Christmas Literature Lesson Plan

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

Through this lesson plan, you can familiarize your students with a number of classic and famous examples of Christmas literature. Activities spread over several days will allow students to explore more than one of these texts and to compare the text with a movie portrayal of the same story.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this lesson, students will:

  • Recognize titles of classic and famous Christmas literature.
  • Recognize basic information about the stories on which classic and famous Christmas literature are based.
  • Read and comprehend traditional and famous Christmas literature.
  • Compare and contrast traditional and famous Christmas literature with movies based on those tales.
  • Compare and contrast characters in traditional and famous Christmas literature.


45-60 minutes/day over 6 days

Curriculum Standards


By the end of grade 9, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poems, in the grades 9-10 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

NOTE: This standard can be applied to almost any grade level and is listed throughout the CC Standards. The lesson can be adapted to almost any level, depending upon your choice of literature.

Materials Needed

  • SmartBoard or projector to display the lesson
  • Copies of the 'Classic & Famous Christmas Literature Stories & Authors' quiz (1 per student)
  • Common Christmas Stories Characters Chart handout (1 per student)
  • Copies of the traditional and famous Christmas stories in the lesson, so that each student will have access to one story per day. Many of these are available online as free e-texts. Texts include:
    • 'At Christmas Time' by Anton Checkhov (short story)
    • 'A Letter from Santa Claus' by Mark Twain (short story)
    • 'A Country Christmas' by Louis May Alcott (short story)
    • 'The Gift of the Magi' by O. Henry (short story)
    • 'Christmas Bells' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (short story)
    • 'The Three Kings' by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (short story)
    • 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore (poem)
    • 'The Little Match Girl' by Hans Christian Andersen (short story)
    • The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by E.T.A. Hoffman (novel)
    • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (novel)
    • How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (poem/picture book)


Day One

  • Introduce the lesson to the students by reading aloud the book, The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg.
  • Tell the students that they will be spending several days reading traditional and famous Christmas stories.
  • Use the lesson Classic & Famous Christmas Literature: Stories & Authors to introduce the list of stories to the class.
  • As you read through the lesson together, ask students which of these famous and traditional Christmas stories they are familiar with. Note those that are less familiar to the students and make sure to include those in the subsequent activities.
  • Display a list of the Christmas tales included in the lesson.
  • Explain to the students that they will need to read at least 3 of the titles on the list, over the coming week. (Do not include The Polar Express on the list, as you already read it to the class in this lesson.)
  • Give students time to select their first text and to start reading. If they are not finished with the text during class, they should finish it for homework.

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