I have a quotation hanging in my living room that says, “A laugh is a smile that bursts.” So, when I started thinking about this blog hop and what to share, that message came to mind. What does it take to bring on a smile this holiday season… and one that is so genuine and joyful that it bursts into a full-blown laugh? I guess that answer really depends on the person, but I think joy comes in many forms and fashions. In this blog hop, Lauralee Moss and I and several other secondary bloggers want to bring as many smiles to your face — and the people around you — as possible… whatever form or fashion those might be. Below I’m sharing ways that I try to bring those smiles to others’ faces at Christmas!
1) On Sundays I am blessed to teach the 5 and 6 year olds at kids’ church. For the past few years, we have put on a little Christmas play with them. It’s not anything too big, but the kids enjoy singing and dancing. It’s never easy prompting 20 kids (Who am I kidding? It’s like herding cats!) into performing for a live audience, but they always seem to pull it off… minus a few wondering sheep or a couple of fighting cows! The parents and grandparents love it, and last year one person even accepted Christ! Wish me luck this year… I am tackling “The Night Before Christmas” rewritten to tell the Bible story of Jesus’s birth!
2) Keeping the Christmas story at the center of everything I do at this time of year is really important to me, because the meaning of the season is about the one and only gift that can bring true joy – JESUS. Below I’m teaching my kids’ church kiddos from the Christmas Bible unit I wrote to share the true meaning with them.
3) In the hustle and bustle of everything Christmas, it’s so easy to forget the most simple joys. There’s just something about Christmas lights that bring a smile to a child’s face — and mine, too, if I’m being honest! We always try to squeeze in a trip to see a display of lights with my two nieces. A couple years ago, we visited the beautiful Rock City in Chattanooga. My two nieces were captivated with the lights the entire time, and they got to visit with Santa and write him a letter!
4) Getting a laugh out of a teenager – in class, especially – is no easy task. However, they can’t resist a chuckle at a couple of Christmas movie classics. Each year, I find time for at least one Christmas movie after state testing. My absolute favorite Christmas movie is Home Alone 2: Lost in New York. Included with this FREE movie guide is a real-world service project to send letters and toys to a children’s hospital. For the older kids, I also love the movie Christmas with the Kranks based on Grisham’s novel Skipping Christmas. To get clearance to show these Christmas comedies, I’ve whipped up easy movie viewing guides! You can get them by clicking on the links below.
5) Last, but not least, is the joy of giving. Teenagers aren’t necessarily going to go seeking out opportunities to give back to others – at Christmas or anytime of the year for that matter. They just aren’t wired that way. However, I’ve found that with some gentle nudging and with their own planning, they do eventually buy in to the idea of giving back. One way I foster that spirit and experience in my English classroom is through texts that lead to real-world service projects. Operation Christmas Child is one project that I’ve participated in since I was a child, so it’s close to my heart. Several years ago, I developed a poetry and nonfiction lesson that ties in with OCC, and it really teaches students to look beyond their own world – literally. It brings so much joy to their lives and the lives of many other children around the world.
Follow the blog hop below to laugh your way through the holiday season! And… a couple of reminders: Enter to win the gift cards below and shop TpT’s Cyber Sale Nov 28-29!