20131124-233909.jpgThis image is taken from my book Cookies & Milk:  A Christmas Story.  It’s one of my favourite images from the book, as it reminds me of how Christmas can be a perfect time to promote reading and writing with your children.

Little is known on the Christmas tradition of writing a letter to Santa, but it is believed it started around the late 1800’s.  Young children would write about all their good deeds, questions to Santa, Mrs. Claus, the reindeer, and the elves, and what gifts they wished to find under the tree on Christmas day.

With our 3 and 5-yr olds,  this was their first letter to Santa.  They were really excited about the activity of writing the letter.  One Sunday afternoon, we sat down with them, ready to help them write it if needed, otherwise just encouraging them, giving them ideas on how to start and what to write, and generally making sure the activity was an enjoyable and frustration-free one.  When the letters were complete, we asked them if they could read it to make sure nothing was left out.

When the letters were ready to ‘post’, we gave them the opportunity to address the envelope to Santa, and asked them to read the envelope to make sure it was destined for the North Pole.  Lastly, we let them put the finishing touch by placing their letters inside their envelopes.

The aim is to make this an activity that is fun, enjoyable, and rewarding for the child, such that the reading and writing feels like it’s merely part of the overall experience.  Plus, it’s also great for the parents too, as you witness some rather precious and/or amusing writing from your children.

Hang onto the letters and they will serve as keepsakes and memories of an endearing childhood, or things to embarrass the child with when he/she is older, or perhaps even a bit of both.