Christmas Discussion Questions for ESL Students

Instructor: Yolanda Reinoso Barzallo

Yolanda holds a CELTA Cambridge, a Juris Doctorate, and a Master of Public Administration. She is a published author of fiction in Spanish.

Your ESL students may or may not celebrate Christmas, but Christmas is a main holiday in the English-speaking world, so they should learn about it and know how to discuss it. This lesson gives you some questions for interesting discussions about Christmas.

Christmas in English

When you teach ESL, you often work with students of diverse backgrounds. Many of them may not celebrate Christmas while others celebrate it differently from the way your culture does. Whatever the case, it is always important to involve students in the topic so that they do not feel culture is a barrier for them to practice English.

To go beyond the culture barrier, you could ask students to tell you what Christmas means to them. You could encourage them by giving your own answer. For example, 'Christmas means time with my family and a great dinner.'

You could also ask 'What do you know about Christmas?' or 'Would you agree Christmas looks colorful and fun and why?' to students who do not celebrate it. This elicits answers that include the use of Christmas vocabulary and colors.

With this introduction, tell students that Christmas is a huge celebration in the English-speaking world. To engage students, you could show images from the Internet if you search for 'Christmas in London,' 'Christmas in New York,' etc. Your students can describe what they see in the images.

These two questions are a good way to engage students as well:

  • How do you celebrate Christmas?
  • What activities do people do during Christmas time in your country?

The purpose of these two questions is not only engagement but also serves to ensure students have the vocabulary to answer any or all of the following questions.

Questions about Christmas

The questions below get students thinking about aspects of Christmas they probably never consider otherwise. You can decide if you want your students to practice speaking or writing with different activities.

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