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A Letter to Santa Claus

To remember the importance of thinking of others at Christmastime.

by The Revd Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To remember the importance of thinking of others at Christmastime.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need: an OHT of the letter to Santa Claus.
  • A child or group of children could act as readers (optional).

Assembly

  1. Ask the children if they have ever written a letter to Santa Claus (perhaps when they were younger). What did they say? Where did they post their letter? Do they think he got their message? You will need a reply ready for differing beliefs, since every year someone gets in the newspapers for suggesting, in a school assembly, that Father Christmas isn’t real! If a child says that they don’t believe in him you could answer by saying that everyone’s entitled to their views but you’re here today to tell them about a very special letter to Santa Claus and that’s what you’re going to concentrate on.
  2. Explain that when most houses had real, open fires, parents would help their children post letters up the chimney! They were carried upwards by the draught from below. Introduce a piece of news from The Times newspaper on Christmas Eve 1996.

    'A letter that Santa Claus never received has fluttered down the chimney of a cottage 85 years after it was 'posted' there by nine-year-old Mabel Higgs. On the 8th December 1911, she pushed her beautifully composed request, on four pages of an exercise book, up the flue in her bedroom. There it remained hidden, among the gathering dust and falling sticks from jackdaws’ nests, singed by a hot cinder in one place, but otherwise intact. The letter came to light when the chimney was cleaned 85 years later!'

    Display a transcript of the letter, which reads:
    Dear Santa Claus,
    Last year you brought me many nice presents and I think you were very kind indeed. I expect you would like to know what I should like you to bring me this year. Well, I should like you to bring me a storybook, a postcard album, and a box of chocolates. We have a little baby and we would like you to bring her a rattle that will blow. I hope you will remember the very poor children in the slums and large towns. I might stay awake for some time to see you come in our bedroom to put the things in my stocking the night you come. Our house is on the common.
    With much love, I remain your little friend, Mabel.
  3. Review the letter and invite the children to identify any words which they find difficult to understand. Ask them what they think about its style and content. Reflect that compared with today the presents Mabel asked for were very simple. She also thought of others besides herself.
  4. Conclude by suggesting that this is the true spirit of Christmas. Who might be remembered in this year’s letters to Santa? What might be requested for them? Mabel remembered children living in very poor housing, without the things that she enjoyed. Refer to a local Christmas appeal, to the work of Crisis at Christmas or Christian Aid. Sometimes we can help Santa to deliver Christmas gifts!

Time for reflection

Voice 1: Last year you brought me many nice presents and I think you are very kind indeed.
Voice 2: We have a little baby.
Voice 3: I hope you will remember the very poor children.
Voice 4: Loving God,
Help us to think of others,
and fill our celebration of Christmas
with your gift of kindness.
Amen.

For a reflection only version, change Voice 4 to:
Voice 4: Let us think of others,
and fill our celebration of Christmas
with gifts of kindness.

Song/music

'As I went riding by' (Come and Praise, 120)

Publication date: December 2004   (Vol.6 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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