This past Friday was our annual Polar Express Day. This is by far one of my favorite traditions. This year it ended up being a half day which ended up being absolutely perfect!
To make our day truly magical, the entire day is a surprise for the kids. They showed up on the day of our event wearing their Christmas pajamas super excited. When they entered the classroom, they were greeted by a LARGE box filled with all sorts of presents wrapped inside of it. Each present had a little index card telling the students what time they could open them up. (I apologize that I don’t have any pictures of this!)
During our morning meeting, I let one of my students open the box that said, “OPEN FIRST” and our fun filled day began. Inside was the book, “The Polar Express.” I read the story to my students and then told them that it was time to open up the next set of presents.
Another student came up and opened up a box that held an envelope. As I proceeded to open the envelope he gave to me, my students GASPED because gold glitter was falling on the floor. I then revealed that inside the envelope were GOLDEN tickets that read, “The Polar Express– ROUND TRIP.”
In the same box my students found jingle bells. (The whole class erupted in applause when they opened this gift!)
We then got in line ready to take our trip to the North Pole.
My students were SO VERY EXCITED which made it even better. They profusely thanked the conductor and were on their way!
As the train looped around the parking lot, without any prompting, my students started singing Christmas carols. They proudly sang,
“Ring the bells, ring the bells, Jesus Christ is born!!!”
“Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way…”
After a 15 minute ride, we headed inside to enjoy our hot chocolate that was cooking in the crockpot and eat Christmas cookies. As we were walking back in, one of my students exclaimed, “I thought our gingerbread house day was the best day ever… but I was wrong– THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!!!!!”
After we feasted, we unwrapped the last few gifts which included the book, “The Legend of the Candy Cane” and a box full of candy canes for them to take home with them.
It was truly a magical, joy-filled day. As my students gave their last “Merry Christmas” hugs and pranced to their families tightly holding the presents they worked so hard on in hand, their jingle bell necklaces jangled ever so sweetly. I’m not sure if you have ever seen the movie “The Family Stone” but it is one of my favorites. There is a line in it where Sarah Jessica Parker starts singing, “repeat the sounding joy…repeat the sounding joy” and Owen Wilson’s character slowly says, “repeat the sounding joy” and they both smile.
It’s one of my favorite scenes in the whole movie and my students’ sweet smiles, coupled with the gentle ringing of jingle bells reminded me so much of that quote.
“Repeat the sounding joy.”
I hope that you have a wonderful holiday and enjoy spending time with your families and friends. I wish you all a very merry JOY FILLED Christmas.