Christmas has exploded in my classroom. It all started with my purchasing a marshmallow peppermint wax melt and once my seventh-graders felt the room needed more cheer, the paper crafting began.
From tinsel to garlands, the room is covered from top to bottom in Christmas decorations.
These sweet seventh-graders have decided to challenge another class to an “Elf off” to see who can make their classroom look more like the mall scene from the movie Elf.
For those that haven’t seen it, the main character Buddy gets trapped in the mall all night.
In an effort to prepare for Santa, he “decorates.”
He creates paper snowflakes, garlands, and a very impressive New York skyline made from Legos.
My students have channeled their inner elf and now my walls are covered with paper gingerbread men, snow globes, ornaments, and even a ceiling height naughty and nice list.
The JV cheerleaders performed a few terrifying stunts to get the garlands and snowflakes hanging from the ceilings but no one was injured in the name of Christmas cheer.
Through this competition I’ve had the opportunity to both learn and teach a few things.
Number one: Christmas cheer and decorations cost nothing. With a few crayons and some paper these kiddos decorated the entire classroom and spent little to no money.
Number two: Friendly competition can go from 0 to 100 very quickly.
It’s so easy for kids to take things out of hand and start talking trash, spying, or even sabotaging the other team. I’ve had to remind them over and over that we must compete with integrity because after all, it’s about spreading Christmas cheer?
I’ve also had to check my own heart! It’s honestly so easy to want to glitter bomb someone for the sake of winning a contest so I have to remind myself…hey, you’re an adult. You have to set a good example.
So, we talked about the importance of appreciating all sorts of wonderful Christmas decorations.
Whether it’s the absolutely phenomenal displays in downtown Cleveland or the handmade paper crafts that kids make in school, anything celebrating the season of Christmas is special.
When my seventh-graders worry if their decorations are “good enough” I remind them God made us all by scratch and how excited is He to see every single piece of art and decor we create to celebrate His Son’s birthday.
I’m reminded of the song Joy Joy by David Phelps. He’s describing the stage being set for the birth of Jesus.
Angels folded their wings at the throne, worshipping
As God whispered, “I love you, my Son.”
Jesus took off His crown and laying it down
Said, “Father, Thy will be done.”
The time had now come for God’s only Son
To be born as a light in a dark, lonely place
So He stepped from Heaven’s hall to Bethlehem’s stall
Where a star lit His newborn face
Then God called to Gabriel with gladness and tears
“Play the trumpet, the horns, and the strings
Tell the shepherds, and the wise men and all who will hear
Command all the angels to sing
Fill the sky with your voices and sing!”
It’s a celebration! The birth of Jesus is a party that deserves cake, trumpets, and all of the paper crafts and glitter these we can muster!
So as we prepare for this Christmas season, I urge you to be excited about every single piece of Christmas decor and Christmas cheer you see.
After all, the purpose of Christmas cheer and Jesus is absolute joy!
Also … I’m pretty sure we’re going to win this contest. Fingers crossed!
Courtney Warren is a contributing writer with The Bolivar Commercial. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.