Christmas obviously isn’t all about presents and toys and some people decide not to ‘do Santa’ at all, but the question, “What do you want for Christmas?” is one that most children will be asked around this time of year, so it is a great opportunity to practice drawing, writing and talking about what children like and don’t like.
Writing a letter to Father Christmas is a great activity for Toddlers and older children alike. A toddler/younger child does not have to be able to write at all to make their letter, they can just draw pictures of what they would like, so it is a great activity for all ages.
You can go into the magic, naughty/nice and so on, aspects of Father Christmas as much or as little as you like. Personally we don’t do the whole naughty/nice ‘Santa is watching you’ thing, we keep it simple, FC will bring them presents because he brings all boys&girls presents at Christmas and they can write him a letter to tell him what they would like.
Last year my eldest daughter was 3 and we did her first letter (see a video of it here) which was mostly pictures with an attempt at writing her name. But I think my youngest will start earlier as she has her big sister to watch and we will do it all together, so really any age can enjoy this activity.
6m to 2 years
At this age range children can still get involved by making marks on their letter with pens, adding stickers, glueing&sticking and at the older end of this age range conversations about likes and dislikes are really good as well as learning about giving gifts.
2 – 4 years
Children can draw pictures of what they would like, begin to learn to write their name, trace over adults writing (use dots), copy words from a word mat* and dictate to adults/older children what they would like to write. You can also help children in this age range begin the process of learning to read, by writing simple repetitive sentences out for them (eg. I like dolls. I like trains. I like cars.)
My daughter is now 4 and her writing is really coming along, she loves to write independently and has begun to sound out words too. Children of this age can really begin learning to write, by copying words from a word mat*, writing their name and starting to learn about sentence structure using simple sentences.
*Creating a Word Mat – a page of common words that relate to the activity, along with some drawings/pictures of the words, is a really useful way to help children learn to read and write. To create a Word Mat, get an A4 piece of paper and write down common words along with some small drawings if appropriate. See my Christmas Word Mat here –
Talking about what children would like and limiting them (we have a 2 under the tree presents from FC rule in our house) to a specific number of gifts are both really good learning opportunities too. It is good for children to understand that they can only have a certain number of gifts and the reasons behind that and also that they can’t keep changing their minds, once they have written their letter and sent it, that is what they will be getting.
All children seem to love posting things (even posting small toys into places they don’t belong!) so this activity is also a fun way to talk about Postboxes, Postmen, stamps etc too.
When it comes to actually posting the letter to FC last year I put my parents address on it as my daughter couldn’t read so wasn’t any the wiser and I wanted to keep the letter 😉 but a quick google online will give you various addresses you can post them to which will give a reply letter too.
Such as the Royal mail address: Santa/Father Christmas, Santa’s Grotto, Reindeerland, XM4 5HQ
Do your children write letters to Santa/Father Christmas? Let me know in the comments.