'Tis the Season for Giving

I'm linking up again today for Unwrapping Classroom Holiday Ideas with Focused on Fifth!

Today's topic is...

You can look at this topic in two ways, the gifts you give your students and the gifts they give each other.  I give my students gifts that they earn based on a classroom behavior incentive that starts right after Thanksgiving.  You can read all about that in a previous post by clicking here.  

So, in this post I'm going to talk about an idea for how your students can exchange gifts with each other.  Many, many moons ago when I first started teaching, I did a traditional gift exchange where each student brought a small gift for another student.  This never really worked out well as some students were inevitably disappointed by what they ended up with.  For many years I didn't do a student gift exchange at all.  Then my buddy across the hall shared a great idea that I did for the first time last year.  

Here's how it works...Somewhere in your classroom, hang a stocking for each of your students.  My friend has each student bring in a stocking from home.  The thought of thirty completely different, mismatched stockings hanging up for weeks makes my palms sweat so a couple years ago I ventured out the day after Christmas and bought thirty matching stockings for half off at Walmart.  I put the names on with large sticky labels so that I can reuse them year after year.

Then I send a note home with the kids telling parents that if they would like they can send in a small gift for each student such as a piece of candy, a sticker, a pencil, etc.  The students can start bringing them in at any time.  When they do, I have them stay with me when the rest of the class goes off to lunch and we secretly fill the stockings!

The students get to empty out their stocking as one of the stations at the holiday party!  They seemed to have a lot fun with this last year, and as you can see, we've already begun filling our stockings this year!  

Be sure to check out all the other holiday gift ideas for the classroom!

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