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Holidays Around the World Lesson Plans  Lesson Planning Channel

'Tis the season! Education World offers nine lessons about December celebrations, observances, and activities from several cultures. Included: A Hanukkah game, a Kwanzaa recipe, and an activity that involves students in diagramming similarities and differences in holiday celebrations!

What is another name for St. Nicholas? What is a menorah? What is a karamu? The answers to those questions highlight a few of the special traditions that are the subject of this week's lesson planning theme -- December's multicultural holiday celebrations.

Let's start the festivities!

Use the ten activities below to help your students learn about customs of the season in different cultures. Brief descriptions accompany each lesson, and appropriate grade levels for each activity appear in parentheses. Click any headline for a complete teaching resource!

Oh, by the way ... St. Nicholas is another name for Santa Claus. The real St. Nicholas was a man named Hagios Nikolas, who lived in about A.D. 300. Nikolas was known for giving gifts to needy people. A menorah is the nine-branched candelabrum used during Hanukkah. And a karamu is the feast meal of Kwanzaa.

Hanukkah fun: The Dreidel Game
Students create dreidels, traditional Hanukkah toys, from common materials and play the dreidel game!
(K-2, 3-5, 6-8)

Benne cakes and other holiday recipes
Students create great foods from different holiday celebrations!
(K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12)

How many ways can you say Merry Christmas?
Students create a multicultural holiday bulletin board map! (3-5, 6-8, 9-12)

Christmas in other countries: A Venn diagramming activity
Students diagram similarities and differences in Christmas celebrations around the world. (3-5, 6-8)

True or false? A quiz about four December celebrations
Check students' comprehension of brief histories of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Las Posadas. (3-5, 6-8)

Christmas-tree-shaped poems
Students create poems in the shape of a Christmas tree. The poems tell how students will spread joy this holiday season. (3-5, 6-8, 9-12)

Help others on Boxing Day
No fighting on this day! Students learn about Boxing Day and participate in an activity about giving to people in need. (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12)

'Twas the Night Before Christmas
Students learn about the history of Santa Claus and dramatize Clement C. Moore's famous poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas." (K-2, 3-5)

Christmas around the world
Students explore Christmas celebrations in different countries. (K-2, 3-5)


From the Education World archive

Don't miss Education World's December holidays archive page. There you will find dozens of ideas for teaching about the holidays as well as craft activities, resources, and more.

Lois Lewis
Education World®
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Last updated 11/22/2015