Best of NTC: Wacky Christmas traditions and events

Best of NTC: Wacky Christmas traditions and events

Teaching tip

‘Christmas comes but once a year, but when it comes it brings good cheer.’ And, just like the saying, we’re hoping to provide you with some good cheer for your pre-Christmas classroom.


If you want to find out about some fun Christmas traditions, like Hunting the wren in Ireland, or the Christmas Day swim (brrr …) in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, London, then click on the button below on the left. You’ll find these and more Christmas traditions from English-speaking places like Alaska, Toronto and Bondi Beach. And what is it with the British and the Christmas number one in the singles charts? You’ll find out about this as well.

And if you would like a new activity about Christmas around the world, then click on the right button below.


Best of network Teachers' Club
New activity



Christmas around the world (level A2, 20+ mins)

  • Print out this page and make a copy of Christmas around the world (see below), one for each student.
  • On the board write: Christmas traditions and ask students to name any traditions in Germany or in any other countries.
  • Tell students they are going to do a quiz about Christmas traditions around the world.
  • Give each student a copy of the activity and help with any unknown vocabulary.
  • Check answers together in class. (Key: 1-c, 2-e, 3-h, 4-a, 5-j, 6-i, 7-d, 8-f, 9-b, 10-g)
  • Ask students to talk in pairs about the traditions they find interesting.


Christmas around the world

Match each country with its Christmas tradition(s).

  Country   Tradition(s)
1 Russia a Christmas Eve is a day for lovers - like Valentine’s Day! Christmas Day is not a holiday here.
2 Finland b On Christmas Eve there is lots of drumming and dancing in church. On Christmas Day, people eat okra soup and a yam paste called fufu.
3 Iceland c Christmas is on 7 January and many people eat borsch and sauerkraut on Christmas Eve. Grandfather Frost visits each home with presents.
4 Japan d People listen to Gaita music and there are lots of fireworks. On Christmas Day morning in the capital city, many people go to church on roller skates.
5 Zimbabwe e Santa Claus is called Joulupukki, the Christmas Goat. On Christmas Eve everyone eats rice porridge and plum fruit juice for breakfast.
6 India f Many people give apples on Christmas Eve and the word for Father Christmas is Sheng dan lao ren.
7 Venezuela g Christmas is in the middle of summer – and many people have a barbecue for Christmas dinner.
8 China h Shops stay open until midnight on 23 December and people eat a leg of lamb for Christmas Day dinner.
9 Ghana i Many people decorate a banana or mango tree. Father Christmas is called Christmas Baba by some people.
10 New Zealand j People eat chicken and rice and play very loud music – it’s party time!


Now talk to your partner. Which traditions do you think are interesting? Why?


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