Learning about Christmas around the world traditions is a well-loved  reading and writing activity each year. Plan for it with these no prep scavenger hunts and writing prompts.

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My favorite activity each year is hands down, learning and writing about Christmas around the world traditions. How about you? I also love holidays around the world traditions, when we learn about other non-Christmas holidays. Students in elementary grades are inquisitive and eager to learn the traditions from other countries. 

I put a fun twist on these activities with a “Christmas Around the World” themed escape room  or scavenger hunt. What’s more fun than playing a holiday game? Students don’t even know they’re learning as they travel around the room, that is to say, around the world, searching for clues in reading passages!

Holiday decorations and the title Christmas Around the World Traditions Read Write and Learn
Originally posted November 2021. Updated November 2023.

Christmas Around the World Traditions Reading Scavenger Hunt

There isn’t much of anything more exciting that waiting for Santa to bring gifts around the world on Christmas Eve. But Santa’s GPS is broken! Your students will have to help Santa find the next country he should visit.

Students begin with a leveled reading comprehension passage and two questions. The challenge is to find the code word for each answer.

Once they’ve found all the answers, they must unscramble the letters to find the mystery word. The mystery word is the next country for Santa to visit.

Mission accomplished!

Each of the fifteen countries has a short reading passage. The passages were written by me, and not by AI, so you know it’s had a teacher’s close eye on the passages. 

Blue and silver bells on a cover for a Christmas Around the World Scavenger Hunt.

These are the countries included:

European Countries:

Southern Hemisphere Countries:

Northern Regions Countries:

Holidays Around the World ELA Scavenger Hunt

The fun just gets even better, when you add in these holidays.

This scavenger hunt / escape room activity follows the same format as the Christmas Around the World, except this time students must find a gift hidden in one of the non-Christmas reading comprehension passages.

It has its own holiday video hook, too!

Holidays around the world cover for a scavenger hunt.

How to Use These Around the World Scavenger Hunts

It takes about 30-45 minutes to complete each scavenger hunt, depending on your class size and abilities.

  1. Start by printing the reading passages and the answer sheets for the students.
  2. You might consider laminating the reading passages so you can use them year after year.
  3. Place the passages around the room. Students may visit them in any order, so there won’t be any waiting in line to do the next activity.
  4. Start by showing the video hook to your class.
  5. Sit back and relax with your peppermint latte while your students do all the work! They’ll be having so much fun, they won’t even realize they’re working on reading comprehension, looking back in the text for evidence, and being word detectives!

Early finishers can do the coloring pages, or the greeting cards.


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When you do, you can come back to it again next year.

December Winter Writing Prompts – One for Each Day

What if your focus isn’t on Christmas? I’ve got just the thing for you. My December Writing Prompts come from the National Days calendars. The teacher notes pages include video or a websites to build background knowledge before the students begin writing. You can choose to use them or not.

This daily writing prompt journal is digital and printable. You can print out a day or two or assign the journal in your online learning system. But however you do it, it will be a true timesaver and a relief to have all the prompts done for you. No more scrambling to find something your students will like.

The journal also includes digital editing tools so students can check their own spelling, capitalization, punctuation, and usage. They can correct it and revise it before turning it in to you.

You can print these out and share one page each day together as a class. Another option is to print them four to a page and have the students glue them into a writing journal. You can see an example of that in the preview.

This writing hyperdoc is designed to be used as a classroom community building activity and as a warm up for writing class. But you could extend these prompts into a paragraph of the week or a dedicated lesson for opinion writing, or expository or information writing. 

Some of the prompts include: 

As soon as I learned about the Dewey Decimal System in 3rd grade, I wanted to be a librarian. Even as a youth I loved having all things organized!

Writing Every Day journal cover for December

A review of this product from Jennifer M. states, “Excellent resource! Thank you so much!”

More Holiday Activities and Free Christmas Cards

You can get a set of holiday greeting cards for your students to color and personalize right here on my blog. You’ll find them in the Member Vault.

A small christmas card on a white and blue background with lights.


Even More Merry and Bright Christmas Activities

In another post, I’ve included seven holiday activities, some free and some paid. They include multiplication games, bingo, a Christmas craft activity, and best of all two holiday cards from my dogs. You’ve got to scroll to the end to check out Tucker and Dahlila sending you warm fuzzy wishes!

Christy is a credentialed teacher and homeschool mentor who has pages and pages of learning activities to carry you through the holidays!  You’re definitely going to want to check out her site. From holiday paper chains to Editable Christmas Trees, you’ll find something fun to celebrate. If you want the super condensed scoop on Happy Hive Homeschooling’s holiday ideas, check out this page.

Happy Holidays!


If you’d like to read more holiday posts on the TeacherWriter.co blog, here are some you might like.

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