Secret Santa Letter Ideas: A Christmas Service Learning Activity to Build Classroom Community

Inside: A fun Secret Santa letter-writing activity for your classroom.

Christmas can be such a busy time of year, and sometimes it can be tricky to find time to do the “fun stuff” with your class along with everything else that needs to be done before the holiday break- and getting Christmas shopping done for your own family! But, here is an idea that is pretty easy to integrate into any elementary classroom: Secret Santa Writer’s Workshop!

girl writing a letter -secret santa letter ideas to build your classroom community

(notice: this post contains affiliate links)

This Secret Santa Letter Writing unit is one of my FAVORITE activities I’ve ever created! I want to share with you how I introduce this unit and all the things that are included in it. 

This Christmas writing unit isn’t only a fun way to integrate writing into the curriculum during Christmas time, but also a unit to build classroom community- AND bring in Christmas cheer! Students are assigned their own person to be a “Secret Santa” and will write letters to them from writing prompts throughout the unit. They will also report things they have done to their teacher, in writing.

Introduce Secret Santa Writing Workshop With A Story

For the intro lesson, I read the students a fictional story I wrote. As I read, I have students hold up the pictures to go along with it. 

The story is about a child named Andy who was not being very kind to his classmate, Carl. Santa had written him a letter telling him that since Santa couldn’t be there himself, he needed Andy to be his “Secret Santa” and look after him. Sure enough, Carl and Andy become best buddies and find out they even have some things in common! 

After reading the story, we have a classroom discussion about the things that Andy did to be nice. We discuss how we could apply this story to our own classroom, which leads to introducing the “Secret Santa” unit.

Assign Students A Secret Santa Classmate

I explain that students will draw the name of a classmate, and they will be writing letters and doing kind things for this person for the next couple of days or weeks, depending on how much time we have. I encourage them to do lots of kind things for their classmate during this time. 

I also make the point very clear that students are not to tell anyone who their Secret Santa is, not even their best friend. We don’t want to ruin the surprise! 

I prepare the names ahead of time before going to the classroom. (Name tags are included in the product and have editable text boxes for you to fill in your own students’ names!)

I like to have my students draw the names out of a Santa hat to be extra festive! I have students come up one at a time. I write down their names and who they drew out of that hat to keep a record. (This is an important step because students are sure to forget!)

Start Writing Secret Santa Letters

Once students are all assigned, I give them their first writing prompt. The students are to write a compliment to their Secret Santa. 

I make sure to tell the students NOT to include their own name in the letter, but to sign it as their “Secret Santa”. Students MUST put the name of who it is to, though, so it can be delivered by the teacher.

It is so much fun to read the student’s clever responses! Here are some of the letters from my students:


As you can see, it’s SO much fun! The students will do up to 10 “Secret Santa” letters with writing prompts to their fellow students and up to 4 “Report To Me” writing responses to their teacher. It’s all up to how much you as the teacher want to integrate the unit before the Winter Break! 

In the end, the students will do a super fun “reveal” activity that is included in the Secret Santa Unit! It is all very low prep because everything is provided! Included are:

  • Lesson Plans (4 pages)
  • Secret Santa Story
  • Pictures for Secret Santa Story
  • Name cards with editable text boxes
  • 10 Secret Santa Letter Writing Prompts (to project on board, SMART board, or write on board)
  • 4 Report To Me Writing Prompts (to project on board, SMART board, etc.)
  • 10 Student “Writing Prompt” pages
  • 4 Student “Report to Me” pages
  • Secret Santa Reveal Cards

You can find Secret Santa Writer’s Workshop in my Teachers pay Teachers store or on my website! 

Or you can join Wife Teacher Mommy Club to get access to my FULL LIBRARY of Christmas classroom activities.

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and bring some fun festivities into your classrooms!

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