The period leading up to Christmas is a great time to bring some festive joy, music and games into your classroom. It is also usually an incredibly busy time of the year, so to help you out, below are some fun, hands-on Christmas activities to try out in your classroom. The activates presented are aimed at teenagers and adults, but can be adapted for kids.

If you are looking specifically for some great Christmas classroom games for children, check out this article.

Christmas Carols and Songs

Incorporate some music into your classroom with Christmas carols and songs. You can base a listening lesson on a popular Christmas tune. Get your students to listen to a couple of songs or carols twice without any prompts. You could even show them a music video that goes with the song, for added entertainment, as Christmas music videos are usually very cheesy.

When selecting what carol or song to use for your lesson, remember that hearing and understanding words from songs can be much harder than from spoken recordings. Once your students hear the songs a couple of times, proceed to a listening activity, such as filling in the gaps in a printed out lyric or answering questions about the content of the songs or carols. An activity on the lyrics will help your students to familiarise themselves with the words and hopefully give them more confidence to have a go at singing the carols or Christmas songs with you. Don’t worry if you are a bad singer, it might even make your students more inclined to join in.

Christmas Mystery

Do you remember the game of Guess Who? In this game, two players raced to figure out which one of the 24 people pictured was selected by the other person. The players could only ask questions about the selected person’s appearance that could be answered with yes or no.

How about Cluedo? The game where a mystery crime takes place at the beginning of the game and the objective is to figure out by asking questions how, where and by whom the crime was committed.

The game of Christmas Mystery is a combination of Guess Who? and Cluedo. You will need to prepare cards with Christmas characters, such as Santa, Rudolf, Snowman, the elves, Mrs Claus, naughty children and so on – the more characters you think of the more challenging this hands-on Christmas activity will be.

Divide your class into small teams and then pair the groups. The first team, in secret from the other team, comes up with a mysterious Christmas crime and chooses which Christmas Character committed it. The second team’s objective is, by asking questions that can be answered with a yes or no, to figure out who committed the crime. You can set a limit on the number of questions that can be asked before a guess has to be made to keep the game snappy. Each person on each team should ask or answer at least one question.

Christmas Charades and Pictionary

Christmas charades and Christmas Pictionary are both very hands-on activities that involve almost identical preparation. You will need a set of Christmas related terms written down on separate bits of paper. You can pick your own terms to match your student’s level of English, or you can use this free pre-prepared set. For Pictionary, you will also need a board or some paper for your student to draw on. Explain the rules, divide your students into small groups and let the fun begin. Both charades and Pictionary are fun ways for your students to practice and recall new Christmas vocabulary. For even more vocabulary games have a look at this resource.

Classroom Decorations

This hands-on Christmas activity is a way of adding a bit of colour to a grammar and vocabulary lesson about expressing desires for the future. While teaching how to use ‘to wish’, ‘to dream’, ‘to want’ and ‘to hope’ get your student to produce a Christmas chain that you can later hang in the classroom. You will need strips of coloured paper and tape for this activity. Firstly, demonstrate to your students what you would like them to do: write a wish on a strip of paper, get a bit of Sellotape and make a loop out of the strip. Then repeat the steps, making sure you link your second strip through the first one when making a loop out of it, hence creating a chain. Distribute the strips of paper between your students and ask them to write their Christmas wishes on individual strips of paper and add them to the classroom’s Christmas chain.

Christmas Cards

Sharing Christmas cards with friends and family is a popular custom in the UK, but many countries do not have this tradition. Structuring a lesson around Christmas cards offers a great opportunity to teach your class about a bit of British culture and get them to practice their writing skills.

Bring in some Christmas cards, or you can make it even more of a hands-on Christmas activity by getting your student to make their own in the class. Compose a sample Christmas greeting with your students. This can be very simple or more elaborate depending on your students’ level.

Alternatively, you can prepare Christmas cards with fill-in-the-gaps messages inside. Give each student an envelope with the name of one of the other students in the classroom written on it. Then get your students to write Christmas wishes for the person named on their envelope. At the end of the lesson ask your students to exchange cards and remind them to wait until Christmas Day to open their cards.

With a bit of creativity almost any classroom game can become Christmas themed – Christmas Match Up, Christmas Bingo or Christmas Two Truths and A Lie. What hands-on Christmas activities do you use in your classroom? Share your ideas with us in comments below, or on our Facebook page.

About the Author

Aleks Kaye loves cooking, skiing and learning. She completed a part-time CELTA course, while working full-time at a university in the UK. She is currently travelling across Canada with her husband David and blogging about it at

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