As we enter December, the month of the year most associated with giving, you might be looking for a great yearbook photo op that captures students giving back. A winter break goodwill project, such as a seniors’ holiday event, is the perfect opportunity to do so! Although we all — myself included — tend to think of December as the time when we’re surrounded by family and good cheer, it simply isn’t the case for everyone. Fortunately, there is a (very) fun way you and your students can help others, and build up your yearbook in the process!Bringing students out to go Christmas caroling can put a smile on many faces in the community!
Photo Credit: Flickr user informatique
The best part? It’s a simple project, so you don’t have to put a ton of planning into your event. And as someone who has been in your very busy shoes, I know how little time you have available to coordinate another event — especially at this time of year! So why plan a winter break goodwill project? For three big reasons:
- to support and give back to your community
- to teach your students the importance of altruism and fellowship
- to add a beautiful new spread of yearbook photos that celebrates the holiday season
There’s nothing better at this time of year than listening to some traditional Christmas carolers at your door. For seniors living in an assisted living facility, getting out and about to enjoy community caroling can be difficult. Scheduling a professional caroling group to visit may also not be possible, due to scheduling problems or a lack of performers in the area. But you can change that! Most high schools have a default caroling group, since their choir is likely preparing for upcoming Christmas concerts. Working with the choir director to plan a small afternoon outing is a simple, easy way to spread cheer. And all that leaves is finding a photographer from the yearbook squad to accompany them.
I realize that sometimes, this isn’t going to work out perfectly. Just remember that you don’t have to use a “professional” group of carolers. If the choir isn’t available, ask students to sign up as an informal group to sing holiday songs at a senior center or assisted living facility. It will still be a fabulous way to spread good cheer and bring a little happiness to the community. The point is to boost spirits after all, not rival the perfect pitch of the Vienna Boys Choir! Plus, this doesn’t require much work on your part beyond an after-school practice session or two. Most students will already know the classic holiday songs by heart.
Bring Some Extras
If you want to take your musical outing to the next level, don’t forget to bring some cookies along! Personally, I’d recommend hosting a small cookie-baking party a day or two before the event and taking photos there too. You’d wind up with even more great yearbook photos to work with, and showcasing that kind of fun could inspire more students to get involved in the project next year. But if you don’t have the time, don’t sweat it. It’s easy enough to grab some pre-made treats at the grocery store to bring with you. Bringing treats to the party will help round out the event, and act as an extra incentive for the students, too!
Winter is a time of year that many of us love because we’re surrounded by family, friends, and fun. But some aren’t as fortunate, and it’s important to remember that as we’re celebrating with our loved ones. Taking the time to share Christmas songs (and cookies!) with those who are lonely or struggling can warm the heart. It can also show students how important it is to give back, and encourage them to be more thankful for what they have. The fact that caroling and cookie-making are fun and will provide awesome shots for the yearbook are just bonuses!