Reading and writing: Festive fun

Posted on December 11, 2023

The holiday season with all its preparations is the perfect time to enjoy fun activities as a family. At our house, we absolutely love playing outside, watching holiday movies and learning new board games. If you’ve read my previous posts, you may have guessed that I like to slip a little reading and writing into our family fun time.

Greetings in the mail

In my family, technology hasn’t replaced greeting cards. Every December, I love opening my mailbox and finding colourful envelopes filled with cards that decorate my home … and wishes that warm my heart. I love this tradition, and I involve my children in it, hoping they’ll keep it alive. Sometimes they like to make their own cards and send them to their friends; other times, they’ll add a little note in the cards I write to relatives.

It’s also fun to cut out paper stars and write meaningful words on them. From the age of four or five, children can copy out the letters that form the words “peace,” “love” and “joy,” for example. Kids with better dexterity can draw their own festive letters with bright, colourful markers. These garlands fit neatly into envelopes and can be used as cards or to decorate Grandpa’s tree!

Gratitude countdown

The quintessential writing activity at this time of year is preparing a wish list, which some families put in an envelope addressed to the North Pole. What if, in addition to asking for gifts, we thought about the good things that have happened over the past year?

For example, you could stick a large piece of coloured or neutral wrapping paper on the wall. Then on small coloured cards, have each family member write down one thing that has brought them joy during the last year and glue their card to the poster. It’s fun to combine this activity with the daily Advent calendar treat—if that’s part of your traditions.

The literate elf

Does a mischievous little elf show up in your home in December? Are they sometimes lacking imagination when it comes to playing tricks on you? The elf who roams our home at night is a gifted riddler. In the morning, we’ll often find them holding a sheet of paper with a riddle on it: “I drop from the sky far more beautiful than rain. There are no two pieces that’ll even look the same. What am I?”Note 1 Of course, the elf knows how to write riddles that are age appropriate for the children in the house.

Sometimes, the elf uses funny poems to entertain the whole family. For example, one morning, the fruit bowl can be filled with underwear, and the elf can be holding a sheet of paper with a poem about the high jinks of their friend, the Underwear Fairy! There’s also a poem about the Dryer Monster who stole all the fluffy socks. Don’t have an elf? Use a stuffed animal, a doll or a large figurine instead!

The holiday alphabet book

You can find these in bookstores, but it’s so much fun to make one as a family! For a traditional alphabet book, you’ll need a 26-page sketchbook and colouring pencils. You can also use stick-on letters or coloured construction paper for a fancy, artistic alphabet book. The first step is to give each letter of the alphabet its own page, then pair each letter with a word related to winter or the holidays. Your budding graphic artists can then write down the word they choose next to each letter in the colours of their choice, for example, “M  mittens.” Then you can ask them to draw the word they chose or glue on a picture representing it.

The words your artists think of may surprise you; for example, even if the word “match” doesn’t come to mind for you, it may be the first word a child thinks of if they love the story of “The Little Match Girl.” I recommend having some ideas on hand before doing the activity as a family, because some of the letters may require a lot of thought. You could also have some hints ready, such as, “What dessert that starts with a 'c' is Grandma making for Christmas?” This craft could be spread out over a few days and take different forms (posters to decorate the playroom, for example).

With a little imagination and the materials you have on hand, it’s easy to have fun. The magic of the holidays often connects us with the joys of childhood, and it’s time to enjoy them with our loved ones! What activities do you enjoy doing at this time of year? Please feel free to comment and add your ideas to my list.


The opinions expressed in posts and comments published on the Our Languages blog are solely those of the authors and commenters and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Language Portal of Canada.

Get to know Marise Guay

Marise Guay

Marise Guay

After completing a degree in translation, Marise Guay began working as a translator for the Translation Bureau. Later, she became a language analyst, focusing on clear communication and language content creation. She has since taken on a broader range of tasks, which include managing web content, drafting promotional texts and writing social media posts.




Leave a comment

Please consult the “Comments and interaction” section on the Terms and conditions page before adding your comment. The Language Portal of Canada reviews comments before they’re posted. We reserve the right to edit, refuse or remove any question or comment that violates these commenting guidelines.

By submitting a comment, you permanently waive your moral rights, which means that you give the Government of Canada permission to use, reproduce, edit and share your comment royalty-free, in whole or in part, in any manner it chooses. You also confirm that nothing in your comment infringes third party rights (for example, the use of a text from a third party without his or her permission).

Join in the conversation and share your comments!


Comments are displayed in the language they were submitted.

Read comments

Submitted by Nadia Helal on December 27, 2023, at 19:53

Great list of holiday activities! I love educational games, especially outside regular school times/hours.