Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Yes, There Really Was a Santa!

Shirley Godbold
Walton County Schools


Students read a selection concerning Santa Claus and the orgin of the Jolly Old Elf in the United States.They will also create their own version of a new and modern Santa Claus that will remain in the American culture.


The student understands ways in which cultural characteristics have been transmitted from one society to another (e.g., through art, architecture, language, other artifacts, traditions, beliefs, values, and behaviors).

The student understands and uses information from historical and cultural themes, trends, styles, periods of art, and artists.


-Attachment entitled -Santa Claus- and questions
-Poem: -Twas the Night Before Christmas- (see weblinks)
--Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus- (see weblinks)
-Drawing paper
-Crayons, markers, or colored pencils


1. Duplicate a copy of the KWL, a copy of Santa Claus, a copy of -Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus,- and Fun Project sheet for each student.
2. Secure a copy of -Twas the Night Before Christmas.-


1. Begin the class by telling students that they are going to look at an American Christmas tradition.

2 Read the poem, -Twas the Night Before Christmas- and newpaper editorial, -Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus- aloud to the class. As an alternative, students who are good readers can be asked to read aloud.

3. Begin the class asking a series of questions such as: Why does Santa wear red clothes?, Why does Santa have reindeer?, How tall do you think Santa is?, How much do you think Santa weighs?, Do you think Santa has to train his elves to make toys?, etc. Allow students to share their answers and ideas.

4.Discuss with the class facts about where our some of our traditions about an American Christmas came from. (Use the documents found in the associated file.)

5. Give each student a KWL chart ( see associated file) to find out -K- - what the student knows about Santa, -W- - What they want to know about Santa, and then at the end of the lesson-L- - what they learned.

6. Give the students the attachment -Santa Claus- to read.

7. Have students answer the -Santa Claus-
questions based on the article.

8. As a class read and discuss, -Yes Virginia there is a Santa!- (from website.)

9. Discuss with students who Thomas Nast is and the part he played in 'creating' our modern Santa Claus. (Use the information from the website for whole group instruction or download, print and distribute the infomation based on your situation.)
At this time have students complete the -L- part of their KWL charts.

10. Divide students into groups of 3 or 4 and have them complete the fun project task. (See associated file.)


Formatively assess student's knowledge by using the Santa Claus questions and the KWL charts. Provide feedback for students having difficulty.
Formatively assess the Fun Project to see if students were able to design a 'modern' Santa and explain why they created him as they did.


This is fun and interesting for all. It will work with ESE and ESOL students as well as gifted.

Web Links

Web supplement for Yes, There Really Was a Santa!
Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus

Web supplement for Yes, There Really Was a Santa!
North Pole History

Web supplement for Yes, There Really Was a Santa!
Thomas Nast

Web supplement for Yes, There Really Was a Santa!
'Twas the Night Before Christmas (with picture)

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