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How To Celebrate Diversity In December: Holidays Around The World Activities

Dive into holidays around the world activities this December! From Christmas to Kwanzaa, explore diverse traditions with engaging classroom ideas.
Dive into holidays around the world activities this December! From Christmas to Kwanzaa, explore diverse traditions with engaging classroom ideas.

Happy holidays! There are a lot of them to celebrate in December. Christmas may get the most attention and marketing, but there are many holidays around the world to explore in your classroom. 

Holidays are a fun way to learn about other countries and cultures. You might begin by asking students what holidays they celebrate this month. Students can tell a little bit about how they celebrate the holiday. 

Then identify December holidays around the world for kids to explore. Some you may wish to include are:

  • Christmas
  • Hanukkah 
  • Kwanzaa
  • Solstice 
  • La Posadas
  • Boxing Day
  • St. Lucia Day
  • New Year’s Eve

This is not, of course, an exhaustive list. If you look at the Solstice alone, you’ll find many different celebrations that happen on or around that date. And if you look at the whole season starting in November and ending in February, you have even more holidays to explore, including Diwali, Three Kings Day, and Lunar New Year. 

Dive into holidays around the world activities this December! From Christmas to Kwanzaa, explore diverse traditions with engaging classroom ideas.

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Introduction to holidays around the world activities

Start with an introduction to each holiday. You can provide a brief synopsis, or depending on the age of your students, have them do some research. You could assign small groups different holidays to introduce. 

Some questions to answer: 

  • When is the holiday celebrated? 
  • What is the purpose or reason behind this celebration?
  • Where is this holiday celebrated or who celebrates it? 
  • What are traditional activities related to this holiday? 
  • What are traditional foods related to this holiday? 

Note that many holidays can have religious, secular, cultural, commercial, and personal meaning. Different regions, groups, or families may have variations on what they believe and do during holidays. 

  • Make a calendar of holidays around the world. Point out to students that some holidays are celebrated on one day and some are celebrated over a span of days. And some holidays, like Christmas and Kwanzaa, have a set date or dates. Others, like Hanunkkah, vary from year to year. Depending on the age of students, you can talk about how those dates are determined. 
  • Use a calendar to show where different holidays are originated and are largely celebrated. Students should note that many holidays around the world overlap in space and time. 
  • Compare and contrast holidays. Ask students to note similarities they see between holidays, for example there are many holidays that use light or candles and others that involve gift giving. What are some of the most unique aspects of each holiday? 

Holidays around the world activities: read to learn more

This is a great time of year to have some special seasonal books showcased in your classroom library and to read aloud books about various holidays. 

Hanukkah

Explore the Jewish festival of lights with books like these:

Dive into holidays around the world activities this December! From Christmas to Kwanzaa, explore diverse traditions with engaging classroom ideas.

Christmas

There are many books about Christmas. These suggestions will help students explore different ways the holiday is celebrated in different places. 

Dive into holidays around the world activities this December! From Christmas to Kwanzaa, explore diverse traditions with engaging classroom ideas.

Kwanzaa

Explore the seven principles of Kwanzaa with these books: 

Solstice

You can explore cultural celebrations and work science into your exploration of the solstice with these books: 

Dive into holidays around the world activities this December! From Christmas to Kwanzaa, explore diverse traditions with engaging classroom ideas.

La Posadas

Explore La Posadas, celebrated largely in Latin American countries, with these books, one of which is bilingual. 

Mixed

Explore a variety of holidays in December and beyond with these books: 

Dive into holidays around the world activities this December! From Christmas to Kwanzaa, explore diverse traditions with engaging classroom ideas.

Holidays around the world activities: let’s celebrate

As you learn more about each celebration, you’ll discover foods used in festivals and holiday dinners around the world. Consider creating a multi-cultural feast bringing together foods from different traditions. 

Many traditions celebrate gift giving. Students can make small, simple gifts to gift at home or to classmates. Or have them leave stockings or shoes to be filled with candy or treats as in different traditions. 

Another commonality among many traditions is light. You could make candles for students to light at home. 

Some other ideas: 

  • Play a game of dreidel. 
  • Decorate a tree. 
  • Make bird feeders to feed the birds in winter. 

There are so many holidays around the world for kids to discover and enjoy. Have fun — and happy holidays!

Dive into holidays around the world activities this December! From Christmas to Kwanzaa, explore diverse traditions with engaging classroom ideas.

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