Each year at Christmas time our class picks names to exchange gifts. Students practice handling many emotions during this event - disappointment and irritation at not choosing their best friend's name; excitement when thinking about the gift they will receive; confusion when we tell them that the student they are buying for may not like the cow that they love; anxiety while waiting for their gift; gratitude when they receive their gift and modesty while being thanked. Group celebrations are very complex events.
Spending was limited to $1.50 and we walked to a local dollar store in the middle of a snow storm to choose the gifts. They were carefully hidden and kept anonymous until the last day of school. Each student had a chance to both give and receive a gift and all seemed to appreciate these small tokens of friendship.
Our last day at school was action packed. We watched Donovan and Nicholas participate in Mr. Hirose's production of "A Christmas Carol", decorated (and ate) gingerbread men, exchanged gifts and ended the day watching a holiday movie with the entire school. Everyone left for their winter holiday in great spirits. We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.