We asked how you handle holiday conversations in class and your answers made us want to join your classes and communities during this time of year!

Holiday conversation can be heard often during the winter months in my classroom. My kindergarten students are very inquisitive and often have many questions regarding the who, what, when & why’s of the various holidays. I incorporate several holiday stories and lessons into my weekly lesson plans This designated class time allows the students a time to share their thoughts and get answers to their many questions. I enjoy hearing my young students share their thoughts on what they think the meaning is behind various holidays. The winter months fill my heart with great joy watching my students excitement as they discover the true meaning of the season. – Erica Price

We have had staff and others that do not share the holidays that most of this small rural community share. It gives us a chance to talk about religious and cultural diversity. I teach Special Education, so often my students are not tactful, and also they can be very inquisitive. Since I do teach a Social Studies class it is easy to bring in customs from around the world and they learn about the different holidays, but also that someone that celebrates the same holiday they do may celebrate it differently. – Suzi Vause

I handle holiday questions each year by assigning a Christmas around the World research and presentation project to my 6th graders. Students select a country from a list I give them. They then research the country, traditions, food, celebrations, religion, etc. They may also make a traditional food from the country’s holiday. We then have a 2-day Christmas feast where we spend time eating the foods, presenting our tri-folds, and celebrating many multicultural traditions. The discussions and conversations this bring into the classroom during December is always wonderful. We can tie in geography, history, culture, literature, etc. into one awesome project. We learn about many cultural traditions including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. – Melissa Newman

In the event that I do not have any students that do not celebrate holidays, I like to discuss not only the typical Christian holidays. I want my students to have an open heart to others who may be different than themselves, and one way to assist in their minds and hearts being open to respecting others and their differences is having an understanding of how they celebrate the holidays of their faith and culture. – Deborlee Mitschele

We don’t make a big deal about the holidays. Some students don’t see the holidays as fun. Families fighting, being left alone, maybe no food to eat. We keep structure and let the kids know we will miss them and we will be here when they return. Our school is a safe place. We have over 70 families adopted by a local church. It always warms my heart that kids are taken care of. – Cheri Beall

We talk about purpose. The purpose of giving, the purpose of forgiving, the purpose of sharing and the purpose of belonging, We are doing a Glow dance Dec. 14 not to raise money but to to fill the local food pantry. We also build a float to be in the local Christmas parade. and help unload truck of toys for a local charity. We adopt a family for Thanksgiving and Christmas, providing food and new clothes or toys. These activities put our discussions to work. They can see we just don’t do lip service. – Lana Romaine

My class chooses 8 countries they are interested in, and we set a designated time slot 2 days a week to do research about their Christmas customs. If we have any students with ties to a country (this year we have a girl from Germany, and I have ties to Mexico), we invite their parents to share. We find at least 10 facts about each country and share the info as a class through writing activities. Students share their writing in small groups and use webs/charts/lists that I have prepared ahead of time to compare and contrast. We do 2 countries a week, and tie in as many objectives as possible. We even do a couple of easy cooking activities and sample the holiday treats! – Dawn Smith

I introduce the holidays by telling students what the holiday is, when it is, and why we celebrate it. Then, we watch a video regarding the holiday. After that, we have some sort of craft to go along with the holiday. For example: for Thanksgiving, each of my students made a turkey and wrote on each feather something that they were thankful for, and for Christmas, we make ornaments for the students to take home and hang up on their tree. – Amber Hawn

I teach first grade and it really depends on the holiday. Some holidays have a history that I teach. For example, on Thanksgiving I teach about pilgrims, Indians, and how the first Thanksgiving came about. We also have our own Thanksgiving feast. However, holidays like Christmas I just let the students lead those conversations. Everyone celebrates Christmas so different and I would never want my teaching to make a child feel they are not celebrating the right way. I attempted a Christmas Around the World one year and that just confused my students and became a little iffy when discussing Santa’s in other countries having a different name. I protect the magic and innocence that Christmas brings, the best I can. I have had students who do not celebrate Christmas and their parents were very supportive of making sure they did not talk about Santa. I respect all religions and beliefs and work to make sure a student is never felt left out. – Brianne Leitterman