December Holidays Around The World
When we speak of diversity within the classroom, we usually think racial diversity. But what about religious diversity? December is a month of multicultural celebrations honoring religions from around the world:
- Saint Nicholas Day (Christian) During the Feast of Saint Nicholas, children leave their shoes out and St. Nicholas fills them with candy, small toys, and fruit. Learn more.
- Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican) This feast commemorates the appearance of the Virgin Mary (Mexico’s patron saint) to a man living in Mexico City in 1531. Learn more.
- St. Lucia Day (Swedish) The Feast of Saint Lucy kicks off the Christmas season in Scandinavia. This Swedish tradition celebrates St. Lucia, a Christian martyr. Learn more.
- Hanukkah (Jewish) This eight day celebration commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Learn more.
- Christmas Day (Christian) Although characterized by giving gifts, this holiday commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. Learn more.
- Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish) The day after Christmas, this holiday is celebrated as another day of gift giving. Learn more.
- Kwanzaa (African American) This week long celebration honors family, culture, and community. Learn more.
- Omisoka (Japanese) Celebrated on the last day of the year, this spiritual holiday is celebrated with a feast and a visit to Shinto shrines. Learn more.
Language Arts is a major component of the elementary school curriculum. From phonics to spelling, grammar, and vocabulary, to reading and writing, books greatly influence our literacy and language skills. December gives teachers a chance to spread the holiday cheer while allowing students to embrace and share their heritage through reading holiday books!
Holiday Books Your Students Will Adore
One of the easiest ways to get kids excited about reading is find a story that means something, a story they can connect with and relate to. Even before you deck the halls, deck your classroom with these holiday books for kids of all faiths:
- “The Night Before Christmas” by Charles Santore, about Christmas Eve.
- “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” by Robert L. May, about an unusual reindeer who ends up saving the day.
- “A Charlie Brown Christmas” by Charles M. Schulz and Vicki Scott, about Charlie’s search for the true meaning of Christmas.
- “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg, about one child’s journey to the North Pole.
- “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss, about the infamous green grouch who tries to ruin Christmas for Whoville.
- “The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition” by Carol Aebersold, Chanda Bell, and Coe Steinwart, about Santa’s elves checking up on children to see who’s been naughty and who’s been nice.
- “Merry Christmas, Peppa!” by Melanie McFadyen, about one of children’s favorite characters Peppa Pig! After playing too rough, she wonders if it truly will be a very merry Christmas.
- “I Love You Snow Much” by Sandra Magsamen, about some holly jolly snowmen and their holiday festivities.
- “Tom and Jerry’s Merry Christmas” by Samuel Archer about everyone’s favorite cat and mouse…who find the perfect gifts for each other!
- “How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah?” by Jane Yolen, about joyful little dinosaurs who learn Happy Chanukah is said with love, joy, memory, and gratitude.
- “Latke, the Lucky Dog” by Ellen Fischer, about a puppy who is adopted the first night of Hanukkah and named after golden potato pancakes.
- “Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy” by Don Freeman, illustrated by Lisa McCue, about a moveable bear and his friends as they light the menorah.
- “Shmelf the Hanukkah Elf” by Greg Wolfe, illustrated by Howard McWilliam, about one of Santa’s hard working elves, Shmelf, who learns that some children did not make Santa’s list because they celebrate Hanukkah!
- “An Adventure in Latkaland: A Hanukkah Story” by Karen Fisman, about a boy named Jacob and his family who are visited by a mysterious guest on the first night of Hanukkah.
- “The Night Before Hanukkah” by Natasha Wing, that teachers the traditions of this eight-day celebration.
- “My First Kwanzaa” by Karen Katz, that teaches babies and toddlers about the seven days of Kwanzaa.
- “Together for Kwanzaa” by Juwanda G. Ford, about Kayla and her family as they wonder if Khari will make it home in time for the celebration after a big snowstorm.
- “Seven Days of Kwanzaa” by Melrose Cooper is a fun twist on the 12 Days of Christmas song.
- “Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa” by Donna L. Washington about Li’l Rabbit and his search for a special treat for his sick grandma.
- “My First Kwanzaa Book” by Deborah Chocolate which follows a family as they come together to celebrate this age old tradition.
These holiday books are great for even your youngest students!
Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat, so get ready for the holidays with a little Christmas Magic. This is a fun show that features magical adventures with Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty The Snowman, The Grinch, and for larger events, even a visit from the one and only Santa Claus! I offer three variations to fit your needs but all three offer lighthearted humor, music, and audience participation for a show the whole family will enjoy! Click here to learn more.