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December Holidays

December: A Month of Multicultural Holiday Celebrations

Do your students celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Three Kings Day? Maybe they celebrate St. Lucia Day or Ramadan. Chances are your class includes students who observe more than one of those events. Whether that is the case or not, December offers great opportunities for teaching about our multicultural world. Included: Handfuls of great teaching lessons and resources!

Few months present the multicultural "teachable moments" that December does! The following multicultural events and celebrations are among those that will happen this year:

  • Ramadan (Muslim)
  • Eid al-Fitr (Muslim)
  • Saint Nicholas Day (Christian)
  • Eid'ul-Adha (Muslim)
  • Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican)
  • St. Lucia Day (Swedish)
  • Hanukkah (Jewish)
  • Christmas Day (Christian)
  • Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian)
  • Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish)
  • Kwanzaa (African American)
  • Omisoka (Japanese)
  • Yule (Pagan)
  • Saturnalia (Pagan)

At Education World, we've searched our archive for links to lessons and other activities to help you teach about December's "world of holidays." We've updated all the lesson plans to ensure that you won't find any dead links among them! You'll find the following articles full of lesson ideas.

Holidays Around the World: A Festival of Lessons
'Tis the season! Education World offers ten lessons about December celebrations, observances, and activities from several cultures. Included:

  • Benne Cakes and Other Holiday Recipes
  • How Many Ways Can You Say "Merry Christmas"?
  • Christmas in Other Countries: A Venn Diagramming Activity
  • Christmas-Tree-Shaped Poems
  • True or False? A Quiz About Four December Celebrations
  • plus five more lessons!

Christmas Around the World
A world of activities focused on the traditions and spirit of Christmas! Among the lessons you will find are the following:

  • Christmas Around the World Map
  • Greeting Card Graphing
  • Christmas Tongue Twisters
  • "Job Jar" Gift Idea
  • My Gift to the World
  • plus more lessons!

Habari Gani? -- What's the News?
Learn about Kwanzaa, the world's fastest growing holiday, with activities that include the following:

  • Label an Africa Map
  • Make a Kwanzaa Game
  • Colorful Flags
  • Kwanzaa Word Search
  • Weave a Kwanzaa Mat
  • plus more lessons!

Hanukkah: The Festival of Lights
Read aloud a simple telling of the Hanukkah story and follow up with a handful of across-the-curriculum activities, including the following:

  • Hanukkah Story Listening Activity
  • Noah's Ark Hanukkah Card
  • Play the Classic Dreidel Game
  • Write a Hanukkah Radio Show
  • Read Aloud a Hanukkah Book

French Yule Log Ornament:

With this lesson plan, teachers can have students make a French Yule log ornament. 

The History of Christmas Trees:

In this lesson plan, students can read an article about Winter Solstice celebrations and "consider the symbolism of evergreens in winter and how different cultures have used evergreens in winter celebrations throughout history."


In this lesson plan, students will learn about how the Romans celebrated Saturnalia. At the end of this lesson, students will:

  • Students will discover that many of the foods we connect with modern Italy were not available in ancient times – and connect how exploration and trade has expanded our everyday life
  • Students will compare how dress is influenced by social class and social customs, both in ancient times and today
  • Students will discuss what holiday customs can teach us about cultural values, both in ancient times and today
  • Students will experience something of the life of people of the Roman Republic



If you are looking for holiday arts-and-crafts and gift-making ideas or lessons for teaching about the multicultural holidays of December, don't miss Education World's December Holidays Archive. Then, if you're still looking for more lessons, we've scoured the Web to find two dozen additional lessons across the grades and the curriculum.


Updated: 12/22/2014