December is a wonderful time of year for our families! While we might be busy making holiday travel plans, cooking, or shopping, this month can also be a fantastic opportunity to inspire meaningful learning. Thematic integration of reading, writing, and math activities can be done easily with a little creativity. It can be a lot of fun too!

December is a great time for cultural learning:

You can research and write about traditions celebrated around the world this time of year. Some examples include Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, St. Lucia’s Day (Sweden), The Legend of La Befana (Italy), Sinterklaas Day (Holland), Las Posadas (Mexico), Cobweb Christmas (Ukraine), the Yule Cat (Iceland) and many others.

Read holiday themed books and short stories. Check out your local library to find countless options!

Memorize and recite a holiday themed poem for family and guests.

Be sure to integrate writing projects into your daily learning. To make this even more fun, use festive paper and holiday stationery, or create your own by adding family pictures or holiday clipart. Another option is to make construction paper covers for stories topped with ribbon and a bow so the finished project resembles a present! Or add a special “peek-over” or festive frame to make writing come alive and be more fun to create and present.

Ideas for writing in December are limitless. Possible writing activities include:

Write letters to family, friends, neighbors, or even Santa! Use this as an opportunity to review the parts of a friendly letter, writing addresses, and mailing. Don’t forget to add stickers and hand drawn pictures!

Read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and make tree-shaped paper ornaments with a “Gift of Love” written on the front to give to others. ( These are the gifts that money cannot buy—washing dishes, raking leaves, free babysitting… )

Write a new version of the story of the Gingerbread Man to accompany any cookies you may bake.

Write a holiday story using a winter or holiday themed wordbank.

Write about a favorite holiday memory or family tradition.

Write a persuasive paragraph. Is it better to give or to receive? Would you rather be an elf or a reindeer? Be sure to include your reasoning!

Write a sensory description about the sights and smells of your home during a special holiday meal.

Write a holiday “How-To.” How do you build a snowman? Decorate your house? Plan a Party?

Write an acrostic poem using the word “Christmas,” “Winter,” or “Rudolph.”

December is also a great time to practice real world math.

Create a grocery list complete with prices for budgeting. Use this as an opportunity to review coins, bills, and counting money. For older children, this is a wonderful opportunity to read ads and determine which stores offer the best deals.

Go gift shopping! Create a budget and plan ahead.

Cook and bake together. Use this as a chance to practice measurements and conversions.

Practice shapes, estimation, and surface area when wrapping gifts. Do you have enough wrapping paper? Will one roll be enough? How do you know?

Plan a party. What supplies will you need for your guests? How many of each item will you need?

Do some crafting. Many paper crafts require measuring and using rulers.

Plan a road trip. How many miles will it be? How long will it take? What time will you arrive? How much gas will you use? How do you know?

Project of the Month

Create a holiday themed flap book. My family made a “countdown to Christmas” calendar using this idea. After reading The Life and Adventures of Santa Claus by L. Frank Baum, we numbered and sequenced the main events in the story and created flaps to reveal the writing behind each window. It was a fun and unique way to respond to literature. All we needed was a Christmas shopping bag and a backboard. Flap books can be used in countless ways to demonstrate learning.

Let creativity be your guide! Happy Holidays, Elite Families!


Post written by Erin Burhans, Homeschool Academy Teacher of Record.