Lesson Planning for Diversity in Holiday Celebrations

Dr. David Childs, D.D. Ph.D.
Northern Kentucky University

Originally posted December 19, 2019 (With some new updates).

With the holiday season upon us, we thought it would be fitting to post another article on the topic of various holiday traditions. Religious pluralism is one of the hallmarks of a democratic society. People are free to practice their religion (Or not) according to their own convictions and not be concerned about repercussions or punishment from the government and or be intimidated by mob rule. Although Christmas is a religious holiday in its origins, it has also come to evolve into many secular traditions. Education World, an online resource for teachers, administrators and school staff, has created a lesson plan for teachers that allow students to explore this very topic, examining the diversity of beliefs and cultural influences that has made Christmas what it is today. Check out this lesson plan entitled Lesson Plan Booster: Surprising Origins of Modern-Day Christmas Traditions. It also allows teachers and students to get a deeper understanding of the historical and cultural background that makes Christmas what it is today. A fun and very informative article for students and the general public, it explores the historical origins of Christmas trees, it examines the significance of the date December 25, Santa Claus and even discusses the historical origins of Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer. One can also explore the various historic Christmas cultural traditions in a 2018 article we did entitled Christmas Traditions of the Past and Present: Teaching the History of Christmas.

Saint Nicholas gifting gold through the window to the father of the three daughters (Gerard David circa 1500 – 1510)

Along the lines of religious pluralism and the holiday season, Educator World has also created a lesson plan that teachers can use to teach about the Jewish holiday Hanukkah. The article is entitled Lesson: Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights. The lesson includes ways to teach about the holiday across the curriculum. Here are other articles that shed more light on the holiday tradition of Hanukkah.

Other Resources
Hanukkah in the Classroom: Celebrate the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah with these lesson plans, articles, and teaching ideas

Teaching About the Holidays in Public Schools

Sharing Hanukkah at School

Hanukkah – Teacher Resources

Who Should Teach About Hanukkah and What Should They Be Teaching?