The weeks leading up to the holidays are stressful for teachers. Parent-teacher conferences are draining, and we all know the kids are in rare form this time of year. Why not do something to boost teacher morale at your school? Here are 5 ideas for fun holiday activities.
The beginning of December is the perfect time to start a morale-boosting holiday activity. Everyone will be excited about it, and it will help the weeks before holiday break go so much faster.
5 Ways to Boost Teacher Morale This Holiday Season
#1 – A Holiday Cookie Exchange
A holiday cookie exchange is a great way to bond with other teachers at your school and reduce some of the holiday stress. You only have to make one type of cookie, and you leave with a variety of flavors to serve at your holiday parties.
All you have to do is send an email to the staff at your school and ask who is interested in participating in the cookie exchange. Then, have everyone sign up for the type of cookie they will make. The easiest way to do this is to create a Google Sheet. That way, everyone can see what types of cookies are already being made, and you won’t get duplicates.
If you want to take your holiday cookie exchange one step further, have everyone type their cookie recipe. Make copies for everyone, and put together a little holiday cookie recipe book that everyone can take home.
My personal favorite holiday cookie to bring to a cookie exchange is the linzer tart. They are beautiful and delicious!
Click to get the recipe.
#2 – Secret Santa
Another fun holiday activity is Secret Santa. Who doesn’t like getting little surprise treats?
To set up for Secret Santa, send an email to the teachers at your building asking who would like to participate. Then, put all of those names into a bag or hat. Each person chooses a name and buys that person some gifts without revealing who they are. Just make sure no one picks their own name.
To make Secret Santa fair, you might want to set a number of gifts and a dollar amount to be spent. We usually do a small gift (around $5) each week in December and then a larger gift (around $10) for the Secret Santa reveal.
Secret Santa will really boost your building morale, since giving the gifts makes you feel good, and finding little surprises is always fun. It’s also exciting when you try to use clues to figure out who your Secret Santa is!
At the end of the month, set up a little party where everyone comes with one last gift for their person. Reveal who the Secret Santas are and exchange those gifts. We usually do this at our holiday breakfast, which is my next morale-boosting idea.
#3 – A Holiday Breakfast
How often is the whole staff of your building in one room? At my school that only happens on professional development days and at faculty meetings, and those usually aren’t much fun. Each year, we plan a holiday breakfast to get everyone together and to have some fun.
There are a couple of options for how to organize your holiday breakfast. One possibility is to create a sign-up sheet and have each member of the faculty sign up to bring something. This always provides a lot of different food items for the breakfast. However, everyone has to wake up at the crack of dawn to bake or cook a casserole.
The other option, and what my school has done for the past few years, is to order a breakfast spread from a local restaurant. Each person gives $5, and we place an order for the food we want. This way, only one or two people have to get up early to pick up the food. Last year, we were actually lucky enough to order from a place that delivered!
At my husband’s school, the men at the building cook all the food for the women. He goes to school around 5:30 to begin preparations. Each man is on a different station. Tony always does the hash browns. The men at your building may not appreciate this suggestion, but it’s been happening at his building since he started there.
No matter how you decide to organize your holiday breakfast, it will provide a great opportunity for everyone to socialize and have some fun together. What a great way to start the holiday break!
#4 – You’ve Been Mugged
The one problem that we’ve run into with Secret Santa is that everyone doesn’t want to participate. “You’ve Been Mugged” solves that problem, because everyone participates.
Start by finding a cute holiday mug. You probably have 20 of them laying around from previous gifts from students. Put some little treats in the mug. Here are some ideas:
- Nail Polish
- Sticky Notes
Once you’ve filled the mug, secretly leave it in another teacher’s room with a direction sheet telling her that the goodies in the mug are for her. She should then fill the mug with other treats for another teacher and put it in that person’s classroom. Once teachers receive a mug of goodies, they hang a sign that says “I’ve Been Mugged” on their door. That way, the same person won’t get the mug more than once.
Download my “You’ve Been Mugged” Holiday Edition Freebie!
#5 – White Elephant Gift Exchange
A white elephant gift exchange is another fun holiday activity. Have everyone buy a small gift and wrap it. Traditionally, you would give each person a number, and they would choose gifts in that order. Each person is able to keep the gift they choose or take someone else’s gift.
However, I recently found a version I like even better. It’s just like the dice rolling games I give my students at their centers. You roll a die and the number you roll tells you what to do with your gift. Check it out at Play, Party, Plan. I can’t wait to try it this year!
One other annual holiday tradition is my holiday tea party. I hold it every year for my closest teacher friends. They look forward to it every year, and it’s a great way to bond outside of the school building.
Find out how to plan your own holiday tea party.
On Your Way to a Happier Staff. . .
Organizing one or two of these holiday activities is sure to boost teacher morale at your school. Having a little fun is a great way to reduce some of the stress that comes along with teaching. Which activity will you choose?
What Do You Think?
What is your favorite activity to boost teacher morale?
Let me know in the comments below.