School Cafeterias Serve Up Holiday Cheer

School nutrition professionals take decorating their cafeterias as seriously as building their monthly menus – creating festive and welcoming environments for students to kick off the holiday season before winter break.

The famous Staunton City Schools (VA) Chef Santa watches over students as they fill their lunch trays with fruits.

Keeping with culinary arts and nutrition education messages, many cafeterias are decked out with food or cooking themes. Bulletin boards of Christmas trees, mischievous elves and playful snowmen can be seen spreading holiday cheer. Staunton City Schools (VA) have a Chef Santa who watches over the serving line, “checking twice” to make sure students are taking the proper servings of fruits and vegetables. In the School City of Hammond (IN), a red lunch tray ornament graces the food service manager’s tree, a gift from a holiday staff ornament party.

Food service staff get into the holiday spirit, wearing humorous costumes and hats or dressed as some of winter’s classic characters. In Douglas County School District (NV), line servers wore shirts with the words “Be Nice To Your Lunch Team! Santa’s Watchin’.” While an elf hat with ears doubled as a hair net for some, others made matching aprons featuring yummy treats, like gingerbread or hot cocoa. 

Douglas County School District - Nevada
Douglas County School District (NV) food service and nutrition professionals had fun with the holiday season approaching, dressing up for students as they served lunch.

Raymond Elementary School (ME) offered students Grinch Kabobs, made with a green grape, strawberry Santa hat and a tiny white marshmallow. Students are encouraged to eat healthy breakfasts, lunches and snacks all year, but the holiday season, the festive shapes, colors and decor has them grabbing for seconds. District staff also made whole grain cinnamon sticks into the shape of candy canes and dressed up cheese sticks to resemble snowmen. 


Creativity can be seen across school cafeterias in Texas, with the use of kitchen utensils and containers to make festive decorations. Christmas trees are adorned with miniature kitchen utensils highlight the Oak Grove Elementary School (TX) cafeteria, while East Terrell Hills Elementary (TX) staff repurposed and painted large aluminum cans to look like gleeful snowmen. 



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