Have you ever set yourself to begin writing only to fidget around for hours looking for the first word? The biggest hurdle every student faces in writing is often the lack of ideas. One way to overcome this is to take advantage of the things happening around us.
One of such things is the Christmas celebration and the New Year festival. All you need to do as a teacher is drop a clue and you will be surprised how different the experience of each student was. The holidays, both Christmas and those of other cultures, fill us with excitement. We look forward to repeating traditions and new events, experiencing a wide array of sensory information: from sight and sound to touch, taste and smell and so do our students. There is a lot going on around us: if you are a churchgoer, the church is a very rich place to draw ideas. Compare the carefree woman dancing to the last limb at the corner to the withdrawn tearful woman kneeling in supplication.
You could also look at how different people celebrate Christmas. It’s not always about why people celebrate a particular festival, but also how it is celebrated or what various aspects of the festival mean to different people. These are important, but there are many big and small things that are associated with almost every festival that impact people directly and indirectly.
Take, for instance, overeating. We all end up overeating during festive days. You could come out as an advocate for healthy living, and advise people on how to celebrate their festive season without overindulging. You can also write about recipes of foods that can be enjoyed without the added problems of upset stomachs, bloated bellies and inflated calories. Better yet, you can compose a narrative on a funny or embarrassing incident associated with food or even gifts.
These aside, Christmas is a time to give and receive; a time to forgive and ask for forgiveness; a time to reflect upon one’s life and allow others to do the same. Depending on the kind of essay you want to write, these present rich topics to be explored. For instance, which gifts would appeal to men as opposed to women? Alternatively you could explore the concept of forgiveness either in a narrative or an exposition.
Then there are those who break the entire tradition and purpose of Christmas. To them this is the time to drink yourself stupid and extravagantly waste whatever little thing you have. To them, Christmas is a time to be selfish to the last degree. You can write an essay airing your views either objectively or subjectively about this.
The whole point of writing content for the festive season is to touch upon issues that are normally overlooked but are highly relevant and important. For instance, pretend the president has passed a law banning Christmas. Write a letter to convince him that Christmas should not be banned. Just how passionate are you about Santa and the goodies that come with Christmas? You could even drop a line to Santa describing someone that you know who has been very good and kind this year.
There is only too much we can write about in regard to Christmas. The point here is that we should make the most of our surrounding because to a writer, even a speck of dust is a potential writing idea.
The writer is a lecturer at The Adventist University of Central Africa.