15 Ways to Have a Very Merry Bilingual Christmas
???? It’s beginning to look a lot like a Bilingual Christmas ????
Regardless of winter or summer in your part of the world, December 25th is just around the corner! So use this time to bring in some family language fun and make it a special Bilingual Christmas.
We at TimTimTom know how difficult 2020 has been for so many families. We’d like to spread some holiday cheer with 15 ideas for how you can have a Very Merry Bilingual Christmas! If you have not done so yet, make sure to check out our Bilingual Advent Calendar with loads of daily language activities for those bilingual kiddos.
Sing It Out!
Sing Christmas songs together in the target language. Search Youtube for fun songs like this one: Mi Burrito Sabanero / My Little Donkey, or stream Christmas songs through Amazon Music or Spotify. A great German Christmas songs playlist on Spotify…I am a sucker for German Christmas songs and this one is really good.
Spread Holiday Cheer!
Write holiday postcards or greeting cards in the target language. Send to friends, family, or pen pals abroad and spread the Christmas spirit.
Serve Your Community this Christmas!
Plan, shop for and package personal hygiene kits to be distributed to needy people in your community. Organizations like the Salvation Army or a local homeless shelter may have a list of the most-needed items. You can practice vocabulary as you shop and wrap the items as a family. Have the kids help you in deciding what they would like to gift.
Get Creative with Christmas Snowman Art!
Use a large sheet of poster board to draw your bilingual snowman. Take turns adding a body part or clothing item to the snowman. Make it bilingual by requiring the kids to name the item in each language before they add it on.
Read a Classic Christmas Tale!
Read a familiar holiday story together in the target language. You can find copies of The Night Before Christmas in several different languages, for example. Contact your local bookstore or search Amazon. Here our list of favorite Christmas books in various languages
In the meantime, have a good laugh with this hilarious Google Translate Fail version of the famous story: Twas the Night Before Christmas and
Watch a Classic Film…Xmas-themed!
Watch a favorite Christmas movie together with audio in the target language. If you are in Hong Kong you can check out the Christmas movies underneath the Wheel at the Grounds…socially distanced outdoor movie fun!
Treat Your Taste Buds!
Bake Christmas cookies together, using the target language as you mix, measure, and decorate! Make five different cookies with one simple dough, which you can even freeze. Perfect activity to practice language skills with numbers, colours, patterns, measurements.
Play a bilingual Christmas Bingo game! Search Pinterest for lots of free printables in all languages. Or organize a Christmas Scavenger Hunt . It is quite funny to see the kids run around the house, even better when the Scavenger Hunt includes some words in that not-so-strong-language they do not know, make it challenging!
Build a family scrapbook or calendar together. Print out pictures from the year, and spend an evening reminiscing as you create a photo album documenting all the fun you’ve had. If you make it online you can even send a copy to grandma. We usually add an image of each of our family members on his or her birthday, so it becomes a great birthday reminder. Talk about the stories around the picture, even better if it is in the kids’ target language.
Explore and try a holiday tradition from abroad. A beautiful tradition in Germany and Scandinavia is to celebrate the four Sundays before Christmas by gathering around the Advent wreath. The wreath holds 4 candles. Each Sunday before Christmas, one new candle is lit, until all 4 candles are burning, signifying that the merry holiday is just around the corner! Make it a tradition and organize an Advent Sunday brunch, tea, or barbecue. If you can’t gather in person, host a Skype or Zoom session with family abroad. Sing songs in different languages, singing is always one of the best and most fun ways to learn a language.
Have a “Book Flood”!
Did you know that in Iceland it’s a tradition to give books for Christmas? It’s called “Jolabokaflod” (Yule – or Christmas – book flood). Families gather around a fire, drink hot chocolate, and read books together. Start your own Jolabokaflod Tradition and fill those bookshelves! This is probably one of my family’s favorite traditions.
Create a special Christmas-themed reading nook and snuggle up for storytime. This is a great opportunity to introduce a popular book, character, or fairy tale from your home culture or a classic you always loved. Don’t forget the hot chocolate and sparkly Christmas lights!!!
Celebrate Saint Nikolaus Day!
Teach your kids about the popular German holiday, Saint Nikolaus Day. Every year on the 6th of December, Saint Nikolaus comes to fill your boots with treats (5th of December in the Netherlands) – if you’ve been good, of course! Kids are wise to set out their largest shoes (so more candy fits inside, obviously! ????) the night before. When they wake up on the 6th, they find a sweet surprise. Learn more about the holiday tradition here: https://www.stnicholascenter.org/how-to-celebrate
A fun tradition is to make an annual Christmas tree ornament together: DIY Christmas Tree Ornaments. You’ll use lots of new words that you don’t often use in your target language like ribbon, glue, glitter. You might need to brush up on the vocabulary before you start the arts and crafts session, so be sure to check your dictionaries!
Make a personalized bilingual book together! Customize and order one of our popular children’s books. Make your child the hero of their own Underwater Adventure, Swan Lake performance, or Football/Soccer match! This year we have to disappoint you, due to the long and unreliable delivery situation, we have decided to take the painful decision to close the store for Christmas, but that also means we’ll be back in full force in the new year.
- So here is to a positive end of the year filled with loooooads of Christmas traditions and bilingual activities as a family. Enjoy and cuddle up with a book and a hot chocolate…or maybe a glass of wine for mom and dad ????
Which bilingual Christmas activities will you try this year?
And here our little To-Do-List, to make it a Christmas season to remember…A Giving Christmas! Let’s make it a very special Christmas 2020. Even better, a Bilingual Christmas!
“Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night”