Writing letters to Santa is a long standing tradition in many places around the world.
It is a lot of fun and has many benefits for children, but it can also be a family event that is lots of fun.
Writing letters as a family
So how can you make it a family activity?
Basically, you just have to make the time to sit down together and write letters to Santa. But to get you moving, here are a few tips…
- make a date and time to do this so it will happen. if you make a date like ‘the first Saturday in December’ or ‘the third Friday in November’ it is easier to become a tradition that will last for years with little effort.
- get things set up first – have paper, pencils, textas, crayons and even special things like glitter and stickers. Spread them out on a table, turn on some Christmas or other loved music, and maybe have a yummy snack on hand so the letter writing time can be truly dedicated to being creative.
- let everyone ‘write’ their own letter. For very young children, you may write the actual words, but let them draw and write on the letter as well, and make sure they tell you what to write rather than deciding what to write for them.
- have a rule that nobody has to share their letter as they write, although encouraging sharing the finished letters can lead to some lovely times together. If someone (usually an older child) wants to keep secrets, maybe they can just read out part of what they have written instead.
- let everyone be creative – kids can draw pictures and decorate the letter, anyone can use different coloured pens/pencils for each sentence or even each word, and so on. This is for Santa, not a bank manager or lawyer, so make the letter beautiful!
- remember to include something nice for Santa in the letter, it shouldn’t just be a list of gifts you want…
- have everyone write a letter, not just the kids. Parents can have fun, too, and it may help tip kids towards gifts you want instead of another pair of socks!
Lessons to be learned
Writing Santa letters together has a number of advantages, including kids learning some useful lessons such as
- how to structure a letter!
- why it is nice to write letters and how people enjoy receiving letters. And in modern times, a letter takes more effort than an email or text so receiving a letter is even more valuable so it is a social gift to be able to write letters.
- practice writing, spelling and using grammar/punctuation.
- thinking about other members of the family – want they may want, what they think is important to tell Santa, and how they use their creativity
- using good manners (eg “Santa can I please have…” rather than “I want …”)
- Christmas and Santa – it is a great time to chat about what these things are and how your family celebrates them, and to answer any questions your children may have at that time of year.
- how to address and envelope and mail it – unless you leave the letters under the tree or in stockings instead of course!
- how to relax, have fun and enjoy tradition and magical moments. Remember the kids are given facts and goals all year so it is nice to have some magical and imaginative time, too (as stated by Michael Grose).
- having traditions like this help connect the family and set some rhythms that give kids certainty and security over time.