Are you looking for some unique ways to combine your study of English with American holiday celebrations? You’ve come to the right place! For students who have traveled abroad to study English in Washington DC, we’ve compiled several suggestions for fun ways to practice English throughout the holiday season.
While you are taking English courses in Washington DC, you will quickly discover the magic of the winter holiday season. As DC is a cultural melting pot, the holiday season celebrates various religious and secular holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah. For those students attending language schools in DC, this season will be one that excites and delights them.
Americans love the holiday season – and you will have multiple opportunities to take part in the fun. As you will see, many of the American holiday traditions can be used to help you develop your English fluency skills. By incorporating what you are learning at your Washington language school with what you are learning culturally, you will experience true language immersion.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways Americans celebrate the holiday season and discuss the ways you can turn these festive traditions into English learning opportunities.
Listen to Christmas Music
Listening to music is a fantastic way to learn another language. For example, English language learners will benefit greatly from listening to English musicians. By finding English singers and groups that you enjoy, you will be learning English vocabulary in a fun and easy way.
During the holiday season, the radio stations begin playing Christmas music. Christmas hymns, Christmas carols, and holiday music will fill the air. Learning some of the most popular English Christmas songs is a wonderful way to celebrate the season and practice listening to English. For instance, find a Christmas album by your favorite American musician and listen to it throughout December.
Along these same lines, look for occasions to sing Christmas carols. One festive tradition is to go caroling. This means you go door to door singing Christmas carols for neighbors – or strangers! This takes it a step further than simply listening to Christmas music by requiring you to sing the carols aloud. This is a festive way to practice speaking (or singing) in English.
Bake Cookies and Other Christmas Treats
Americans love to eat sweets – especially when they have a good excuse. The holiday season offers the perfect excuse for eating treats. Traditionally, Americans bake cookies on Christmas Eve to leave for Santa Claus. Often, the cookies are decorated to look festive with green and red icing. A unique way to practice English is to follow the cooking instructions in English. As you go through the steps, practice speaking the English steps aloud. Cooking vocabulary is useful and necessary.
Decorate a Gingerbread House
Another fun holiday tradition is decorating gingerbread houses. Using only sweet treats and baking ingredients, people build and decorate a small gingerbread candy house. This activity is always more fun with friends, so grab some of your inlingua classmates and use English to implement your design plan and get to work.
Send Christmas Cards
A popular holiday tradition is sending Christmas cards. As an English language student, this is a festive way to practice writing in English. You can purchase holiday cards at most stores in sets. Inside the card, you can write a simple holiday message for your friends and family. Not only will your loved ones enjoy receiving a card from their relative abroad, but they will also be impressed with your English writing skills.
Watch Holiday Movies
Like holiday music, there are tons of holiday-themed movies. You will have your pick of holiday films to watch during the holiday season. You can choose some of the most famous holiday movies such as “It’s a Wonderful Life” or watch the new holiday movies on Netflix. These films will also help you understand American culture as the most popular holiday films have become a part of the fabric of American pop culture. As you watch these holiday movies, make sure you have the subtitles on so you can practice English as you immerse yourself in the world of cinema.
Cook a Traditional Christmas Dinner
In addition to cooking Christmas treats, many Americans share a traditional Christmas dinner with their loved ones. Like Thanksgiving, this meal tends to be more elaborate than their regular evening meals. You can practice your English by researching traditional holiday meals and then shopping and cooking the meal for your friends. The key is to do as much in English as possible. Research using English and ask for help in the grocery store using English. Want to go the extra mile? Send out invitations in English to guests.
Read The Christmas Carol
There is a whole genre of holiday literature with classics such as The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The Christmas Carol is a short novel (or a novella) that has been turned into a film many times. You can practice your English by reading the novella. The plot closely follows the same plot you will see in the film making it one of the easier pieces of classic literature for English learners to read.
Additionally, look for children’s Christmas stories to read. Children’s books are great building books for learning to read in English. Check out books such as “The Gift of the Magi” for the holiday season.
Visit with Friends and Family
Finally, while your English class in DC is out for the holiday break, take time to visit with English-speaking friends and family. Just because you are out of class, you shouldn’t take it as a chance to stop practicing English. Instead, do just the opposite. Show your friends and family what you have been learning in your inlingua classes. Visit with native English speakers to experience some true American holiday festivities and try your best to communicate in English with them.
Think you are ready to celebrate the holidays in America? Test your English today!