How to Teach Holidays Around the World in Your Classroom

Every year in December, I teach my students about holidays from all over the world. So many holidays happen in December! It’s the perfect way to take some focus off of Christmas and introduce my students to culture, traditions and celebrations. I love seeing their faces when they realize that the whole world doesn’t do the same things they do!

The focus of our learning is countries, not actual religions or religious beliefs. We “travel” to a different country every day for the entire month of December. We learn about how children celebrate a December holiday in that country, as well as some of the major symbols and customs of the holiday. Then we make something to go along with our learning!

How We Structure Each Day’s Holiday Learning

Each day, we do several things to learn about the traditions and holidays in the countries that we “visit.” This section details what we do each day in the order that we do it.

  1. Read Aloud – We read a text based on the holiday or country that we are focusing on for the day. If you don’t know where to start, here’s a blog post with 13 books I use to teach holidays around the world. This gives us background knowledge and some vocabulary to build upon.
  2. Mini Book – We make foldable mini books that we read together. Then we take a few minutes to color them before putting them away to take home and read with our families. I use the mini books in this Holidays Around the World pack on TPT from Caffeine and Classy.
  3. Youtube video – I find a video for each country, usually a clip of a parade or public event, so my students can see what and how they celebrate. Of course, preview all video clips before you play them for your students!
  4. Craft or Activity – I use most of the craft templates from Caffeine and Classy’s pack listed in #2, but I change up a few. For example, the dreidel crafts are super hard to make. Instead, I just buy this bulk set of dreidels on Amazon and we play with chocolate gelt! I always buy this box of 24 bags of gelt so each student has their own gelt.
  5. Stations – I incorporate holidays around the world into my inquiry stations, too! In the writing station, I include picture dictionaries with words and images from the holidays we’ve learned about. I add supplies to the art station for students to make their favorite crafts again or with a new twist (the paper lanterns for Diwali are a huge hit!). We explore the theme of light in the science station, with flashlights, light boxes and different natural materials. I add the read aloud books to my classroom library for students to read during library station.
Strategies, tips and resources to teach holidays around the world in your classroom

Resources to Teach Holidays Around the World

Here I’m going to recap the resources that I use to teach holidays around the world for the whole month. Grab anything you need, or get some new ideas!

This blog post gives you 13 amazing books to use as read aloud and in your classroom library.

Here is the Holidays Around the World pack on TPT from Caffeine and Classy.

Enjoy your celebrations!

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