Holiday Traditions

from the kindness experts at Doing Good Together™

Explore our favorite teaching tools.

Like our service projects, this list is continuously evolving. If you don't see your favorite books or websites, we welcome your suggestions in the comment section below.

 

Preschool and Early Elementary

Dragon Dance: A Chinese New Year: A Chinese New Year Lift-the-Flap Book by Joan Halub (Puffin, 2003). Ages 2-6.  Lift the flaps to discover the traditions and fun that happen during the Chinese New Year.

A Charlie Brown Christmas (United Features Syndicate, Inc., 1965). DVD. Watch Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang discover the real meaning of Christmas.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (New York: Random House, 1957). A timeless tale about what Christmas is really about. Made into a beloved animated filmin 1966.

Imani’s Gift at Kwanzaa by Denise Burden-Patmon (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1992). Ages 4 and up. Learn about Kwanzaa through Imani, a little girl who reaches out with a special gift to a child with few friends.

The Kids’ Multicultural Cookbook (Kids Can!) by Deanna F. Cook (Williamson Books, 2008).  Ages 8 and up. Introduce a new tradition at your holiday feasts by preparing multicultural food.  This is a great way to teach your children about how other cultures celebrate holidays with food.

Moishe’s Miracle: A Hanukkah Story by Laura Krauss Melmed, illustrated by David Slonim (New York: HarperCollins, 2000). Ages 3-7. A magical Jewish folktale that teaches the lessons of generosity and sharing.

One Magic Christmas (Walt Disney Home Video, 1985).  When Ginny wishes for Santa to save her family’s Christmas, she never expected himt o take her on such a magical journey of hope and love.

 

Five favorite Christmas tales are featured in our Big-Hearted Families™ section.

One Yellow Daffodil: A Hanukkah Story by David A. Adler (Voyager Books, 1999). Ages 6-10. A Holocaust survivor who owns a flower shop meets two children who share with him a very special Hanukkah tradition.

Late Elementary

Holidays Around the World Series by Deborah Heiligman. Ages 6-9. Author Deborah Heiligman has written nine books that introduce readers to a variety of different holidays that are celebrated around the world.

Children of Christmas: Stories for the Season by Cynthia Rylant, drawings by S.D. Schindler (New York: Orchard Books, 1987). Six stories that convey how people are able to find joy and comfort in the holidays even under the most difficult circumstances. These poignant tales are likely to spark discussion.

Horrible Harry and the Holidaze by Suzy Kline (Puffin, 2004). Ages 7-9. Harry’s class learns about five different holidays that students in the class celebrate: Three King’s Day, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Korean New Year’s, and Christmas.

Date and Time http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/ Use this website to learn about holidays and days of observance in countries around the world.  Users can also build their own customized calendars.

Kids’ Turn Central Holiday Glossaryhttp://www.kidsturncentral.com/holidays/glossary/holidaysgloss.htm Month by month, learn about a variety of holidays that are celebrated around the world. Also includes links to external websites that provide more information.

Adults

The Book of New Family Traditions: How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Every Day by Meg Cox (Running Press, 2012). Take a break from technology and find ways to bond with your family during holidays, mealtimes, and other occasions in creative and funny ways.

Alternative Gift Registry
http://www.alternativegiftregistry.org/ 
Create a different kind of holiday wish list this year. Created by New American Dream (http://www.newdream.org/), the Alternative Gift Registry de-emphasizes store-bought gifts and focuses on more immaterial gifts, such as time spent with family.

Changing the Present
http://www.changingthepresent.org/ 
Give meaningful gifts in honor of loved ones, such as books for children in low income neighborhoods or a roof for a family in need. The website also offers personal fundraising drives and gift registries.

Salvation Army Holiday Angel Tree Program
Consider sponsoring an angel tree in your community this year. In the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program, a Christmas tree is placed in a high-traffic area with tags attached that list the first name, age and gender of a child in need. Individuals can remove a tag and purchase a holiday gift for the child.

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