Christmas lesson plans that combine educational experiences with holiday themes make for a fun December season for your students.
As the holidays approach, I like to use lessons that explore the season in a fun way. I find that shorter lessons and activities that spark students’ interests allow time for the various other activities that happen at this busy time of year.
Below, I’ve outlined some of my favourite lessons to use with my students. All of these assignments and activities include detailed lesson plans, printable sheets for your students, and assessment rubrics. Ideas for differentiation and options for going paperless are also included. I know your class will enjoy these Christmas lesson plans.
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What is Christmas, and Why is it Celebrated?
These days, when you think of Christmas, you might picture busy malls, bustling with shoppers and decorated with huge Christmas trees and other festive decorations. You might also think of the nativity scene, showing Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus.
Regardless of what comes to mind, Christmas is considered to be a big holiday, especially in North America. In Christianity, Christmas marks the birth of Jesus Christ, but as the years have passed, the holiday has become more commercialized, with holiday shoppers spending more than one trillion dollars during the Christmas season.
There are many traditions that families take part in during Christmas, one of which is the Winter Solstice. The winter solstice falls just before Christmas and is the shortest day of the year (the longest day being the Summer Solstice, which occurs in June).
Whether the Christmas celebration is a spiritual one or not, it can be agreed that the Christmas season is a time when family and friends come together to celebrate, eating good food and usually exchanging presents.
Engaging Christmas Lesson Plans
Middle School Christmas Unit
This engaging Middle School Christmas Unit contains 6 different activities that will help reinforce your students’ reading and writing skills. Students will learn about the historical background of Christmas traditions and prepare for a holiday-themed discussion about current Christmas customs. Find this resource on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.
The Christmas Truce of 1914
I use this Christmas Truce of 1914 lesson to complement my History curriculum. In this lesson, students understand the importance and impact of the Christmas Truce of 1914. With the use of a media analysis of a modern-day commercial, an oral presentation, and a written response, students demonstrate their knowledge in this multi-day mini-unit. Find this resource on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.
Christmas Creative Writing Assignment
I love sharing RAFT (Role, Audience, Format, Topic) assignments in my writer’s workshop. It gives students choices and is a fun opportunity for them to share their creativity and their writing skills. Choices of the format in this Christmas Creative Writing Assignment include those both heavy in writing (i.e. a formal letter) and those more media based (i.e. an infographic). Given the various topics and choices, there is sure to be something for everyone in your class. Find this resource on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.
Christmas Writing Prompts
Collaborative writing is a wonderful way for students to practice both their writing skills and reading skills. With these Christmas Writing prompts, students must read the lines of the story created by their peers as they select what to write on the next line. In doing so, each person has a final story created by the entire class or their small group. In this assignment, I’ve included fun Christmas-themed story starters sure to engage your students in a fun extension of your writer’s workshop activities. Find this resource on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.
Save money & get the bundle!
The Middle School Christmas Activities bundle contains 5 different lessons to complete with your classes during the month of December:
- Global Holiday Celebrations Research Assignment
- Christmas Truce of 1914 Media Analysis Unit
- Middle School Christmas Unit
- Christmas Writing Prompts
- New Year’s Goal Setting Activity
Are you looking for lessons that aren’t Christmas lesson plans?
Winter Creative Writing
In this assignment, students will complete a RAFT activity about various Winter activities. While writing in role, students will get to test their skills of directing their language toward a certain audience and explore multiple forms of writing. Usually, I’ll have students select one or two roles depending on the time available. This assignment can be used as a follow-up or an alternative to the Christmas Creative Writing assignment. Find this resource on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.
Winter Digital Escape Room, Winter Sports Digital Escape Room, and Snow-Themed Digital Escape Room
Digital escape rooms are a fantastic way to encourage working together and out-of-the-box thinking in the classroom.
- The Winter Digital Escape Room has students solving 10 hot chocolate-themed challenges to escape the cafeteria supply closet they accidentally got locked in.
- The Winter Sports Digital Escape Room has students solving 10 sports-themed challenges to escape the library supply closet they accidentally got locked in.
- The Snow-Themed Digital Escape Room has students solving 10 snow-themed challenges to escape the basement supply closet they accidentally got locked in.
All digital escape rooms provide a background story for students that starts the theme of the challenge. They will then have videos, puzzles, reading comprehension activities, and more as they work their way through the challenges to escape.
Global Holiday Celebrations
In this assignment, students research and explore a holiday they are not familiar with. With many of our classrooms and our world, in general, having such a diverse population, I think it’s important for students to learn about other cultures and traditions. Included in this assignment are guiding questions to aid their research and opportunities to share new learning in an oral presentation format. Find this resource on Shopify CAD or Teachers Pay Teachers USD.
New Year’s Goal Setting
Setting goals and having students reflect on themselves as a learner is an important life skill. This activity is full of questions and discussion points to get students purposefully talking about their triumphs, successes, and areas of improvement in the hopes of identifying a personal goal and a plan of action. Find this resource here.
Any one of these activities will definitely engage your students in quality learning this holiday season. Use these holiday lesson plans for middle school to help reduce your planning and stress load during this busy season.
How can I Celebrate Christmas in the Classroom?
There are so many ways you can celebrate Christmas in the middle school classroom.
- Read Christmas books. There are lots of Christmas-themed books available, as well as winter-themed ones if you can’t celebrate Christmas. Have your students pick their favourites and create a display in the classroom.
- Do a digital escape room with your students. This Christmas-Themed Digital Escape Room has 10 Christmas/world geography-focused challenges. Students must solve these challenges to find the escaped gingerbread men as they travel around the world to avoid being captured.
- A lot of people enjoy buying gifts for people during the holiday season, so this is a fantastic time to dive into any of these podcast listening comprehension lessons about shopping (these also work great as sub plans!):
- With gifts being given, some people find the need to go through their belongings and find items to donate. Students will love to learn about Donation Bins and where donated items go.
- Learn all about the history of Santa Claus in this History.com article.
- Organize a gift exchange between students. This does not have to cost money – have students create a special piece of artwork for their peers!
- Learn about the history of Christmas and its origins.
- Have students create Christmas decorations for the classroom.
- Watch a Christmas-themed movie with Christmas or winter-themed snacks such as hot cocoa or sugar cookies.
Books to Celebrate Christmas
As with a lot of holidays throughout the year, Christmas can be found as the subject in a lot of books. Picture books are a great way to introduce seasonal themes in the middle school classroom and explore important topics. As they are both engaging and accessible, picture books are a wonderful way to learn more about holidays such as Christmas.
- Deck the Halls: A Canadian Christmas Carol by Helaine Becker, illustrated by H. Werner Zimmermann – This book is a delightful and humorous retelling of the classic Christmas carol, “Deck the Halls,” with a uniquely Canadian twist. The book follows the adventures of two young siblings, Zach and Zoe, as they embark on a quest to save Christmas in Canada.
- Dashing Through the Snow by Helaine Becker, illustrated by H. Werner Zimmermann – This playful and humorous picture book follows the misadventures of Santa Claus as he prepares for his annual Christmas Eve journey. The book provides a behind-the-scenes look at Santa’s North Pole operations and the challenges he faces in getting ready for the big night.
- A Porcupine in a Pine Tree by Helaine Becker, illustrated by H. Werner Zimmermann – This book is a Canadian twist on the classic holiday song, “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” The book follows the antics of a lovable porcupine as he receives a series of quirky and uniquely Canadian gifts from his true love. Starting with the gift of a porcupine in a pine tree, each day brings a new addition to the porcupine’s holiday collection. From two caribou to three beavers, four Mounties, and so on, the porcupine’s gifts become increasingly unconventional and comical.
- Finding Christmas by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko – Julie is very excited about Christmas and is on a mission to find her Christmas presents! Unfortunately, when she finally finds them, something happens that creates a surprise for her whole family on Christmas!
- One Wild Christmas by Nicholas Oldland – Bear, Moose, and Beaver are on a mission to find the perfect Christmas tree – the last of their Christmas decorations. But just as Beaver is about to chop down the tree, Bear stops him. Can they have a perfect Christmas without the perfect tree?
- Bear Stays Up For Christmas by Karma Wilson, illustrated by Jane Chapman – Learn about one of the best gifts of all with this heartwarming tale of a Bear who just wants to stay up for Christmas.
- The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg – This classic book is all about the magic of believing when Christmas comes around. A young boy wakes up to the sound of ringing bells, only to discover a magical train in his yard that ends up taking him on quite the adventure.
There are lots of amazing Christmas books. If you’re looking for even more Christmas-themed books for your middle schoolers, check out some of these lists:
- Fun and Festive Christmas Picture Books for Children
- 50 Best Christmas Picture Books For Kids in 2023
As with any holiday celebration, remember to be respectful of any cultural or religious differences in your classroom. If celebrating Christmas is an issue in your classroom, you can always incorporate winter-themed activities that are appropriate for all students. Use these Christmas lesson plans to help your students stay focused and enjoy the holiday season.
Additional Christmas Resources
- Teacher Gift Guide 2021
- Teacher Gift Guide 2022
- December Lesson Plans
- December Lesson Plans for Middle School ELA