ESL Christmas Lesson Plan for Adults

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

This lesson plan introduces the vocabulary, traditions, and customs of Christmas to adult ESL learners. Students will learn vocab through Christmas stories and discussion, then they'll explore Christmas symbols and listen to Christmas carols to better familiarize themselves with the holiday.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of the lesson, students will be able to:

  • identify, define, and use common vocabulary associated with the Christmas holiday
  • explain the religious and cultural traditions of Christmas
  • identify common Christmas symbols and icons


60-90 minutes (additional time needed for extension activities)

Vocabulary and Phrases

  • Religious words
    • Nativity
    • Jesus
    • Star
    • Wise men
    • Shepherds
    • Bethlehem
    • Star
    • Manger
  • Cultural words
    • St. Nicholas/Santa Claus
    • Sleigh
    • Reindeer
    • Stockings
    • Elf
    • Candy cane
    • Mistletoe
    • Christmas cookies
    • Christmas carols
    • Christmas tree
    • Tinsel
    • Christmas ornaments
    • Christmas cards
    • Grinch


  • Christmas-related objects
  • Pictures or objects depicting vocabulary words (noted in the lesson activities)
  • Audio of various Christmas carols
  • Picture book of a religious Christmas story
  • Picture book of '''Twas the Night Before Christmas''

Introduction to Christmas

  • Show the class a collection of Christmas-related objects. Ask the students to identify with what holiday they associate these objects. Inform them that these objects are related to Christmas.
  • Have the students discuss the following questions and record their answers:
    • What do you know about Christmas?
    • What do you want to learn about Christmas?
    • Have you ever encountered a Christmas word, item, or saying that you were unsure about? What happened?

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