December Holidays Lessons & Resources, Grades 6-12
Curriculum Resources Covering Holidays & Observances from Around the World
Celebrate the holiday season and learn how others celebrate with these lessons and resources for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Ashura, Pongal, and New Years.
A Colonial Christmas in Williamsburg
Students in grades 5-8 plan and participate in a colonial Christmas event.
Beyond the Story: A Dickens of a Party
Students in grades 6-8 work in groups to investigate the Victorian period, individually write sketches of characters from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and give presentations based on their chosen characters.
Scrooge for Mayor ( PDF, 18 pages, 166 KB)
Working in small groups, high school students research labor issues, social issues, health issues, and gender issues, then create a campaign poster, campaign pamphlet, and power point presentation.
Students write alliterative tongue twisters.
The Twelve Days of Christmas
Students calculate the total cost of the items in the song, "The 12 Days of Christmas."
Natural Resources and Your Christmas Tree ( PDF, 2 pages, 132 KB)
Students research and list raw materials used to make some items associated with Christmas trees.
Two can play an online version of the dreidel game. The game requires Java.
Background & History
Celebrate Winter Holidays: Activities and Resources for Teachers
Online scrapbooks describe how children around the world celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. Find articles, activities and crafts, printables, curriculum connections, clip art and images, and a teacher guide.
Print information and audio clips about December holidays from around the world.
Christmas for Jews: How Hanukkah became a major holiday.
Discover how Hanukkah, traditionally a minor Jewish festival, evolved into "the Jewish Christmas."
Hanukkah basics, traditions, activities, and stories.
About Chanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. Learn the rules for playing dreidel and try a recipe for latkes.
Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture
The Official Kwanzaa Website.
- The Battle for Christmas
by Stephen Nissenbaum
A scholarly analysis of the modern celebration of Christmas.
- Christmas in America: A History
by Penne L. Restad
A look at our evolving Christmas holiday from colonial times to the present.
- Hanukkah Trivia: 150 Fun & Fascinating Facts About Hanukkah
by Jennie Miller Helderman and Mary Caulkins
Facts about the midwinter Jewish holiday in multiple choice question format. Answers are provided at the end of the book.
- The Complete Kwanzaa: Celebrating Our Cultural Harvest
by D. Winbush Riley
Examines the seven principles of Kwanzaa-unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.
- Kwanzaa: Black Power and the Making of the African-American Holiday Tradition
by Keith A. Mayes
An examination of Kwanzaa from Black Power beginning to mainstream black holiday.
- Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Diwali: With Sweets, Lights, and Fireworks by Deborah Heiligman
Explains the holiday’s traditions, food, and rituals.
- History of Christmas (21 video clips)
- Truman Capote's "A Christmas Memory" (1966) (6 Parts in this playlist)
- History of Hanukkah (4 video clips)
- Rebellion in the Holy Land! - "Live" minute by minute news coverage of the story of Chanukah as it unfolds.
- Kwanzaa (6 clips in this playlist)
- History and Traditions of Kwanzaa
- How to Celebrate Kwanzaa: Part 1, Part 2
Jean Shepherd: A Christmas Story WOR Radio (1974): Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5
A Christmas Story has been a popular holiday movie since 1983. In this five part audio resource, the author reads the original story in a WOR radio broadcast from Christmas Eve 1974. (5 parts, 45 min. total)
Other Winter Holidays
Ashura (Islamic Holiday)
Ashura, one of the major holidays of Islam, is a time of fasting and of inner thoughts. It is celebrated on the 10th day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic Calendar.
Ashura – The Religious Holiday of Islam
Provides more historical background.
Pancha Ganapati (Hindu Winter Solstice)
Pancha Ganapati: The Family Festival of Giving
Describes the holiday as the Hindu Christmas with five days of gifts for kids. Explains what happens on each of the five days and provides a recipe for Vadai, a spicy donut.
- Judaism 101: Rosh Hashanah - describes traditions of the celebration
- Rosh Hashanah Challah Traditions
Ras as-Sana al-Hijreya (Islamic New Year)
Pongal (Hindu New Year)
- What is Pongal?
This comprehensive website explains traditions and provides recipes as well as other information.
last updated: November 9, 2015