ESL Christmas Vocabulary: Word List & Games

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  • 0:02 ESL Christmas Vocabulary
  • 1:46 Activity: Santa's Sleigh Race
  • 2:24 Activity: Simon Says Decorate
  • 3:19 Activity: Christmas Hangman
  • 4:00 Activity: Pictionary
  • 4:39 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Maggie Rouman

Maggie currently teaches post-secondary e-learning and assessment courses and has a bachelor's degree in special education and a master's degree in educational neuroscience.

Get in the Christmas spirit with some festive activities for helping ESL students learn Christmas-related vocabulary words. Spread some holiday cheer while turning your lessons into highly engaging, memorable sessions.

ESL Christmas Vocabulary

Christmas is a great time of year to have some fun with your ESL, or English as a Second Language, students. Let's look at Christmas-related vocabulary you can introduce to your students to help them prepare for holiday conversations.

Some general Christmas vocabulary words you could teach your ESL learners include:

  • Bells
  • Candles
  • Celebrate
  • Chimney
  • Christmas carol
  • Fireplace
  • Garland
  • Jolly
  • Merry
  • Mistletoe
  • Noel
  • Poinsettia
  • Sleigh
  • Wreath

Christmas tree vocabulary might include:

  • Pine
  • Decorations
  • Ornament
  • Tinsel
  • Lights

Vocabulary related to holiday gifting includes:

  • Presents
  • Gift
  • Bow
  • Wrapping paper
  • Toys

Also, introduce your ESL students to notable holiday characters and locations, including:

  • Santa Claus
  • Elves
  • St. Nick
  • Rudolph
  • Reindeer
  • North Pole

You might also introduce some religious terms related to Christmas:

  • Jesus
  • Shepherds
  • Star
  • Wise men
  • Angels
  • Baby
  • Manger
  • Nativity

Another option is to teach your ESL students about different Christmas foods, such as:

  • Candy canes
  • Christmas cookies
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Dressing
  • Eggnog
  • Fruitcake
  • Ham
  • Pumpkin pie
  • Sweet potato
  • Turkey

Activity: Santa's Sleigh Race

Now let's explore some fun activities you can use to teach your ESL students Christmas vocabulary. Santa's Sleigh Race is a game is for students of all ages and is perfect as a quick review of vocabulary.

Divide the class into two teams, and give each team a marker for the whiteboard. Draw a line in the center of the whiteboard, and write a topic at the top. In a relay race form, the student teams must then write words related to the topic. Each team gets one point for each correct word. Any words that are illegible or misspelled do not count. Ideas for topics include: Christmas food, snow, Santa Claus, or Christmas tree.

Activity: Simon Says Decorate

Another activity to teach Christmas vocabulary is Simon Says Decorate a Tree. This activity is great for reviewing vocabulary related to decorating a Christmas tree and a great way to decorate your class.

Give each student a small artificial pine tree no more than two feet tall. In the center of the room place a variety of Christmas decorations and ornaments. You will play the role of Simon during the game. When you preface your instructions for decorating the trees with 'Simon says,' students must do what you say. For example, 'Simon says, put a red ornament on the tree.'

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