If you are the kind of person who doesn't like to talk about Christmas until after Thanksgiving, I'm going to need you to look away right about now!!! I used to be like you, but I've changed in my old age, ha!
Really and truly I would never normally start doing anything Christmas-y until after the Thanksgiving break. We do have three whole weeks to enjoy Christmas once we return, so I like to have all that fun during those fifteen days :) BUT, our local paper publishes Santa letters for K-2 students for our entire district. This year the deadline to turn them in is November 21st! They normally at least give us a date in December, but not this year!!! The deadline is entirely too early, but it doesn't really matter because I don't want my class left out. So, today we sat down and got to business! By the end of the day I had 40 Santa letters ready to go (because I get to enjoy this lovely process with two classes!!)
We started pre-writing yesterday... just to get our minds thinking about our Christmas wishes. I used this pre-writing paper that you can pick up here (for free).
The first thing we did today was start writing our rough drafts. I do not EVER mark up writing like this. Santa letters are the ONE and ONLY time that I use a red pen. I know it looks mean and awful, but I have to type all of the letters once they are complete, so I really need minimal mistakes in order for me to get them done quickly!!! Before writing we do discuss the fact that we shouldn't just start begging for presents right off the bat. I always tell my students to butter Santa up before they spat off their wish list :) We normally use this as our format...1. Nice, opening sentence 2. Ask a friendly question 3. Tell what you'd like for Christmas 4. Ask another question 5. Best wishes, closing statement
I have letters of all lengths and sizes when the day is over. Some students write 3-4 pages, while some only write half a page, and I am totally fine with that!
All of my students this year (and most years) celebrate Christmas, so I hardly ever have to worry about kids who can't write letters like this. I do have a few who don't do Santa at their house, so they address their letters to their mom and dads, or whoever does the shopping :) We just keep it on the down-low and don't spoil it for everyone else :) I've even had some students address their letters to God, which is perfectly precious in my book!
The Santa templates are in my Christmas Craze unit. I've done this same letter format for several years and it still seems to work! Now, we can focus on Thanksgiving again... phew! One thing at a time :)