Christmas in the classroom has been on my mind a lot this year. In the past I have tried to focus on gratitude but I still brought Christmas in through French units or class field trips and activities or class gift exchanges. With all the recent events in this world, I have been trying to really think through all my intentions in the classroom – What is making the world a better place? What is not? This year I have decided to not do any Christmas celebrations or curriculum in the classroom. We will still be doing celebrations of other kinds and having fun events but it won’t be about Christmas.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas! At my place, we have an annual costume Christmas party and I can’t wait to cozy up by the fire, watch my favourite movies, listen to Christmas music, go see the lights, etc. It’s my favourite holiday and I get so excited when it’s finally December!

But I won’t be bringing it into the classroom.

Why?

1. Most importantly, if there is even one student in my classroom who doesn’t celebrate Christmas then talking about Christmas is isolating and non-inclusive – the opposite of what I feel the world needs right now.

2. The things that I love about Christmas are family time, and the focus on peace and love. All of this can be focused on through other means.

3. Christmas is EVERYWHERE and students are already getting a lot of it regardless of what they believe or celebrate. Maybe the classroom can be one of the few places where they get a reprieve from it if they need a break.

4. It’s not about me. Every time I’ve had a little thought about “just a small” Christmas activity I try to remind myself that I’m looking at the big picture through my own worldview and that’s not what teaching is about.

5. My secret hope: Maybe focusing on peace, love and compassion without a connection to a holiday or an event will help students internalize the concept more? We talk about it because it is important not because it’s a holiday.

I’m not writing about this with any judgement or expectations on what other people do in their own classrooms. I’m writing with the hope that we will all work to be intentional with our actions in the classroom. I hope that we will all be inclusive in real, honest and open ways – not just superficially mentioning another holiday in the middle of a “Christmas-centric” week.

Here are some of the things I’m doing instead:

  • Gratitude Chain (link here)
  • Mini-Unit on “Last Stop on Market Street” focusing on compassion
  • Pajama Day “Read In” (bring blankets, pillows, etc. to make forts for reading)
  • Movie field trip (we will be watching Totoro)
  • Minute to Win It Games 
  • Kahoot!

Let’s spread peace and love in whatever ways we can!

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Photo Credit: Juniqe

Meaghan