Go fullscreen

December Celebrations ESL Lesson Plan

How December Holidays Bind Us Together

Student Level


Video Length: 2:27

Updated on: 12/10/2023

Lesson Time: 1–2 hrs.

1 Credit

Icon for Google note This lesson comes available in our new Google Slide E-Lesson Version!

Unlocking this lesson costs 1 credit and will give you full access to the printable lesson plan, interactive lesson plan, and teacher's guide. Click here to get credits.

December Celebrations ESL Lesson Plan Description


This December celebrations ESL lesson plan contains activities, PDF worksheets, and digital materials for C1 advanced students. By the end of the lesson, students will be able to describe a variety of holidays that are celebrated in the month of December in addition to just Christmas. They will also be able to talk about the cultural, historical, spiritual/religious significance of each holiday and what makes them unique. They will learn some history behind these holidays as well. 


At the start of this December celebrations ESL lesson plan, students write a holiday they celebrate in December. Then, they discuss some topics involved with this holiday (such as family, community, food, and heritage). They continue on to an activity in which they discuss what kind of rituals this holiday involves — such as lighting candles, exchanging gits, commemorating past events, or praying and worshipping. There are some images in the third exercise that students describe. They each show a holiday that is celebrated in December, and they must identify the holiday if they recognize it. They make some predictions about them if they don't recognize them.


Students watch a video featuring a variety of speakers from different cultural backgrounds. These speakers describe the holidays in December that they celebrate. These include Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa. They mention the signifcance of these holidays, the traditions and rituals associated with them, as well as some misconceptions about them. At the end, the speakers describe what binds all of these December celebrations together. Students answer some questions, and then must choose the words they hear the speakers use in some sentences.


After watching the video, students read and analyze the sentences from the second part of the viewing activity described above. They must try to define the highlighted words, and they answer some questions about these vocabulary terms. 

Students proceed to do a vocabulary matching activity that features words like:

Menorah - persecution - triumph - the winter solstice - enlightenment - ancestors - meditation - Lord Ganesha

This prepares students for the second video they watch on other celebrations around the world that take place in December.


Students watch a second video. In the video, a reporter discusses a few other celebrations around the world celebrated in December, including:

  • Bohdi Day
  • Dongzhi Festival
  • Pancha Ganapati

Students take some notes on the history, dates, and traditions of these celebrations and have a discussion about them.


The bonus grammar activity featured in this holiday season ESL lesson focuses on the participial phrases. See the example:

"Founded by a western convert named Robert Hansen, Pancha Ganapati is meant to be a Hindu alternative to western December holidays.”

Students do an activity on participial phrases in which they must convert two sentences into one, and use a participial phrase in it.

Benefits of using this ESL lesson plan about December celebrations:

Cultural Awareness: The lesson plan exposes students to a diverse range of December celebrations beyond Christmas, fostering cultural awareness and appreciation for various traditions around the world.

Critical Thinking: The discussion activities encourage students to think critically about the cultural, historical, and spiritual aspects of different holidays. Analyzing images and making predictions further stimulates their critical thinking skills.

Vocabulary: The lesson plan includes vocabulary activities that expose students to terms related to diverse celebrations, fostering vocabulary expansion. The matching activity reinforces understanding and usage of these terms.


Video Description

December is a month full of holidays, from religious to secular. Each is special in its own way, but as a whole they tell us so much about why we celebrate.

Lesson Activities


December Celebrations, Holidays, Cultural Significance


Short Answers, Choosing Correct Word, Note-Taking


Cultural Celebrations, Cultural Signficance


Participial Phrases


End-Of-The-Year December Celebrations (Second Video — Discussion)

Lesson Topics

December Celebrations, Holidays

Lesson Preview

Similar Lessons