Do you need a few more activities to finish off the year? Let’s embrace the children’s excitement with educational, yet fun activities! In the 12 TEACHING IDEAS FOR THE HOLIDAYS, you will find language arts ideas to help keep your students engaged and learning through the excitement!  You can also grab a freebie below, so jump on the sleigh and take a ride through this post! HO! HO! HO!

Here are some ideas!


Below you will find some synonyms to use for the holidays. You can write them on card stock for students to use in your class. Make sure to shuffle the cards! Then play concentration. The first student turns two cards over to see if they match as synonyms. If they don’t match, that student turns them back over in the same spot and the it is the next student’s turn. It is best to play in pairs or small groups. Continue playing until all the cards are matched. The student with the most matches wins the game. Then have students write the answers on a sheet of paper.

Examples to use:

Santa Claus – Saint Nicholas
merry – jolly
bells – chimes
naughty – bad
reindeer – caribou
caroling – singing
generous – giving
baby – infant
presents – gifts
Scrooge – miser
peaceful – calm
stuffing – dressing
reunion – gathering
relatives – family
shop – store

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Below you will find some holiday-themed words to use for alphabetical order. Write the following words on cardstock. Cut the cards out and shuffle them. Have students arrange them in ABC order. Once placed in order, write the answers on a sheet of paper.

angel, anticipation, garland, grinch, Hanukah, jingle bells, jolly, menorah, presents, poinsettia, pumpkin pie, relatives, rooftop, Rudolf, Santa, sleigh, stockings, wonderland, wrapping, wreath

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This is a creative writing activity and craft. Have students write a letter to Rudolph telling him what they would do if they had a nose that glowed. Then draw a picture of themselves with a glowing nose. Call it: If I had a Nose That Glowed!


  • 12 X 18 red or green construction paper
  • 9 X 12 white paper
  • Paper to write the final copy
  • Crayons, scissors, and glue
  • Something for the nose:  glitter, tinsel, gumdrop, pompom, mini ornament


1.  Write a letter to Rudolph telling him what you would do if you had a nose that glowed.
2.  Draw your face. (You can give them a circle template)
3.  Paste the nose on their drawing.
4.  Optional:  cut out the face.
5.  On 12 X 18 paper, glue the face on one side and the letter on the other.

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This is a great conversation text! Go to the article:  Decorating Before Thanksgiving Do or Don’t by Anna Claire Vollers. After reading the text, have students form their own argument. Fill out a graphic organizer with three reasons, write a rough draft, revise, edit, then write a final copy. I like to have them illustrate their opinion too! If your students have tablets, you can create a barcode for them to scan to get to article.

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Here is another freebie great for writing-  These printable templates can be traced or printed for bulletin boards! Use them for decoration and/or for writing assignments!


It is time for a research project! There are great websites out there to have students research how different countries celebrate the holidays this time of year. Once you have the websites you want to use, put it in a PowerPoint with the links or codes to scan. Have students choose different countries to research. Have students find these things from that country.

1.  Flag
2.  Location of the country
3.  How to say Merry Christmas
4.  3 History Facts
5.  Environment/Climate
6.  3 Holiday Traditions
7.  Recipe

You can have students dress a paper doll with traditional clothing from that country. While students are presenting, have other students take notes on that country so they can learn about many of the traditions around the world!

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I don’t know about your students, but my little cherubs love to color! If you are crafty with the computer, you can insert a holiday graphic into a Powerpoint. (Choose one that has many complete shapes to use for different colors.) Decide on which parts of speech you want to teach. Create words related to the holidays and the beach and call it PARTS OF SPEECH AT THE BEACH. Then insert the text for each little section of the graphic. Here are some examples of parts of speech to use for holidays:

Rudolph’s Red-Nosed Nouns:
Proper Nouns- Santa, Rudolf, Christmas, North Pole
Singular Common Nouns- wreath, gift, tree, ornament, elf, bell, toy
Plural Common Nouns- toys, noses, children
Singular Possessive Nouns- wave’s, sun’s, star’s, decoration’s, wreath’s, angel’s, snowman’s
Plural Possessive Nouns- umbrellas’, beaches’

Making A List of Verbs:
Present-Tense Verbs-  reaches, hope, wishes, raises, hear, buy, toss, give
Past-Tense Verbs- planned, flew, swam, sipped, tried, sang, wrapped, checked
Future-Tense Verbs- will wave, will pack, will smile
Linking Verbs- was is, am are, were

Santa’s Parts of Speech at the Beach- All 8 parts of speech
Singular Nouns- seashell, towel, umbrella,
Plural Nouns- waves, beaches
Pronouns- they, she, him
Action Verbs- buried, surfing, standing, hurries, crashes
Linking Verbs- were, is are, was, am
Adjectives- happy, sunny, twelve, sandy
Adverb- quickly, today
Articles- the, a ,an
Conjunctions- but, or, and
Prepositions- under, after, over, until
Interjections- Help!, Ouch!

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This activity can be used with any picture. This one is free in my store! It is a great way to encourage a critical thinking conversation. It works well on the smart board for whole group discussion or printed off for group discussion. You will be amazed at how much students will notice, think, and wonder about one illustration!

Students should:

NOTICE:  What do you notice in the image? Look closely at all the details. What do you see? 
THINK: Think deeper. With the things you noticed in the image, what are you thinking about? What may be happening when the image was created?
WONDER: Think even deeper. What do you wonder about the image? What does it make you question? What needs more clarification?

Download this resource for free!


How do I set this up for my class? This is a great time of year to study legends! My favorite legend at this time of year is Legend of the Poinsettia. I like to have students make a poinsettia as a craft to go along with the text. You can google how to do this!

Monday:  Have a discussion about legends. What are legends? They are old stories that are widely believed but cannot be proven to be true. Then discuss the elements of a legend. Choose a legend to read to your students and discuss why it is a legend. In groups, have students read a legend together. Then have them write a summary and make a connection to the story.

Tuesday:  Choose another legend. Write a summary and find the author’s craft or imagery in the story.

Wednesday:  Choose another legend. Write a summary, then explain a quote from a character that is meaningful to the story.

Thursday:  Choose another legend. Write a summary, then pick out the different story elements.

Friday:  Create your own legend from a holiday item. Make poinsettias!

A list of other holiday legends:

  • Legend of St. Nicholas
  • Legend of the Candy Cane
  • Legend of the Christmas Witch
  • Legend of the Christmas Stocking

I mix in other legends as well!

Check out this blog post on LEGENDARY MENTOR TEXT!

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Read about when Christmas got canceled back in the 1600’s! Here is one article:.  An Outlaw Christmas. There are others with more information. Then have a discussion. Some ideas to do with the information:

  • Cause and Effect:  Discuss the cause and effect strategies (because- why, effect- what happened) Then ask cause and effect questions like: What is the effect of this sentence? King Charles II was restored to his throne. Answer: Christmas was celebrated again.
  • Timeline:  Give students dates from the article and ask them to create a timeline (with even increments) and tell what happened on those dates.
  • Context Clues:  Use the words and sentences around the word to figure out the meaning. Some words that you will find in this topic: abolish, banned, rejoice, outlaw, purify.
  • Text Evidence: Ask questions about the article using evidence from the text.
  • People:  Have students tell about the important people involved in the decisions to cancel and restore Christmas.

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Get a copy of Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost. Read together and in groups have students analyze the poem. Here are items to analyze along with the answers!

  • Narrator:  A stranger going through someone’s woods
  • Sounds:  Sweep of easy wind, sweep of downy flake, harness bells
  • Rhyme Scheme:  AABA except the last stanza AAAA
  • Theme:  We all have ups and downs.  Deciding on keeping a promise or peaceful.
  • Setting:  Dark snowy woods
  • Tone:  Sad (deep, dark)  Joyful (easy wind, lovely)
  • Repetition:  And miles to go before I sleep.  To show how far he still has to go or how tired he might be.


  • Why did they stop between the woods and lake?  Quiet and peaceful. Can forget his troubles.
  • What promises are there to keep?  He may have responsibilities or duties that are making him sad or stressed.
  • How did the horse communicate with the person?  Shake harness bells
  • What do you think will happen next? Answers can vary.

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This lesson targets poetry, synonyms, action verbs, adjectives, and feelings. First, have students brainstorm synonyms for the holiday season. Although the examples below are from Christmas, if a student celebrates a different holiday around this time of year, allow them to brainstorm synonyms related to their holiday. Another option would be to brainstorm synonyms related to winter!

Directions for a Cinquain:

Line 1:  Subject (One word)
Line 2:  Two words to describe the subject
Line 3:  Three action verbs, each ending in -ing
Line 4:  Four to six words to describe or show feelings about the subject
Line 5:  Synonym for the subject (one word)


Santa Claus
Jolly, generous
Packing, flying, sneaking
Gives presents under my tree
Saint Nicholas
Synonyms that can be used:
Santa Claus – Saint Nicholas
carol – song
yuletide – noel
caribou – reindeer
presents – gifts
ornaments – bulbs
Scrooge – miser
stuffing – dressing
bells – chimes
decorations – trimmings
Frosty – snowman
reunion – gathering
relatives – family

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Have students write different examples of figurative language using a holiday theme! It is so much fun to watch the kids giggle as they creatively write their examples.

Here are some questions to use:

Santa’s Similes- see below for free worksheet!

Mrs. Claus’s Metaphors-  Santa’s beard is a cotton ball cloud.

  • Rudolf’s nose is a ____.
  • Frosty’s spirit is _____.
  • The elf’s ears are _____.
  • The fireplace was a _____.

Angel’s Alliterations-  Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer rides rapid roller coasters.

  • Santa _________
  • Grinch ___________
  • The trees _____________

Prancer’s Personification-  Prancer danced and sang around the other reindeer.

  • The sleigh _____
  • The lights _____
  • A toy ________

Holiday Hyperbole-  The lights were so bright that they lit up the whole world.

  • The sleigh was so full that _____.
  • Frosty was so hot that ______.
  • The angel flew so high that ______.

Onomatopoeia Ornaments-  I heard Santa’s sleigh whiz through the sky.

  • Did you hear the horse ____ in the stable?
  • The icicle melted and ____ down to the ground.

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Santa’s Similes

Free worksheet- fill in the blank for each holiday-themed simile!

All of these items are bundled together for a discounted price:


I hope you got some great ideas to use in your classroom this holiday season! I wish you a very Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays!!!!!

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