The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert and photographs by Per Breiehagen is an amazing book with real photos of the authors’ own daughter Anja! It is a Nordic tale about a little girl who is brave and kind who has a dream of one day helping Santa. One day she decides to set out to look for Santa.
Before she leaves, she helps an old neighbor catch her cat, she decorates her gingerbread house and she sweeps out her sauna. She even finds her a small Christmas tree. Anja send her friends gifts and writes them kind notes to tell them she would visit when she finishes helping Santa.
Anja receives help along the way from a red cardinal bird and a gentle horse.
Finally, Anja hears sleigh bells. It’s a reindeer! She offers the reindeer an apple she has in her pocket. Anja spends a great deal of time in the book skiing. Now the reindeer is too fast so she ends up skiing in the air pulled by the reindeer!
Finally, in a clearing in the snow covered trees, Anja meets Santa! Santa appreciates the kindness and joy she spreads where ever she goes so he thinks she will make a great elf.
Then, he does something so exciting – he asks Anja to drive his sleigh! Anja does and then she drives it back to her home just before Christmas morning. Before he leaves, Santa gives her a very special gift. It’s a magical bell. He tells her to ring it three times if she ever needs help.
Then she wakes up.
Was it all a dream? The last sentence says, “What do you think?”
So of course this is a great writing prompt! I had my students tell me whether they thought it was a true story or not. We wrote in our Mindful Journals: Do you think Santa would let YOU drive the sleigh? Why or why not?
Then, we created this craft as a cute way for students to “ride” on Santa’s sleigh like Anja. You can have your students write specific gifts for family members or like my students, we followed Anja’s lead and wrote positive things we could DO on the gift. We attached the gifts with gift ribbon and tucked them into the sleigh. You can also add a picture of the student inside the sleigh made to look like they were flying the sleigh if you wish. You can print it on red construction paper or on tag board and decorate it. I printed it on red construction paper and the gifts on tag board. Students used glitter for the sleigh and colored the gifts with pencil crayons. They printed the words on with a thin Sharpie.
They sure had fun with this!
Here is a free copy of the printable. I have included one sheet with all for tag board and 2 separate ones if you want to print one on red construction paper and one for the gifts on tag or white. Click on the picture to download.
To further promote the idea of kindness and giving, my students will be using my popular Thoughtful Christmas Writing Prompts for Caring Kids writing activities. Now it is their turn to show how they can be grateful and giving over the holidays. Teachers love how students are given the opportunity to write about something other than gifts at Christmas time. Students love the feel of writing about giving. Topics include: favorite Christmas family memories, what it means to give the “gift of time”, what you could give someone that doesn’t cost money and more.
You can check it out here: