Classroom Activities: Christmas Countdown

November 28, 2018

Not really looking forward to watching The Nutcracker for the third consecutive year?

Here are some other constructive activity ideas designed to help ease your students (and yourself) into the holiday season.


The following activities are created for primary or elementary school students.

1. Read the Britannica article Christmas.

Christmas is about spending time with loved ones and the act of giving. Discuss with students the types of gifts that can be given that do not cost money but are an act of kindness and assistance. Ask students to create a Gift Book of Vouchers containing vouchers of free actions, such as “Valid for one setting of the dinner table” or “Valid for one hug.”

2. Students use the letters of the word CHRISTMAS to create an acrostic poem.

An acrostic poem is a short verse composition, constructed so that the initial letter of each line, taken consecutively, form words. Start with the topic idea, usually a word or phrase, arranged vertically down one side of the page. Next to each letter of the topic word, students then write down an idea starting with that letter. These ideas must be relevant to the topic idea.

3. Watch the Britannica video Christmas: Advent Calendar and Wreath

Discuss as a class what Christmas means to each student. Write brainstormed words or phrases on the board. Using creative art materials ask students to create an artistic response to the theme: “What Christmas means to me?”

Christmas Advent Calendar and Wreath
Advent calendars and wreaths are traditions associated with Christmas, a festival of the Christian religion. Click to watch the video in Britannica School. Britannica School / Contunico © ZDF Enterprises GmbH, Mainz

5. Listen to some Christmas carols and create actions to go with the song. Students can perform these to the class.

6. Design a Super Sleigh that assists Santa with the delivery of toys.

Include labels and a description of how the sleigh works. Conduct a Gallery Walk so students can examine each other’s designs.

4. Students create a Venn Diagram comparing Christmas to another festival celebrated in any country around the world. Use Britannica School as a starting point for student research.

Examples of festivals or celebrations students could try: Diwali, Ramadan, Chinese New Year, Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving or Hanukkah.

BRITANNICA SCHOOL: People in India light lamps to celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali. © Nikhil Gangavane/

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The following activities are created for middle school students.

1. Using grocery shop catalogues, ask students to create their Ultimate Christmas Feast.

Students can be asked to further calculate the ingredients they would need, before using the marked prices in the catalogues to determine the total cost of the meal.

2. Make a Feel Good Advent Calendar by creating deed cards that can be done each day of Advent e.g. help with cooking dinner.

3. Watch the Britannica video Christmas: Advent Calendar and Wreath.

Discuss as a class what Christmas means to each student. Write brainstormed words or phrases on the board. Students write a reflection, ‘What Christmas means to me?’

4. Students to design and make the ultimate Christmas toy that could be given at Christmas time as a gift.

5. Write a letter to a child in another part of the world describing what Christmas is like in your country.

6. Students create a timeline of celebrations throughout the year from around the world. Include a photograph of each celebration as well as a brief description.

Examples of festivals or celebrations you can suggest as a starting point: Diwali, Ramadan, Chinese New Year, Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Mahatma Gandhi, Boxing Day or Canada Day

7. Students select a country and research its Christmas customs.

Students use researched information to present their findings creatively to the rest of the class using tools like eMaze or PowerPoint. Examples of customs you can suggest as a starting point: Evergreen Tree, Gift Giving, Street Fair, Befana, Kwanzaa

Twelfth Night Befana
In Italy, the witch Befana customarily treats children to sweets and presents on Twelfth Night, the eve of the Christian holiday of Epiphany. Click to watch the video in Britannica School. Britannica School/© Contunico © ZDF Enterprises GmbH, Mainz

8. Discuss how businesses and companies use advertising, price and peer pressure to influence people to purchase particular goods and services at Christmas time.

Using this information students create an advertisement for the toy they designed and made earlier in the activities.

9. Source a variety of recyclable materials e.g. cardboard, paper straws, paper plates, bottle tops and coloured paper. Ask students to use these materials to create greeting cards for their friends and family.

10. Conduct a debate “Plastic Christmas trees are better for the Environment than real trees.”

Gallery walks, Last Updated: 06 October 2017
Christmas Around the World (Primary), FOR TEACHERS for students, accessed at, copyright © FOR TEACHERS for students

These activities and resources have been created using content from Britannica School, the go-to site for safe, comprehensive student research. Contact your librarian to find out if your institution already has access. Find out more about Britannica School or set up your own free trial.

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