5 Poetry Prompts to Get You in the Holiday Spirit

The holiday season is filled with creativity, from seasonal recipes to festive decorations. Why not lean into this inspiring time with your writing as well? As the holidays approach, ’tis the season for writing: take inspiration from these five poetry prompts.  


Dedicate a poem to a passed loved one


Although the holiday season is typically framed as joyful and bright, for many, this time can also be melancholy. Holidays can remind us of experiences shared with passed loved ones, bringing up feelings of grief and sadness. Process these emotions by writing a poem for someone you’ve lost. Write about how you honor them during this time, whether by cooking their favorite foods or fondly remembering a specific shared holiday moment. 


Get inspired by holiday songs


Whether you’re lighting the menorah or dreaming of a white Christmas, take inspiration from your favorite holiday song. Write a poem about the classic Hanukkah song “Maoz Tzur,” pulling from its freedom-fighting message and using the menorah as a metaphor for finding hope and resilience in the midst of darkness. Or, reinterpret a song’s lyrics from a different, more modern perspective by crafting your own “Twelve Days of Christmas” poem. Think outside the box, and let your creativity flow!


Imagine your own version of A Christmas Carol in a poem


Charles Dickens’s iconic A Christmas Carol has inspired beloved movies and plays. How can you incorporate themes from this timeless Christmas story into a poem? Reflect on the past, examine your present, and imagine your future. Consider adding your own twist, like including supernatural subjects, employing magical realism, or contrasting the cheerful elements of the holidays with darker themes or motifs.


Find gratitude through your poetry


Despite the stress that inevitably arises during the holidays, this season is also an opportunity to practice gratitude. Write a poem exploring how this season brings gratitude into focus. As we spend time with loved ones, we’re reminded of what’s important in life: connecting with others, whether over a meal, a board game, or simply through conversation. 


Highlight your favorite holiday tradition 


From lighting menorahs to baking cookies to trimming trees, many of us look forward to celebrating the holidays with cherished traditions. Why not capture one of these moments in a poem? Rely on imagery to create a vivid sense of place. Ask yourself: are there smells wafting from holiday foods baking in the oven? Is the fireplace illuminating your space with a warm glow? Explore the tradition in detail, allowing the reader to feel like they’re transported to this time and place. Maybe you even celebrate more than one holiday during the season. If so, reflect on the ways in which merging multiple traditions and cultures are beautiful and should be celebrated. Illustrate their similarities and differences in a poem, exploring and honoring your multi-faceted identity.


No matter how you celebrate this year, hopefully these prompts inspire you to express yourself through poetry. Be creative, and have fun!