Author: Chris S Published on: Nov. 28, 2018 Expected Reading Time: 7 mins
It's here again: That most magical time of year when perfectly-wrapped gifts sit under perfectly-decorated trees, when goodwill and festive cheer prevail, and when children begin counting down the days until Santa’s arrival.
Yes, Christmas is upon us once again, and for ESL teachers, that means an extra reason to get excited.
Because the holiday presents an opportunity to create some truly unique and engaging lessons which help students to really embrace the joy of learning.
From quizzes, carols, and creative projects to vocabulary lessons, language discussions and more, there's so much you can do to bring the festive season into your teaching, but if you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry:
Help is at hand.
As our holiday gift to you, we've scoured the web to bring you the very best lesson plans, worksheets, tools and activities that you can use with your students throughout the Christmas period.
How to Host a Christmas Dinner - Video Comprehension Lesson
ESOL Courses offer a whole host of festive-themed lesson tools that are every bit as engaging as they are enjoyable. With so much on offer, don't be surprised if we visit them again before the end of this guide.
For now, let's get things underway with this fun, interactive listening comprehension exercise aimed at intermediate learners.
After watching a short video, students are invited to work through a simple quiz to test their understanding with the answers provided.
Of course, the video itself offers plenty of opportunity for further discussion about the holiday, home life and social gatherings.
One Stop English is another invaluable resource that deserves a place in the bookmarks of any good ESL teacher.
Of all their available activities, we found their Christmas Webquest to be among the best.
Comprised of four different activities with plenty of discussion topics and questions, there's enough here that you could actually use the Webquest to plan out multiple lessons.
Together, this covers subjects such as the history of Christmas, holiday traditions around the world and, naturally, a whole section dedicated to Santa himself. Though the level of questions may make it unsuitable for beginners, the Christmas Webquest can be used to inspire your own activities and discussion points.
Meanwhile, intermediate and advanced students are sure to find lots to keep them fully absorbed in learning.
Mog's Christmas Calamity
Visiting the ISL Collective's website, you'll find a wealth of enjoyable, video-based lessons aimed at younger learners, many of them featuring well-known characters like Peppa Pig, the Minions and good old Mickey Mouse himself.
Of all these, we found this quiz, based around a short, sweet little video called Mog's Christmas Calamity to be the most fun for students at a beginner level.
Unlike the Christmas Dinner video lesson we mentioned earlier, ISL's lessons don't allow students to interact with the screen in order to answer the provided questions. However, the questions can be used as points of discussion for lessons based on verbal skills, or even used to create your own worksheets for written tasks.
Interactive Christmas Quizzes
TES is an online marketplace that allows teachers to buy and sell learning resources. As such, this bumper pack of 20 individual resources is the only one on our list that you'll have to pay for.
However, with the cost of most resources coming in at only around $3, we'd say this is money well-spent.
Though not all of TES' Christmas-themed educational resources are appropriate for ESL students, the range of fun, interactive quizzes they have on offer are certainly worth and can prove to be an entertaining addition to those end-of-year lessons when student's minds are more on the upcoming holiday than on their studies.
Christmas Word Games
Recently featured in our pick of the ‘Top Five Websites to Supercharge your Lesson Plans’, TeacherVision's enormous catalog of resources is just one of the reasons why it remains so popular among US teachers.
As you'd expect, TeacherVision offers a great selection of resources tied into the holidays, with these enjoyable Christmas Word Games ranking right up there among our favorites.
An excellent learning tool to help both beginner and intermediate students learn new vocabulary, you can access this -along with two other premium resources- with a free TeacherVision account. Alternatively, premium members can download as many Christmas learning resources as they like for just a few dollars per month.
Christmas Vocabulary Lesson
Sticking with the theme of Vocabulary, the BBC and British Council have teamed up to create a range of seasonal activities which, though primarily aimed at UK students, still work well as ESL resources.
Here, you'll find a comprehensive, highly-detailed lesson plan with links to lots of additional resources and videos, along with worksheets for students to complete throughout the lesson.
In total, there's enough material here to deliver a Christmas-based lesson of up to 90 minutes. It's also important to point out that the material itself can be easily adapted for use with students of all ages and abilities.
Home Alone Video exercises
It just wouldn't be Christmas without watching a young McCauley Culkin defend his home from a couple of ne'er-do-wells, would it?
Sure, Home Alone is a fun movie, but here, ISL collective contributors have turned it into an equally-as-entertaining video lesson aimed at intermediate and advanced students.
The "Booby Traps" exercise is a great way for students to practice action verbs, while the exercise based on the film's trailer is ideal for those looking for a festive listening comprehensive tool.
Both provide a good laugh too, making them perfect for introducing the Christmas theme into lessons, or as a way to bring lessons to a close in a lighthearted fashion.
Complete Christmas Lesson Plan for ESL Teachers
Designed by ESL teacher Shelby Fox, this is a comprehensive, well laid out plan that offers students the opportunity to learn phrasal verbs, practice Christmas-based vocabulary and brush up on conversational English related to the holiday.
The plan combines a number of exercises which can be tailored to students of all ages and even ideas for further learning and homework.
Handouts Online have a broad range of ESL worksheets, with comprehensive teaching notes included.
Here, you'll find a good number of sheets based on Christmas with options for students of different ages and learning levels.
The Christmas Error Correction board game is one of our highlights, although worksheets based on festive phrasal verbs and basic sentence transformations are equally as useful.
A number of these worksheets can be downloaded for free, though some require Handouts Online membership, which costs just $22 per year and grants you access to the website's huge collection of ESL worksheets.
Create a Christmas Advent Calendar
Another invaluable lesson plan from One Stop English, this one is primarily aimed at younger learners and comes with a number of activities that teach about holiday traditions.
By playing word games, decorating Christmas trees and even coming up with their own traditional advent calendar, students will be able to reinforce their understanding of the singular and plural forms of the verb 'be' and enhance their vocabulary at the same time.
If you're not already a One Stop English member, you'll need to sign up for their 30-Day free trial to access this lesson plan.
Learn English with Christmas Songs
Finally, we come back to ESOL Courses for this wonderful reading lesson centered around our favorite festive tunes.
Songs are not only a magical part of the festive tradition, but they also make a great addition to lessons. Here, you'll find gap-fill exercises, multiple-choice exercises and vocabulary lessons based on a number of both modern and traditional holiday favorites.
More Top Tips for Christmas Learning
Looking for more ideas on how you can incorporate the holiday into your lessons?
Why not try some of these?
Writing greetings cards
Discuss the tradition of greetings cards and have students design and write their own.
Letters to Santa Claus
Younger learners will have a great time putting together their wish-list for old Saint Nick.
Take time out to watch classics like Charles Dickins' A Christmas Carol or another age-appropriate movie.
You can then use these movies as a focal point for discussions about the holiday.
Lots of cultures have their own holiday traditions. A discussion can be a great way to practice speaking and listening while also learning about other cultures.
Do you have your own top tips on how to bring a little festive fun into your ESL Lessons? Are there other Christmas learning resources we should know about? Let us know in the comments below.