EFL Advent Calendar – December 7th


Christmas Cards – December 7th

For: all ages

Level: any (as long as you stage it differently!)

Time: from 15 minutes up to a whole lesson

Making Christmas cards can seem a bit of a no-brainer if you’re teaching kids’ classes in the lead-up to Christmas. Kids get to do a bit of colouring, there’s a little English involved, there’s something to take home to Mum and Dad – everyone’s happy. But what if I told you that you can use Christmas card-based activities whoever you’re teaching?!

Obviously, one size doesn’t fit all, so I have some different suggestions here dependent on the age/level of your students.

Very Young Learners:

If you’re teaching very young learners, your aim is probably going to be to simply get them to copy a simple Christmas greeting (eg. To Mum and Dad, Merry Christmas, Love from ….’, or even just to write their name.

Activity Village has a lovely selection of Christmas cards you can print for your students to colour in.

If you want slightly more English to be involved, try a colour-by-numbers  picture, or choose a simple Christmas card picture and treat it as a colour dictation. Teach some of the vocabulary in the picture, then tell the students: ‘Show me [colour]’. The students hold up the appropriate colour pen or pencil, then tell them ‘Colour the [star] [yellow]’ etc. Give them a short time period to colour, then move onto the next instruction.

Young Learners:

Lanternfish has some nice activities to provide support if you want to write Christmas cards with your young learners (thinking here of 7 year olds to tweens). They include three Christmas card templates (you could of course use the Activity Village ones or others if you prefer!), a cloze activity, and a sheet of ‘useful phrases’.

The higher level the students, the more you’re going to want them to write, so provide a reason for them to be writing – write a Christmas card to someone they don’t often see, or tell the recipient about their hopes for the next year or the highlights of this year.

Teaching teens/adults:

I wouldn’t normally lump teens and adults in together, but when it comes to something like Christmas cards it’s likely to go one of two ways with your teen students.

*Either* they’re going to think that the whole idea of Christmas cards is unspeakably naff and they’re going to want to do something that is definitely not childish.

*Or* they’re going to think it’s great that they get to draw/colour in and want to do whatever your kids’ class did. (I speak from experience having previously had my teens beg me to let them write letters to Father Christmas…)

The British Council has a lesson plan and worksheet which looks generally at the idea of Greetings Cards and Special Days.

If you want to stick with a writing activity your higher level students could write a ‘family letter’ or ’round robin’. Oxford University Press has a great model letter (and activities) . I really like the idea of producing a collaborative letter about what the class has learned this term – you could make it more fun by including ‘special achievements’: who forgot their homework the most times, who arrived latest to class, who gave the silliest answer to a question, what was the silliest thing the teacher did, etc.


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