How to get started on a Christmas story

by 15 Dec, 2022

It’s that magical time of year again. Christmas is nearly here and impossible things become possible.

Christmas stories often bring magic into everyday life. Have you seen the classic, The Snowman? A boy does something most children do – he builds a snowman. But then something magical and unexpected happens: the snowman comes to life!

Santa Claus climbs down chimneys and flies across the sky in a sleigh pulled by reindeer. Ebenezer Scrooge encounters three ghosts who change his life. Even the most traditional Christmas stories are full of the unexpected: angels appearing in the sky and a baby throwing a kingdom into disarray.

Sometimes children want to invent a story, but find it really difficult to get going. Here’s some tips on how to help children write a Christmas story that infuses magic into ordinary life by asking the question: what if?

What if everyday life was magical?

Here’s where to start: children can think of one or two things they normally do at this time of year – and then ask what if?

What if the snowman I built came to life? What if I could enter the world of a snow globe? What if my advent calendar was actually a portal and each day I could go through the door to the scene behind it?

Authors often take inspiration from their own lives, creating characters and settings inspired by people and places they know. Think about people and places you are familiar with and imagine them differently: What if the man working in the corner shop is actually Santa Claus in disguise? What if an evil wizard has turned Santa’s reindeer into ornaments at the garden centre? How will anyone find them and what will need to happen to bring them back to life? What if Santa was trapped in that run down, boarded up house in town? How did he get there and how will he be rescued?

Have fun thinking up the different ‘what if’ ideas for a Christmas story. You could do it as a fun chat around the dinner table or on a journey to visit family. If they want to, children can then take one or more of their ideas and write them as a longer story.


The Power of Christmas Magic

Helping children to write stories is powerful. Magical stories are not just fun and entertaining. They are about possibility. Imagining What If? is a way for children to describe alternatives.

This is especially important for children who will find Christmas a difficult time. Magical stories can strengthen children’s imagination, provide a brief escape from challenging circumstances, and build confidence that a different future is possible.

For more on storytelling , take a look at this selection of Wild Literacy activities. With a full subscription you can access more than 100 different storytelling activities, exploring character development, plot design, and setting descriptions.

Christmas story activities

Christmas story quiz (FREE with a Basic Membership)
Christmas advert

General story activities

Painting or photo
Plotline planning with maps (FREE with a Basic Membership)
Build a setting
Build a character
Re-write famous story

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