young girl in a red christmas sweater and santa hat

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right? But when it comes to the classroom, it can be hard to be of good cheer if there’s been a bit too much jingle-belling. With all the merriment of the holidays, it’s usually accompanied by sugar-filled goodies and treats galore – which is not exactly a gift if you’re the teacher trying to get through a lesson plan.

When students are amped up on holiday candy and cookies, it’s a challenge both for students to remain focused and for teachers to help them stay on track. So how can you make sure your students are engaged and learning, while still enjoying plenty of holiday treats?

How to Holiday in the Classroom Without All the Candy

Though some teachers might say learning is a treat in itself, students may beg to differ, especially during the holidays. One approach that can be a hit for kids and teachers alike is to think outside the box – box of candy, that is – and reframe what we think of as a treat. Here we offer plenty of suggestions for some of the best holiday treats for your students that aren’t candy:

1. “Candy Land”
Always a favorite, any time of year, the classic board game Candy Land is a fun and playful substitute for the sugar-filled variety of a treat. Host a game day in your classroom and borrow a few sets of the game to set up in groups around the room so students can try their luck.

2. Letters to Santa
Designate an afternoon to writing letters to Santa. Set up stations complete with notecards, paper, stickers, pens, crayons and markers so students can carefully craft their wishes with love to be sent off to the North Pole. You can even provide festive holiday-themed pens and surprise students by letting them know the pens are theirs to keep.

3. “Ugly Christmas Sweater” Party
Great for supplying lots of laughs and showing off their creativity, students can bring an extra sweater or sweatshirt to be decorated in the classroom. Shirts can be turned inside out if needed for a blank canvas to create their masterpiece. Simple supplies like pom poms, pipe cleaners, yarn, sequins, craft gems and other embellishments can make for some spectacular results. Hand out awards for “most creative,” “best theme,” “sportiest,” and more and pair them with a pen that’s sure to be on point for the occasion. 

4. Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow
Let it snow – in a snow globe, that is! Students will love the chance to create their very own winter wonderland with handmade snow globes. Easier than it may sound, snow globes can be assembled with just about any spare jar as long as it’s clean, clear and has a lid. Turn the jar upside down and the inside of the lid becomes the base upon which any winter scene can be created by gluing small trinkets to the lid and adding in a pinch of artificial snow and glitter. Once complete, gently shake for instant holiday magic! Extra trinkets or even snow-globe themed pens can make a perfect addition to the treasures kids can take home.

5. Grinch Party
Welcome all your students to Whoville for a day to embrace the season – no candy required! Students can enjoy a relaxed day as you read the Dr. Seuss classic, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” to the entire class, followed by any of the various Grinch movies available. Treats can include popcorn, hot cocoa and a few special Grinch-themed take-home treasures.

Shop Holiday Treats for the Classroom

With the right planning and creativity, there are so many ways to create a “sugar-free” holiday for your students. Although candy and cookies often go hand-in-hand with the holiday season, it doesn’t always have to be about that. To quote Dr. Seuss himself, “What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?“ Shop GEDDES and find dozens of ideas for your classroom, including holiday treats for your students that aren’t candy. Contact us today or request a school supply catalog and learn more about all the options from Raymond Geddes.