According to Buddy the Elf, the four main food groups are candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup. And during the holidays, it can certainly feel that way! But in the classroom, a diet chock full of sugar can certainly feel like your students are all over the seven levels of the candy cane forest.

So as a teacher, how do you wrangle your lesson plans and students with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads at the same time? Do not despair, fearless leaders of learning, as there are sugar-free solutions to be plucked out like gems from a Pez dispenser! Read on for some of the best holiday treats for your students that aren’t candy.


How to Holiday in the Classroom Without All the Candy

Here are some of our favorite holiday treats for students that may not be candy, but are just as sweet of a treat:


  • “Candy Land”
    Candy Land is a fun and playful substitute for the sugar-filled variety of a treat. Host a game day in your classroom and borrow a few sets of this classic board game to set up in groups around the room so students can try their luck.
  • Letters to Santa
    Turn your classroom into a North Pole mailing station for an afternoon so students can have fun writing letters to Santa. Set up stations complete with notecards, paper, stickers, pens, crayons and markers so students can carefully craft their wishes with love to be sent off to the North Pole. You can even provide festive holiday-themed pens and surprise students by letting them know the pens are theirs to keep.
  • “Ugly Christmas Sweater” Party
    Sure to result in plenty of giggles and surprises, have students bring an extra sweater or sweatshirt to be decorated in the classroom. Shirts can be turned inside out if needed for a blank canvas to create their masterpiece. Simple supplies like pom poms, pipe cleaners, yarn, sequins, craft gems and other embellishments can make for some spectacular results. Hand out awards for “most creative,” “best theme,” “sportiest,” and more and pair them with a pen that’s sure to be on point for the occasion.

  • Snow More Magic
    No matter the weather where you live, students can enjoy a bit of a “snow day” as they create their very own winter wonderland with handmade snow globes. Easier than it may sound, snow globes can be assembled with just about any spare jar as long as it’s clean, clear and has a lid. Turn the jar upside down and the inside of the lid becomes the base upon which any winter scene can be created by gluing small trinkets to the lid and adding in a pinch of artificial snow and glitter. Once complete, gently shake for instant holiday magic! Extra trinkets or even snow-globe themed pens can make a perfect addition to the treasures kids can take home.
  1. Party with the Grinch
    Welcome all your students to Whoville for a day to embrace the season – no candy required! Students can enjoy a relaxed day as you read the Dr. Seuss classic, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” to the entire class, followed by any of the various Grinch movies available. Treats can include popcorn, hot cocoa and a few special Grinch-themed take-home treasures.


Find Holiday Treats Without the Sweets for Your Classroom

Although candy and cookies often go hand-in-hand with the holiday season, sugar doesn’t always have to be the focus. With a twinkle in your eye, you’re sure to find dozens of ideas for your classroom that your students will be delighted to discover, including holiday treats that aren’t candy. And who knows, it may even turn into a new, beloved holiday tradition for all!

With over 90 years of experience, GEDDES has an endless array of creative items and school supplies to check off your shopping list. Browse our blog for ideas and inspiration, and learn more about the supplies and resources available from Raymond Geddes.