December is full of reasons to celebrate, but growing up only one was a major focus: Christmas.
So far, it’s really no different for my kids. In school, they sing Christmas Carols. They create Christmas crafts. Their assignments are Christmas-themed.
On the surface, that’s okay considering it’s what our family celebrates. However, I always think about the kids who don’t celebrate Christmas.
Growing up, I was friends with a girl who celebrated Hanukkah. I remember in 5th grade a mutual friend of ours handed her a Christmas card. My friend wasn’t happy. Why would our friend give her a Christmas card when she’s Jewish? That moment taught me the importance of recognizing other religions besides our own.
December is a month of celebration, some religious some not. Mostly, it’s a time to show others how much you love and appreciate them. It’s a time to reflect on the past and look forward to the future.
Last month, I created a Thanksgiving word search, and I decided it would be a good project for this month’s blog post (ugh, the pandemic is really hindering my writing capabilities!). I wanted to create an activity that I wish my kids’ teachers would hand them this time of year; an activity that helps show kids that there’s more to December than Christmas (break from school).
I chose three of the bigger celebrations: Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. Full disclosure: I only know the basics of Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. I’ve included a small blurb for all three, with links so you can learn more.
Hanukkah (or Chanukah) means “dedication” in Hebrew. This holiday begins on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar and usually falls in November or December. Often called the Festival of Lights, the holiday is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, traditional foods, games and gifts.
Learn more at History.
Christmas is a Christian holiday honoring the birth of Jesus. It has evolved into a worldwide religious and secular celebration, incorporating many pre-Christian and pagan traditions into the festivities, such as the Yule Log and Christmas Tree.
Learn more at History.
Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. MaulHe wanted to find a way to bring African Americans together as a community after the Watts riots in Los Angeles. Each evening, there is candle-lighting ceremony in which one candle is lit and one of the seven principles is discussed:
- Unity: Umoja (oo–MO–jah)
- Self-determination: Kujichagulia (koo–gee–cha–goo–LEE–yah)
- Collective Work and Responsibility: Ujima (oo–GEE–mah)
- Cooperative Economics: Ujamaa (oo–JAH–mah)
- Purpose: Nia (nee–YAH)
- Creativity: Kuumba (koo–OOM–bah)
- Faith: Imani (ee–MAH–nee)
Learn more at the Official Kwanzaa Website and History.
A religion class I took in college helped me realize that there are a lot more similarities between religions than most of us realize. Throughout the year, I try to talk to my kids about the holidays that are celebrated besides our own as they come up on the calendar. I wholeheartedly believe that by teaching our kids about holidays and traditions different from our own, we’ll raise more empathetic humans.
I hope you’ll find this December Holidays word search a useful — and fun! — way to introduce other holidays besides your own.
A thing about my printables:
This word search is 8.5×11 inches. If you’d like to use this for yourself, feel free to download it and print a few out. But please….
- This printable is for PERSONAL USE ONLY
- You MAY NOT resell, redistribute, or claim the original as your own
- If you post this on the internet, please give credit to this blog, Muddy Boots and Diamonds, and link back to this specific post so others can obtain the resource.
- I’d love to see how you incorporated this scavenger hunt into your Halloween plans! Feel free to tag me (Twitter: @bootsndiamonds or IG: @muddybootsndiamonds) when sharing your photos!