ESL Letters to Santa Activity

Students read 5 different letters to Santa in this ESL activity you can use to practice or review the present perfect continuous.

The funniest part about reading letters to Santa has got to be the odd phonetic spelling and lack of grammatical structure. Actually, now that I think about it… Correcting a child’s letter to Santa would make for a pretty good homework exercise. In this ESL Letters to Santa Activity, students will read 5 different letters to Santa and decide which children are on the naughty or nice list. Each letter has plenty of examples of the present perfect and/or present perfect continuous, so it makes for an even better exercise if you’re working on these structures already.

How to use it

This activity was designed for the online classroom, and especially ZOOM, but can also be used well as a printable.

  1. Display the PDF for students to see.
  2. Have students read individually, or out loud as a class, the 5 letters to Santa.
  3. After the first time reading each, students must decide together if the child is on the naughty or nice list and which, if any, Santa will bring them.
  4. Have students read all the letters again, individually this time.
  5. Put students in pairs to answer the true, false, or don’t know statements.
  6. Check the work as a class and then take this time to highlight some of the present perfect and present perfect continuous statements in the letters to justify their responses.


Go futher

Want to stretch your letters to Santa lesson out a little longer? Look for some letters to Santa on google, written by young children, and give them to your students to correct! The inventiveness of children with language is incredible. Their ability to write things incorrectly and be completely understood is a linguist’s dream. Give them some examples to correct individually, in pairs, for homework, at the end of class, etc.

Here are some links:

Daily Mail >>

Best Life >>

Bored Panda >>



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Ian Kime

Ian Kime

I have been teaching English abroad since receiving my CELTA certificate in Poland in 2018. I enjoy tracking my individual students’ development but love having lessons with big groups! Now that I teach online, I am accompanied by my sidekicks Olaf, Mała, Pirate and Bandit on a regular basis.

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