Celebrating December: Exploring Festive Traditions with Kids!


Get ready to explore the magic of December's festive season with your young learners! From heartwarming traditions to joyful celebrations, this month offers a treasure trove of learning experiences. Let’s dive into the wonders of December together!

Delving into Festive Cheer

Engaging Activities

Cultural Exploration: Dive into the diverse celebrations of December. Discuss traditions like Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and other festive customs worldwide.

Expressive Arts: Encourage creativity! Design cards, create festive artwork, or stage plays depicting holiday stories and customs.

Interactive Learning: Engage kids with quizzes, scavenger hunts related to December traditions, and interactive storytelling sessions.

Community Involvement: Foster empathy and kindness by organizing charity drives, collecting donations, or writing cards for those in need.

These are some suggestions:

  • Talk about each special day
  • Have students do a blog about it
  • Organise a writing competition
  • Get students to write a song or rap about it
  • Do a role-play about it
  • Have students design a poster about it
  • Watch a video about it
  • Display a quiz about it
  • Go to a museum about it
  • Create a reading list about it
  • Research more about it online

December Special Days

Rosa Parks Day

4-Santa's List Day

4-Cookie Day

5- Sinterklass

6-Saint Nicholas Day

7-Pearl Harbor Day

7-Letter Writing Day

8-Christmas Tree Day

9-Christmas Card Day

10-Human Rights Day

12-Poinsettia Day


Here's a list of engaging read-aloud books perfect for young learners in December:

"The Polar Express" by Chris Van Allsburg: Follow the magical journey of a young boy on a train to the North Pole, perfect for discussions about the spirit of Christmas. Grab some ideas here

"How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" by Dr. Seuss: Join the Grinch as he learns the true meaning of Christmas, perfect for discussions about kindness and giving.

"The Gingerbread Man" by Jim Aylesworth: A classic tale about a gingerbread man's escape from various characters, perfect for discussing traditional stories. Grab some ideas here

"Snowmen at Night" by Caralyn Buehner: Explore the whimsical world of snowmen when people are asleep, perfect for imaginative discussions. Grab some ideas here

"The Nutcracker" by Susan Jeffers: A beautifully illustrated adaptation of the classic ballet story, perfect for exploring different forms of storytelling.Grab some ideas here

"The Mitten" by Jan Brett: Follow the story of a lost mitten that becomes a cozy home for various woodland animals, perfect for discussions about winter and sharing.Grab some ideas here

"Bear Stays Up for Christmas" by Karma Wilson: Join Bear and his friends as they prepare for Christmas, perfect for discussions about friendship and holiday celebrations.

"Dream Snow" by Eric Carle: A story about a farmer who dreams of snow and wakes up to a snowy surprise, perfect for discussions about surprises and anticipation.

These books cover themes of Christmas, winter, friendship, and imagination, providing ample opportunities for discussions, vocabulary building, and imaginative storytelling for young learners in December. Enjoy sharing these delightful stories with your students!


December offers a variety of thematic opportunities for ESL classes. Here are some engaging themes that could be relevant and interesting for ESL learners during this month:

Winter Holidays Around the World: Exploring different cultural celebrations such as Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and discussing traditions, customs, and symbols.Grab some ideas here

Winter and Weather: Exploring vocabulary related to winter, discussing weather changes, and activities associated with the season.

Giving and Sharing: Discussing the spirit of giving, acts of kindness, and charitable activities during the holiday season.

Festive Foods: Exploring holiday-related food vocabulary, discussing traditional dishes, and recipes associated with winter holidays.

Cultural Diversity: Learning about diverse celebrations and customs during December, comparing and contrasting traditions from around the world. Grab some ideas here

Literature and Stories: Engaging in storytelling activities, reading holiday-themed books, and discussing famous holiday stories.

Reflection and New Year's Resolutions: Reflecting on the past year, discussing achievements, and setting goals for the upcoming year.

Art and Crafts: Engaging in holiday-themed arts and crafts activities, creating decorations, and exploring creative expression.

These themes offer ample opportunities for vocabulary expansion, cultural understanding, discussions on global traditions, and language practice within an ESL classroom. Tailor these themes to suit the language proficiency level and interests of your students for a more engaging learning experience.

December is filled with various cultural celebrations around the world:

Christmas (Global, especially in Christian-majority countries): Celebrated on December 25th, Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. It involves religious services, exchanging gifts, decorating trees, and gatherings with family for festive meals.

Hanukkah (Jewish Festival of Lights): This eight-day Jewish celebration involves lighting the menorah, enjoying traditional foods like latkes and sufganiyot (jelly-filled doughnuts), playing dreidel games, and exchanging gifts.

Kwanzaa (African-American cultural celebration in the USA): Celebrated from December 26th to January 1st, Kwanzaa honors African heritage and principles like unity, self-determination, and creativity. Families light the kinara (candleholder), share meals, and exchange gifts.

Pancha Ganapati (Hindu Festival): Celebrated from December 21st to 25th by some Hindus, this modern festival honors Lord Ganesha and involves family-oriented celebrations, feasting, and gift-giving.

Las Posadas (Mexico and some Latin American countries): Celebrated from December 16th to 24th, it reenacts Mary and Joseph's search for shelter. Communities hold processions, sing carols, and enjoy food and piñatas.

Saint Lucia's Day (Scandinavian countries): Celebrated on December 13th, it honors Saint Lucia with processions of girls dressed in white robes with candles, symbolizing light overcoming darkness.

Ōmisoka (Japanese New Year's Eve): December 31st is a time for cleaning, paying respects to ancestors, eating special foods like toshikoshi soba (year-crossing noodles), and ringing temple bells 108 times for purification.

These celebrations in December showcase the diversity of cultural traditions, religious observances, and festive customs practiced across various regions and communities around the world. Each celebration carries its unique significance and offers a glimpse into the values and customs of different cultures.

Let's make this December a time of learning, joy, and cultural appreciation in our ESL classroom! Embrace diversity, spread cheer, and explore the beauty of different festivities.

How do you plan to celebrate these festive days in your classroom? Share your ideas below and let's create a vibrant learning community together!

Happy December!

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