Whether you’re planning to cover a few last minute lessons before finals this semester or planning for next year, including an international holiday study into your curriculum is fun, educational and useful.

While the entire semester is filled with lessons of conjugating verbs, learning vocab and grading exams, the holidays are the perfect time to pack in a special learning experience. Use the time leading up to finals to focus on holiday cultures in other countries, celebrate American culture and have a glass of eggnog.

Here’s what to include in holiday language lessons and how to make it relevant for your course and your students!

  • Terminology: Compile a list of must-know holiday vocabulary for whichever language you teach. Be sure to include traditions, food, decorations, greetings, common gifts, religious terms and even popular winter or holiday activities. Encourage students to read holiday-themed blogs in the language they’re learning to learn more about holiday jargon.
  • Culture and Traditions: The web is the best way to learn about culture, especially around the holidays. Everything from winter styles, to Christmas music to favorite desserts can be easily found on the Internet. Find out about holiday traditions in other countries and try to find recipes to re-create foreign holiday goodies. Learning about Germany’s Christmas markets or nativity scenes in France is great for European languages and represents much of the Christmas culture. Learning about New Year’s traditions is also another great holiday lesson. Find out which movies are most popular during Christmas time and have a look at the holiday favorites! Movies are always a great peek into culture, especially animated flicks!
  • Real-Life (Or World) Application: Using your newfound skills in real-life, or world, in terms of other languages, is part of the fun of learning a new tongue! Most sites and postal service providers offer cheap international shipping over the holidays, so that might be the perfect time to order some foreign goodies. Find out what the country is known for around the holidays and place an order! Be careful when ordering anything perishable or fragile and be sure to place your order early enough so that you’ll receive it before finals. If possible, communicate with someone in that country about the holidays, their favorite memories, traditions and celebrations. Even if it’s just over Skype, it will be great for students to hear first hand! Have your students share about their favorite American holidays as well to create en excellent dialogue.

These holiday lessons will keep your students interested clear up until finals, a feat that’s not often easily accomplished. You can still work in your regular curriculum with these lessons and test students over whichever material you deem necessary. This lesson will be especially useful for students that have friends or family who are international, or who will spend a holiday abroad!

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