspecialed on Instagram and share so we can see!