December 2019
ELT Resource Roundup: December Celebrations
by Tomiko Breland

No matter where in the world you teach, the upcoming season is abundant with holidays that offer excellent opportunities to expose your English learners to our multicultural world through history, cultural practices, and intercultural exchange. Here are a few resources from around the web that we’ve compiled for you.

Getting Started

Before you begin planning holiday activities or lessons, it’s important to take care with your content and show respect for your students and for the cultures you may be discussing. Ensure your plans to bring culturally enriching content into your classroom are respectful to all students and, in the case of religious content, appropriately academic. Start here:

Videos and Multimedia

These videos feature or are focused around holidays or holiday themes. Use these as a springboard for discussion or other activities.


These articles and webpages offer interesting and informative perspectives into some big (or, in some cases, new) holiday traditions.

Lessons and Activities

These lessons and activities can be used in your classroom this holiday season.

  • 3 New Year’s Activities
    This TESOL Blog post shares three writing activities focused on the New Year that can be adapted to different ages and proficiency levels.

  • Holidays Around the World Lesson Plans
    Education World shares nine lessons about December celebrations from multiple cultures around the world.

  • Ideas for Language Learners: Celebrate the Holidays
    This collection of activities from The New York Times includes learning about your students’ unique holiday traditions, creating a small holiday gift with students, teaching about a number of international holiday traditions, and writing about New Year resolutions.

  • Lesson Plan: Intercultural Holiday Party Planning
    This activity from TESOL Connections is an exercise in cultural awareness; it allows student groups to choose their own holiday to celebrate.

  • Teaching Culture: Festivals of Light Around the World
    This TESOL Blog post shares the traditions and practices surrounding light festivals from several distinct cultures, which occur from October through December, and the author includes classroom activities for each.

  • EL Civics offers lessons on various holidays, including these upcoming ones*:


  • Christmas Traditions From Around the World
    This infographic explains 12 different Christmas traditions that you can show and share with your ELs.

  • 2019 Diversity Holidays
    No need to limit your holiday lesson plans to the month of December! Have students choose and research any holiday from this extensive list of observances celebrated by cultures around the world.

May the season bring you and your students joyful learning experiences! If you have any of your own December or holiday activities to share, please do so in the comments.

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Tomiko Breland is TESOL project editor. She received her BA in English from Stanford University, her MA in writing from the Johns Hopkins University, and her certificate in TESOL from Anaheim University. In her free time, she writes and edits fiction.