By: Andrea Dillon
Midnight on October 31st, once all the candy-filled children are in bed, something mystical happens. Across the United States and many other countries, the seasonal shift from fall to winter begins, and everything seems to explode into Christmas prep. Okay, so it isn’t very mystical, and most of it is marketing, but there is truth in saying that Christmas takes over as soon as Halloween ends. However, there are other religious and cultural days in the winter season. Some are related to Christmas, but others are not. While you may not celebrate them all in your family and household, it is good to learn about the world around you and teach your homeschoolers how others celebrate in the winter months. Check out these holidays that fall in November, December, and January below.
|Hanukkah||St. Nicholas Day||St. Lucia’s Day|
|Las Posadas||Winter Solstice||Kwanzaa|
Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration each November or December for Jewish people. Each day, Jewish families light a candleholder called a menorah. Also known as The Festival of Lights, the Hanukkah story is a remembrance of an ancient miracle when one day’s worth of oil burned for eight days in the temple. Learn more about Hanukkah with our unit study below.
St. Nicholas Day
St. Nicholas Day, also called the Feast of Saint Nicholas, celebrates Saint Nicholas of Myra, the man who inspired the tale of Santa Claus and Father Christmas. Saint Nicholas donated his money to the poor, especially to children in need. He was known as an extremely compassionate man, and therefore this holiday is a memorial to him on the anniversary of his death, December 6th, 343 A.D.
- St. Nicholas Day Unit Study
- 10 Ways to Celebrate St. Nicholas Day
- St. Nicholas Day Ideas, Printables, & More!
- Ideas & Freebies for St. Nicholas Day
St. Lucia Day
St. Lucis Day is popular with Catholic families as it celebrates St. Lucia, or Saint Lucy. However, families don’t have to be Catholic to celebrate this day and recognize its importance. In Sweden, many girls dress up as “Lucia brides” and wake their families by singing songs, bringing them coffee, and twisted saffron buns called “Lucia cats.”
- FREE St. Lucia Day Unit Study
- St. Lucia Day Activities & Free Printables
- St. Lucia Day Celebrations, Crafts, & Printables
- DIY Felt St. Lucia Candle Crown
- St. Lucia’s Day Traditions, Crafts, and a Recipe!
Las Posadas, primarily celebrated in Mexico and parts of the United States, is a religious holiday celebrated between December 16th – 24th. Las Posadas, or The Inns, is a celebration to honor the trip made by Joseph and Mary before the birth of their baby Jesus. Las Posadas traditions include costumes of silver and gold, with groups celebrating traveling from house to house over the nine days asking for lodging but being turned away. Each evening’s festivities include refreshments, scripture readings, Christmas carols, pinatas, and a Mass service.
The winter solstice also called hiemal solstice or hibernal solstice is when either of the Earth’s poles is at their maximum tilt from the Sun. This occurs twice a year, once in each hemisphere. For the northern hemisphere, this occurs December 21/22nd and for the southern hemisphere, this occurs June 20th/21st.
- 8 Winter Solstice Celebrations Around The World
- Winter Solstice Activities For Kids
- How To Celebrate Winter Solstice With Children
Kwanzaa lasts for seven days, with each day dedicated to a specific principle or theme. Learn more about Kwanzaa with our unit study below.
Want some daily ideas for December?
Check out our December Activity Calendar by clicking the image below!
What winter holidays do you celebrate? Share them in the comments below!