9 ESL Christmas Songs to Add Some Holiday Fun to Your Classroom

The holidays are here!

It’s time to fill your classrooms with joy and cheer!

Luckily, Christmas time is the perfect opportunity to add some holiday fun, activities and songs to your ESL class.

Music is a great way to get students excited about learning, and holiday music is no exception. Here are a few favorite holiday melodies that will definitely get students into the holiday spirit!

Every song listed below comes with a selection of lyrics, a link to hear the song, a link to the song’s full lyrics and a classroom activity you can use for teaching that particular song.

Here are nine festive holiday songs to liven up your classroom:

9 ESL Christmas Songs to Add Some Holiday Fun to Your Classroom

1. We Wish You a Merry Christmas

We wish you a Merry Christmas;

We wish you a Merry Christmas;

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Good tidings we bring to you and your kin;

Good tidings for Christmas and a Happy New Year.

9 esl christmas songs

Listen Here: “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”

Full Lyrics: “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” lyrics

Song Activity: Make a Holiday Card

This classic song is all about sending good tidings to the ones that you love. Talk to students about the meaning of this wonderful Christmas melody and then help them make a holiday card with the lyrics inside to give to their loved ones!

All you need is construction paper, glue and maybe a little glitter for some instant fun. The students will have an opportunity to practice their writing skills while expressing good wishes and gratitude to those that they love! 

2. Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer

Has a very shiny nose.

And if you ever saw it

You would even say it glows.

All of the other reindeer

Used to laugh and call him names.

They never let poor Rudolph

Join in any reindeer games.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve,

Santa came to say,

“Rudolph with your nose so bright,

Won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”

Then all the reindeer loved him,

And they all shouted out with glee,

“Rudolph the red-nosed Reindeer

You’ll go down in history!”

9 esl christmas songs

Listen Here: “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer”

Full Lyrics: “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” lyrics

Song Activity: Watch the Movie

There are several different versions of the cheerful story of Rudolf; some are even available free online. To turn watching this holiday film into valuable learning time, be sure to pause during the movie to ask comprehension questions. You could also have students write a summary at the end of the film.

3. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus

Underneath the mistletoe last night.

She didn’t see me creep

Down the stairs to have a peek.

She thought I was tucked

Up in my bedroom fast asleep.

Then, I saw Mommy tickle Santa Claus

Underneath his beard so snowy white.

Oh, what a laugh it would have been,

If Daddy had only seen

Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night!

9 esl christmas songs

Listen Here: “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”

Full Lyrics: “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” lyrics

Song Activity: “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” Memory Game

Preparation: First, watch this song and prepare questions that the students can later answer. Questions can vary in difficulty, as you feel is appropriate according to your students’ levels of comprehension. Here are a few examples to get started:

  • What color is mommy’s hair?
  • What two things did mommy do with Santa Claus?
  • What color was the star on the Christmas tree?
  • What color skirt was mom wearing?
  • What article of clothing was the little boy wearing?

Instructions: Play the cartoon in class twice, encouraging the students to pay special attention to the details of the video, but don’t tell them what questions you’ll be asking. After students have seen the video twice, handout the questionnaire and give them a few minutes to answer the questions. Watch the video one last time, pausing in between to see the answers to the questions. The student that has the most correct answers could get a holiday treat!

5. All I Want For Christmas Is You

By Mariah Carey 

I don’t want a lot for Christmas,

There is just one thing I need.

I don’t care about the presents

Underneath the Christmas tree.

I just want you for my own

More than you could ever know.

Make my wish come true.

All I want for Christmas is you.

You yeah.

9 esl christmas songs

Listen Here: “All I Want for Christmas Is You”

Full Lyrics: “All I Want for Christmas Is You” lyrics

Song Activity: Holiday Popcorn Reading

This song has great lyrics for popcorn reading. For this style of reading, during class have one student begin reading aloud. When the student gets to the end of the line or phrase, he or she gets to choose the next reader by saying “popcorn, [student’s name].” Popcorn reading keeps students alert, engaged and gives everyone an opportunity to read!

To put a fun holiday spin on this classroom classic, instead of saying “popcorn” when a student chooses the next reader, they say, “All I want for Christmas is you!” as they point to the next person! Your students could even sing the line if they feel comfortable doing so!

6. Frosty the Snowman

Frosty the Snowman, was a jolly happy soul,

With a corn cob pipe and a button nose, and two eyes made of coal.

Frosty the Snowman, is a fairytale, they say.

He was made of snow, but the children know how he came to life one day.

There must have been some magic in that old silk hat they found,

For when they placed it on his head, he began to dance around!

Oh, Frosty, the Snowman, was alive as he could be.

And the children say he could laugh and play,

Just the same as you and me.

Thumpety thump, thump, thumpety thump, thump,

Look at Frosty go.

Thumpety thump, thump, thumpety thump, thump,

Over the hills of snow.

9 esl christmas songs

Listen Here: “Frosty the Snowman”

Full Lyrics: “Frosty the Snowman” lyrics

Song Activity: Watch the Movie

Just like “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” “Frosty the Snowman” is also a very visual song that has many video interpretations. After watching the short movie, do an activity with adjectives asking students to describe in great detail all of the many vibrant things that they saw in the movie.

7. Jingle Bell Rock

Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock,

Jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring.

Snowing and blowing up bushels of fun,

Now the jingle hop has begun.

Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock,

Jingle bells chime in jingle bell time.

Dancing and prancing in Jingle Bell Square

In the frosty air.

9 esl christmas songs

Listen Here: “Jingle Bell Rock”

Full Lyrics: “Jingle Bell Rock” lyrics

Song Activity: Fill-in-the-blank Fun

Pass out a fill-in-the-blank lyric worksheet to each student in the class. Instruct the students to fill in the blanks as they listen to the song a few times. When students are ready, have them take turns reading a line aloud to the class to check and see if their answers were right! Do this until all of the lines have been read and checked for accuracy, and then sing the whole song again together as a class! 

8. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town

You better watch out!

You better not cry.

Better not pout,

I’m telling you why.

Santa Claus is coming to town.

He’s making a list,

And checking it twice;

Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice.

Santa Claus is coming to town.

9 esl christmas songs

Listen Here: “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”

Full Lyrics: “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” lyrics

Song Activity: Make a Christmas List

Although this activity may seem like one that can only be done with younger students, older students seem to really enjoy it as well. After singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” have students make a list of everything they want for Christmas, along with reasons why they deserve it and what they will do with each thing. Bonus points for being extra creative! 

9. White Christmas

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,

Just like the ones I used to know.

Where the treetops glisten,

And children listen

To hear sleigh bells in the snow.

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas

With every Christmas card I write.

May your days be merry and bright,

And may all your Christmases be white.

9 esl christmas songs

Listen Here: “White Christmas”

Full Lyrics: “White Christmas” lyrics

Song Activity: Write About Your Dream Christmas

After teaching the students this classic holiday tune, give them the following writing prompt to practice their creativity, writing skills and new holiday vocabulary that they may have learned.

Writing Prompt: What kind of Christmas are you dreaming of?

Encourage the students to be as detailed and as creative as possible! After they are done writing, have students take turns sharing their answers aloud to the class. To break the ice, be sure to share your answer first so that the students feel confident in the way that they did the assignment.

And there you have it, nine fun Christmas songs for your ESL classroom! If you’re looking for even more classroom activities related to music, here’s one you can use with any song.

Holiday Song Activity: Partner Fill-in-the-blank

To prepare for this activity you should print out two different versions of the song’s lyrics: A and B. Each version should have different blanks than the other. During class time, instruct students to find a partner. Then give one partner A and the other B; each pair will have A and B.

Working together, the pairs should then fill in the blanks on each of their sheets by reading the lyrics aloud to one another (not by looking and copying!). After the whole class is done filling in the blanks, sing the song all together and have a grand ‘ole festive time!

These holiday tunes are sure to keep the learning fun in your ESL classroom! Enjoy!

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