Every year, we commission a new children’s poet to write a poem about the gift of the Trafalgar Square Christmas tree, inspired by the ideas and images of local schoolchildren.
In 2012, we created an extensive pack of teaching resources for primary teachers, which we updated in 2020. The pack offers a history of the tree and the project, and features Norwegian writers as well as Anglophone poets. Inside, you’ll discover thoughtful and fun poetry writing exercises from such leading poets as Kevin Crossley-Holland, James Carter, Frances Presley, Hanne Bramness, Coral Rumble, Kit Wright and Philip Gross. Download it here.
We’ve also compiled a number of wintry poetry resources for primary school teachers (and parents!), written by some of the brilliant poets whose poems have decorated the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square over the years, all for KS1-2. You can download them for free below.
- The Fourth King: A Tree’s Journey After reading Sinéad Morrissey’s ‘The Fourth King’ and her letter to your students, they will write a dramatic monologue about an object’s journey – from the perspective of the object.
- The Christmas Pine: The Tree Speaks Back! Inspired by Julia Donaldson’s poem ‘The Christmas Pine’, children are guided to find out more about their favourite plant, its history and cultural significance, and write from its perspective.
- Sharing the Gift of Hope at Christmas: Clare Pollard shares her poem ‘The Gift’ and asks children to imagine their toys coming to life, write letters, metaphors and similes.
- Hands around the Christmas Tree: A.F. Harrold asks children to use their senses and imagination to write poems of friendship, inspired by his own poem ‘The Friendship Tree’.
- The Christmas Tree’s Secret: Julia Copus invites pupils to pay attention to the world around them, including our animal neighbours, using an outline to create a wintry poem. Read Julia’s poem ‘The Christmas Tree’s Secret’ to see how she did it.
- Writing a Christmas Tree Poem: How are you going to decorate your tree? Liz Lochead provides a recipe for writing a Christmas tree poem, using images that are as specific as possible. Read her poem ‘How I’ll Decorate My Tree’ for added inspiration.
Listen & Watch
Some years, we’ve been lucky enough to be followed by film crews on the day of the ceremony. You can watch Joseph Coelho performing his poem ‘Look Into My Lights’ as we watch pupils from St Clement Danes on the day of their performance in Trafalgar Square below.
We’ve also been able to make a podcast of the three children from St Peter’s Church of England School performing ‘The Gift’, Clare Pollard’s poem for Look North More Often. This recording was taken just before their big performance!