Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, and many teachers like to decorate their classrooms in fun Christmas decor to celebrate. Here are some decoration ideas to help transform your classroom into a holiday wonderland.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer for Preschoolers
Christmas is especially fun for preschool-age children. There are so many ways you can celebrate this special time of year. Rudolph is everyone's favorite reindeer and is a fun theme for your classroom decor.
Whether you need to decorate the reading nook or want to incorporate the decorations into your lesson plans, these Rudolph ideas sure are bright!
- Christmas alphabet - Teach children their letter sounds by creating some Christmas themed letter cards. Select and create certain letters or the whole alphabet. Use "A is for Angel or Apple (Reindeer snack)" and of course, "R is for Rudolph" on through Z.
- Reading area cushions - Replace the pillows or cushions of your reading area with red bean bags or large pillows. Add a couple of these festive Rudolph pillows for the kids to cuddle up with or even a couple of stuffed reindeers.
- New book additions - Temporarily replace some of the books in your bookshelf with some new Christmas themed books, like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Use the books as part of your décor by setting them upright on the top of your shelf.
- Hands and feet reindeer - Help teach children about their anatomy by creating these cute reindeer. Trace their feet on brown paper to create the reindeer's face and hands to create the antlers. Add google eyes and a red pompom for the nose. Use these cute cutouts to decorate windows or a bulletin board.
- Count the reindeer - Decorate your math center with Santa's reindeer. Add sticker numbers to these cute reindeer cutouts and add them to your wall. These can be used to as number reminders when teaching the children to count.
Additional Christmas Class Decoration Ideas
Round out your themed classroom with a few more easy décor additions:
- Christmas blocks - Use simple wooden alphabet blocks to write "Merry Christmas" or another holiday message. You likely have these blocks in your classroom, but if you don't, they can be purchased at some dollar stores and big block stores.
- Rudolph door decorations - Turn your classroom door into the face of Rudolph. If your door is not brown already, wrap it in brown craft paper. Cut two white circles for eyes. Add a black circle into the center for a more authentic look. You can also use these large google eyes. Make a large red yarn pom pom to use as the nose and cut antlers out of cardboard to attach to the two sides of the door.
- Red string lights - Use several strings or red Christmas lights to help decorate the room. String them around windows and doors, the chalkboard or bulletin boards or simply hang from the ceiling.
- Standing Rudolph - For just under $40, you can add this 26 inch tall Rudolph to your room decor. If budget is an issue, simply draw a Rudolph onto large white paper, paint it and attach it to the wall.
Santa's Elementary Workshop
Elementary school-aged children are still young enough to appreciate the magic of the season. Every child dreams of visiting Santa's Workshop. Bring the workshop to them, by decorating your classroom to mimic the hustle and bustle of Toy Central.
Put up decorations that are specific to your classroom, whether you plan to incorporate them into a lesson plan or they fit into a particular class area.
- Grammar stockings - Help teach prefixes, root words and suffixes using stockings. Hang three stockings on a faux fireplace or cardboard cutout image of a fireplace. Label one (by using glitter glue or paint) as "Prefixes," another as "Root Words" and the final stocking as "Suffixes." Then write some prefixes, root words and suffixes on index cards and put them in the appropriate stockings. Use the stockings as an English activity, where students take turn choosing a root word and adding a prefix or suffix to them.
- Paper chain art or math project - Have the children create a simple paper chain using red and white paper, to represent the north pole. The project is simple and can be done by kindergarten children (have them draw a gift idea on each link), but is also enjoyed by older children by turning it into a math lesson. For instance, hand older students a piece of red construction paper and ask them to create the longest chain they can out of the paper given, using their math skills to cut the paper into even pieces. Then use these chains to decorate your room.
- North Pole animals - Arctic animals include Santa's reindeers, cuddly polar bears, fuzzy Arctic foxes, and cute snowy owls. Use these animals in your décor as well as in a lesson about the animals. Raid your personal stuffed animal collections for these items and use them on tables or shelves. Or consider teaching children about endangered animals by "Adopting a Polar Bear" for $55 through WWF (World Wildlife Foundation). Once you have adopted the bear, you will be sent a cuddly stuffed polar to use in your décor.
More Themed Décor
Include additional decorations to help turn the room into a magical workshop.
- Santa book stack - No workshop is complete without Santa himself. Create a cute Santa for your reading area out of books. Stack about ten chapter books and put a Santa hat on the top. Create the beard by simply wrapping a white scarf around the stack and add lips cut from red felt. You can also use a pair of glasses (readers can be found at the dollar store) and a tie.
- Elves - Elves are also a mainstay in Santa's Workshop, so don't forget to add them to your decor. This cute, musical elf is the perfect addition to any workshop. He can greet your students at the door or stand on your desk.
- Toys - Fill the room with large teddy bears, red wagons and other toys. Your room will probably be filled with toys already, but think of the joy on the students' faces when they see new toys to play with. A trip to a thrift store can yield all the toys you could possibly want at an affordable price.
- Candy-striped North Pole - Create a "North Pole" to put on your classroom globe. A craft stick that is painted white with a red ribbon wrapped around it would work fine. Simply add a paper "North Pole" sign to the stick and use clay to attach it to the globe.
- Fireplace - Santa's workshop wouldn't be complete without a roaring fire for Santa to warm-up by after he returns from delivering the gifts. Create this scene by wrapping several large boxes in brick paper and creating the fireplace shape.
A Middle School Winter Wonderland
Everyone loves a winter wonderland! This theme is the perfect theme if you have students of different faiths and religions and some who might not celebrate a traditional Christmas. Winter wonderland dance themes are common, but you can utilize the idea for the classroom as well.
Decorate the room so the winter wonderland flows seamlessly into the class's lessons. Kids will be learning while they create decorations for their room.
- Periodic table wreath - Buy a beautiful live or artificial wreath to hang in your classroom. Adorn it with white lights or white bows or ornaments to make a more festive look. Use decorative writing to create cards that show the elements of the periodic table. Attach these cards to the wreath and hang it in your science area.
- Ugly Christmas sweater plot - Ugly Christmas sweaters are necessary to keep you warm on icy winter days. Use an ugly Christmas sweater plotting lesson for your math class. It only costs $2.00 for an instant digital download. You can then hang the results to decorate the walls of your room.
- Branched out writing prompts - Winter is the perfect time to find bare tree branches just laying loose in your yard. Gather them up, paint them white (and add glitter if you want) to create fun decor. Once they have been painted, simply put the bases into buckets of sand to keep them upright. You can use these "trees" to display Christmas images (fronts of Christmas cards) which can be used as writing prompts for your middle school students.
- Paper snowflake math lesson - Ask students to help create paper snowflakes to use in your decor. These pretty snowflakes can be used in a math lesson. After they are completed, you can tape the paper snowflakes to walls or windows or hang them from the ceiling with string.
- Tissue paper pom-pom molecules - Make white tissue paper pompoms, in various sizes. They will resemble snow balls. Hand students the poms poms and straws and ask them to create various molecule models using the materials. Hang the pompoms from the ceiling with string when not in use.
More Festive Options
More festive touches can be added throughout the classroom by using these ideas:
- Christmas tree bookshelves - Rearrange your classroom bookshelves until they are in the shape of a Christmas tree. You can use all your books or can choose to use only those with a certain colored cover, such as those with a white jacket or those with green. If possible, fill the shelves with Christmas themed books. You can also put ornaments on the shelves for decoration and consider putting a star on top.
- Twinkle lights - Small white twinkle lights are the perfect way to decorate a winter wonderland. Use the lights on Christmas trees or to decorate the frames of windows.
- Paper icicles - Cut paper into icicle shapes and hang them on the tops of doors (so the icicles hang into the opening) on the tops of windows or on bulletin boards.
Celebrate The Nutcracker Suite With High Schoolers
The famous ballet is a beautiful, old-fashioned tale of a girl who receives a magic nutcracker for Christmas. He comes to life and the adventures begin. It is a sophisticated theme that older students will likely embrace.
Decorations by Subject
Decorate throughout the classroom using The Nutcracker Suite as your inspiration. Make the theme specific to the classroom's subject, whether music, art, geography, or creative writing.
- Tchaikovsky music corner - The music of the famous composer, Tchaikovsky, is used in the famous Nutcracker ballet. Create a corner filled with images and instruments celebrating his fine works.
- Ballet dancer art silhouettes - Create and cut ballet dancer silhouettes from paper. Then hand these shapes to students who can then write their favorite passage or passages from The Nutcracker and the Mouse King, the story written in 1816 by German author E. T. A. Hoffmann, from which the ballet was adapted.
- Nutcracker world geography map - The ballet features Spanish, Arabian, Chinese, Russian and Danish dances. The story was written by a Russian author and the composer was also Russian. Use Christmas pins (preferably shaped like nutcrackers) to indicate all of these areas on a world map.
- Nutcracker creative writing option and poster - Ask students to write an alternative ending to the famous story. After they have written their tale, ask them to create a poster to advertise the movie version of their story. These posters can then be hung around the classroom.
Add Finishing Touches
Select a few additional items to add to the decorations to complete the theme, regardless of what class you teach.
- Cluster of nutcrackers - Gather nutcrackers from your own collection or from parents to set on tables or on shelves to help decorate the room.
- Photo booth - Encourage your students to bond with their classmates and develop friendships by providing a fun photo booth. Purchase some printable Nutcracker photo booth props. This photo booth may just create exciting images for the school year book.
- Tin soldier door - Tin soldiers fight against the Mouse King in the story and you can help retell this tale by turning your door into a tin soldier. Simply hang this cardboard cutout onto your classroom door.
- Russian Nesting dolls - Display colorful and intricately painted Russian nesting dolls, also known as matryoshka dolls, to celebrate the ethnic background of both the author and composer of the original story and ballet.
Don't discount the visual power of traditional and general decorations. A Christmas tree, wreath, wrapped gifts, stockings and bows all have a place in nearly all Christmas related themes. You can also use the chalkboard to write messages like "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Holidays" or to draw images that match your theme. Wrap the chalkboard with colored or white Christmas lights for a more festive look.