If you are a teacher looking for ESL ideas for the Christmas season or a parent who wants to help a child improve his or her English while on vacation, then this post is for you. This list of free resources, and ideas can help you make any English class fun and educational without having to spend a lot of time creating your own flashcards, booklets and teaching materials.
Common Christmas Flashcards - Can be printed with only the pictures or with pictures and words.
Flashcards of the Story of the First Christmas - Various bilingual versions are available for free download:
Stories & Comics
The Story of the First Christmas - This story accompanies the flashcards listed above. You can also watch the video in English for further review. Click on one of the following links to download the book that is best for your class:
The Home of Your Heart – A simple children’s comic explaining the true meaning of Christmas.
Songs are catchy, making it easy for kids to remember English words. Here are some good ones for little kids or new learners:
Jingle Bells – This classic song is so well known that kids are almost expected to learn it
I’d like to be a Christmas Tree – Another simple yet classic song. It’s short and repetitive so young learners will grasp it easily. Click here for the lyrics.
We Wish You a Merry Christmas – This version is pretty simple for children to learn. Click here for the lyrics.
My Christmas Events (color or black and white): Christmas is a special time of year with plenty to look forward to! Print out this poster and write down some of the events you can enjoy this Christmas season. Are there Christmas outings or events you are planning? Write those down. Or maybe there will be baking projects, gift-wrapping for friends, or carol singing? Add those to the list, and see how your Christmas season fills up with fun-filled events that you can share with family and friends. (Courtesy of My Wonder Studio)
Christmas Card Frames – Printable Christmas cards for little children. The cards have borders but leave plenty of room for children to draw a picture on the outside and then write a short message on the inside. (Courtesy of My Wonder Studio)
Christmas Bingo – Can be printed in color or black and white. A great game for helping children remember the words learned from their Christmas flashcards.
Christmas stories and plays
The Story of the First Christmas - Available in various bilingual formats. Click on the download choice that is best for your classroom:
The Story of Santa Claus – The story of the first Santa Claus, available in various bilingual formats:
As Little Ones – A cute story for children. It can be downloaded as a coloring book to help kids learn the words and can also be adapted into a Christmas play for a small class.
Santa Claus’ Secret: A short play adapted from the book listed above. Text is in English and Traditional Chinese.
The Story of the First Christmas: A short play of the story of the First Christmas, adapted from the play in Treasure Attic: Christmas Friends (see link for video below)
Treasure Attic: Christmas Friends – A half-hour Christmas show that includes songs, stories and fun dialog that most children will understand fairly easily. Click here to watch it on Tudou.
The Story of the First Christmas – English with Simplified Chinese subtitles. It’s on Tudou, China’s video-sharing website, making it a good choice for ESL teachers in China.
Charlie Brown Christmas – A cute cartoon from the famous “Peanuts” comics about Christmas. Alternatively, this video shows the same story but is read slowly by a native English speaker. It’s on Tudou, China’s video-sharing website, making it a good choice for ESL teachers in China.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas – A classic cartoon about how the Grinch tried to steal Christmas from Whoville.
Jesus our Savior – This one is great to sing on stage as each child can have a part to sing. Click here to download the words.
Silent Night – Download the free bilingual coloring book so kids can learn the words easily:
Christmas Cards: Nothing shows love at Christmas like a basket full of Christmas cards. The holidays are often the one time of year we hear from long ago friends and distant family. For intermediate students, point out that many card senders often add a personal greeting before signing their name. Have these students design their own card and then personalize at least two with a little note at the bottom for different friends and family members. (Adapted from FluentU’s English Educator Blog)
Christmas Paper Stocking – Children learn how to make stockings for people in their family and then add papers listing kind deeds they want to do for people in their family. (Courtesy of My Wonder Studio)
Stories & Plays
Christmas Around the World: Learn about Christmas traditions in countries around the world as well as common traditions and decorations used worldwide. Available in the following bilingual formats:
A King is Born – The story of the first Christmas for older children.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas – The classic story by Dr. Seuss about a creature who learns to appreciate Christmas.
A Christmas Carol – There are many adaptations of this story but this one is likely to be the most interesting for older children. It is written as a comic book and the main characters are listed before the story begins, making it fairly easy to adapt into a Christmas play.
A Christmas Carol (reader) – If you want your class to practice reading the book instead of just listening to it, then this book will be perfect. It is a fairly advanced reader but not too hard for children who still need English reading practice.
The Christmas Star – An adaptation of a Mexican Christmas Legend. Can be downloaded in various bilingual formats:
A Christmas Guest – Adapted from a well-known Christmas legend. Can be downloaded in various bilingual formats:
Wise Men from the East – Epiphany (also known as Kings Day or Three Kings Day) is celebrated in countries in South America and Europe. If you want to teach your class about the history of the holiday then this presentation is ideal. It can be downloaded in various bilingual formats:
The Grinch who Stole Christmas: This play is an adaptation of the story of the Grinch done by a Christian school. The cast includes about 20 characters, making it ideal for large groups to perform; however, it can be adapted fairly easily for smaller groups.
A Christmas Carol (cartoon) – Cartoons aren’t just for little kids. This one uses old English words that you will need to explain to your students throughout the video. You will probably want to read one of the Christmas Carol books listed above before watching this half-hour cartoon.
Christmas Letters – Show your advanced students some examples of a Christmas letter, which some families write to catch up friends and family on the happenings of their spouse and children. Encourage your students to think about the past year, to identify important events and milestones, and then have them write a Christmas letter to include in their cards. (Adapted from FluentU’s English Educator Blog)
Christmas Word Puzzle - In this enjoyable puzzle worksheet, students race to write down 20 Christmas words by matching numbers to letters. Each student is given a copy of the worksheet. Working alone, the students look at the numbers for each word and find the corresponding letters in the chart on the worksheet. The students then write the Christmas word in the space provided. When a student thinks they have finished, their answers and spelling are checked. The first student to complete the worksheet correctly wins. When everyone has finished, the correct answers and meaning of each word are reviewed as a class. (Courtesy of TeachThis.com)
Christmas Word Search - In this entertaining worksheet, students have to find words relating to Christmas in a word search. This word search can be used to review spelling and Christmas vocabulary. An answer key is provided. (Courtesy of TeachThis.com)
Mammoth Christmas Crossword – This one is pretty challenging but can be great for advanced students. (Courtesy of My Wonder Studio)
12 Days of Christmas – A fun traditional Christmas carol. It’s a bit long but not too hard for advanced students. Click here for the words.
Joy to the World – A traditional Christmas carol.
O Holy Night – A traditional Christmas carol. Click here for the words.
Updated November 2017
Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada. This year (2017), Thanksgiving Day falls on the 23rd of November. (Explanation adapted from Wikipedia)
The following children’s stories, activities and videos are ideal for Thanksgiving. They can be used at home or in a classroom or Sunday School setting and will help children not only enjoy themselves but also remember the true meaning of the season.
Stories and Books
Bible Stories and Coloring Pages on Thankfulness
The Power of Praise - Dramatized story from 2. Chronicles 20 in comic form. The true story of how Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, won a battle over three larger, more powerful enemy armies through praise.
Jesus and the Ten Lepers - Bible story of Jesus healing the ten lepers.
Psalm 100 (Bilingual English/Spanish)
Psalm 148 - A Creation Praise (Bilingual English/Spanish)
Psalm 150 Coloring Book (Bilingual English/Spanish)
Crazily Cool Card Set: Praise and Thankfulness - Set of four Bible verse coloring pages for children.
Thanksgiving Bible Verse Coloring Pages - Great Bible verses to learn for the Thanksgiving season with cool pictures to color.
NEW! Printable Thanksgiving Activities for Children - A 20 page booklet including color by number coloring pages, word searches, word scramble, mazes, dot to dot, matching and more.
William Bradford and the First Thanksgiving - Activity Book (Meant to accompany the video by the same name; link for watching this video for free online is listed below.)
The First Thanksgiving Coloring Book (Bilingual English/Spanish)
Thanksgiving Coloring Pages
Five Senses Thanksgiving Coloring Book (To accompany the story listed above)
Thanksgiving arts and crafts for preschoolers
Cornucopia – Kid’s Horn of Plenty activity
Stand-up Pilgrim and Indian
William Bradford and the First Thanksgiving - The story of the how and why the Pilgrims first came to America, how they survived and the friendship between them and the local Indians who helped them learn how to adapt to a new land.
Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving - Classic children's cartoon
The Story of Thanksgiving - For preschoolers and young children. A short, humorous version of the story of Thanksgiving as told by Plymouth Rock.
Herbert and Bert Thanksgiving - Short video clip; ideal for young children but great for older children as well. Helps children remember that Thanksgiving is about more than eating turkey; it is about being thankful for our blessings on every day of the year.
Thank You for My Eyes - Children's music video from the "Kiddie Viddie" DVD series.
I Have All that I Need - Children's music video from the "Fantastic Friends" music video series. While the examples in the song are a bit dated, the concept of being thankful for what we have is still valid and the song points this out in a clear, thought-provoking manner.
NEW! A Bilingual Thanksgiving song for Kids - A cute Thanksgiving song about being thankful for all our blessings. The song starts off in Spanish and is then sung in English.