Curriculum Design

5 Ways to Prevent Your Classroom From Turning Into a Holiday Gift Factory

It is hard not to crumble under the pressure this time of year. Everyone is in the holiday spirit and they want cute handmade gifts and keepsakes to give to parents and extended family members! I am all for a project in the spirit of the holiday or the season, but we can’t be expected to chuck our curriculum out the window for the sake of hand print turkeys. Our classtime in invaluable!

Here 5 easy suggestions to help keep a nice balance (and your sanity!) as holiday season approaches.

1. Use an online gallery.

Sites like Artsonia provide opportunities for parents to order trinkets (like T-shirts, coffee mugs, etc) with their son or daughter’s work printed on it. This way, every art project that you upload can be a translated into a gift.

2. Combine seasonal projects with your curriculum.

Be creative! Try teaching warm and cool colors as a background for spiderwebs. This lesson also touches on symmetry and using ruler!

If you are teaching about landscapes, foreground and background, try this “sweet” twist.

Or combine human proportion with Nutcrackers or Skeletons.

3. Try a fundraiser.

If you have been flirting with the idea of attempting your first fundraiser, like Square 1 Art, try coordinating orders with the gift-giving season. You could even market the fundraiser as a holiday gift opportunity.

4. Collaborate with businesses in the community.

Often times businesses will cover the printing expenses and artists receive a free print or calendar of their finished project. Maybe businesses would even host a seasonal art show displaying all the cards?

5. Send home artwork.

Have students select one piece to mat and send home. The mat can be something as simple as colored construction paper, but even that elevates the work to another level. Makes it a little more special. Add a artist signature and teach them how to get the artwork home without creases. Sending your ceramics home right before the holidays is also a really smart option for use as gift giving.

How do you embrace the spirit of the holidays without sacrificing your curriculum?

Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.


Heather Crockett

Heather Crockett is AOEU’s Chief Academic Officer and a former AOEU Writer and art educator. She is an expert in differentiation, curriculum development, and assessment.

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