The Christmas season is fun and exciting for teachers and students alike. But it is also critical to remember that not all students celebrate Christmas. And just as important, even if all (or the majority) of your students DO celebrate Christmas, as teachers we need to open their eyes to different cultures and their holiday celebrations. We don’t want our kids to believe that everyone celebrates Christmas, or that everyone celebrating Christmas is the norm everywhere (even if it is in your community). Here are some ideas and resources for incorporating diversity into the holiday season with holidays around the world.
Including Christmas in the Classroom
Remember that as long as you are incorporating diverse cultures into your curriculum ALL YEAR, it is acceptable to incorporate Christmas celebrations and traditions into your classroom in December. Keep in mind that December is not the time to shove random holidays from other cultures. Instead, these holidays should be taught around the time they are celebrated. For example, Diwalli is celebrated in October or November. Lunar New Year is celebrated in January or February. Hanukkah is November or December. So, do not give the misconception that people who celebrate these holidays celebrate at the same time as Christmas.
Multicultural Holiday Resources
If you are looking for some multicultural holiday resources, check these out!
1. Christmas Around the World Virtual Field Trip
This resource was created specifically to show students how people in various cultures celebrate Christmas. It is not intended to cover other holidays. Students will take a trip around the world to learn how different countries celebrate Christmas! Students will travel to the United States, Mexico, Germany, Egypt, and Australia.
2. Virtual Field Trips for Other Holidays
I purposely did not lump all of these holidays together. Each culture has unique celebrations, so at different times each celebration can be a lesson all of its own.
Check these out:
- India for Diwali
- Jerusalem for Hanukkah
- America for Kwanzaa
- Puerto Rico for Three Kings Day
- Beijing for Lunar New Year
3. Reading Comprehension Holidays Around the World Escape Room
Students travel around the world to visit Sweden for Saint Lucia Day, India for Diwali, China for Lunar New Year, America for Hanukkah. In this escape room, students are asked to complete four unique challenges. Each challenge requires students to read passages and answer multiple choice questions. Then, students add their answers to the Decoder Tool and complete each challenge to successfully travel around the world and collect stamps for their passports.
4. Holidays Around the World Project Based Learning
Holiday Helping Hands: Holiday Helping Hands is a project-based learning math project that involves using 2nd-5th grade math standards. Students help diverse families prepare for their special winter holidays. In this project, your students will meet five families who celebrate different winter holidays. Holidays Included: Hanukkah, Christmas, Las Posadas, Kwanzaa, Lunar New Year.
December is an exciting time for kids. As educators, we can use this excitement as a teaching tool to foster a love of learning about various cultures while working towards a world of acceptance and understanding.