Literature-Based Homeschooling Holiday Lesson Plans: Christmas Read Alouds With Free Printable Schedule

It’s difficult to do now that I have only high schoolers, but when my kids were in elementary school, I liked to take the month of December and do a special holiday-school schedule. We would depart from our normal curricula and do things differently in order to have a break…but still have a regular routine. Over the years we’ve done Christmas-themed lapbooks, Christmas-Around -the-World studies, and fun literature-based studies using great classic kids’ books.

If you’re looking for a great way to change up your homeschooling for the holidays, try this three-week, literature-based lesson plan for December. There is a Christmas-themed book and activities for each day, as well as a free printable schedule and notebooking pages. The books here are primarily for preschool and elementary ages, but below you can find some Christmas-themed books for older kids as well.

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Daily Books and Activities for Literature-Based Christmas Homeschooling

Day 1

Book- The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story by Gloria Houston


(1) Geography-Research the Appalachian Mountains. Find them on a US map.

(2) Science-What kinds of trees are typically used as Christmas trees? Look up each and find pictures of them.

(3) Arts and Crafts- Make a cute 3D Christmas tree.

(4) Language Arts- Compare and contrast this Appalachian Christmas with our modern Christmases.

Day 2

Book- Christmas Day in the Morning by Pearl S. Buck


(1) Social Studies- Life on a farm isn’t easy- especially in the time period this book was written. Look up and discuss life on a farm and the chores the farmers and family had to do.

(2) Language Arts- Write a story about what you would give a parent as the “perfect” Christmas gift.

(3) Science- Choose an animal on the farm to research.

Day 3

Book- Lucia Morning in Sweden by Ewa Rydaker


(1) Social Studies- This book is about Christmas in Sweden. Research to discover other Swedish Christmas customs.

(2) Language Arts- What are some of your favorite Christmas customs? Write about them.

(3) Cooking- Find a recipe for one of the Swedish Christmas goodies and make it.

(4) Geography- Find Sweden on a map. Research to learn more about the country.

(5) Arts and Crafts- Create a simple Swedish Christmas craft.

Day 4

Book- A World of Cookies for Santa by M.E. Furman


(1) Geography- Locate each of the countries from the story on a map.

(2) Geography- Choose one of the countries in the book and research its Christmas traditions.

(3) Cooking- Choose one or two cookie recipes in the book to make.

Day 5

Book- Cobweb Christmas: The Tradition of Tinsel by Shirley Climo


(1) Language Arts- This is a folktale about the beginnings of the tradition of tinsel. Talk about what folktales are and read more Christmas folktales here.

(2) Language Arts- What do you think the spiders felt when they were excluded from the house? Write about it.

(3) Science- Research spiders. Record some facts about them.

(4) Make cute Christmas ornaments with tinsel and mason jar lids.

Day 6

Book- Reindolphins: A Christmas Tale by Kevin Brougher


(1) Science- None of the other animals Santa tries seems to have the right characteristics to work for the job. Choose one of the animals and research it. Record facts.

(2) Science- Make some reindeer (or elephant) toothpaste with this science experiment.

(3) Language Arts- What would you do if you were in Santa’s position. Write about it.

Day 7

Book- The Spirit of Christmas by Nancy Tillman


(1) Language Arts- This book has rhyming stanzas. Talk about what rhyme is and look at the words that rhyme. You can get really detailed with this and look at the different ways to spell the same sound.

(2) Language Arts- Make a list of all of the symbols of Christmas that you can think of. Which are your favorites.

(3) Language Arts- What do you think is the “Spirit of Christmas”? Write about it.

(4) Science- Explore some of the symbols of Christmas with these five senses science labs.

Day 8

Book- Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale by Martin Waddell


(1) Bible- Read the Christmas story from Luke 2. Talk about similarities and differences between the made up story and the story from the Bible.

(2) Science- Talk about the animals that are in the stable. Research one of them in detail and record the facts.

(3) Arts and Crafts- Create a paper nativity stable scene with the instructions and printables here.

Day 9

Book- The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski


(1) Language Arts- How would you feel if you were Thomas and had lost your special Christmas figures? Write about it.

(2) Arts and Crafts- Make your own wooden nativity scene figures with this craft.

(3) Fun Activities- After reading the book watch the movie.

Day 10

Book- The Candymaker’s Gift: The Legend of the Candy Cane by Helen Haidle


(1) Language Arts- The candy that the candymaker creates has many elements of symbolism. Talk about what symbolism is- one thing that represents another- and list some of the symbols of the candy cane as well as what that represents.

(2) Science- Observe candy canes dissolving with this science exploration activity.

(3) Cooking- Choose a simple recipe and make your own Christmas candy.

Day 11

Book- An Orange for Frankie by Patricia Polacco


(1) History- This story is set during the Great Depression. Research the Great Depression. What happened and how did it affect families like Frankie’s?

(2) Geography- This story is set in Michigan. Find Michigan on a US map. Find and label the capital- Lansing- where Frankie’s father had traveled.

(3) Arts and Crafts- Use oranges and cloves to make these simple pomander balls.

Day 12

Book- The Little Drummer Boy by Ezra Jack Keats


(1) Arts and Crafts- This book is an illustration of the song “The Little Drummer Boy”. After reading the words of the song, create your own illustration.

(2) Fun Activities- Listen to this chorus sing “The Little Drummer Boy.”

(3) Bible- Read about the magi and the gifts they brought Jesus from Matthew 2.

Day 13

Book- The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden


(1) Language Arts- This story has two main characters. Write a description of each, including what each really wants for Christmas.

(2) Social Studies- Read about holly and ivy and why the two are used as Christmas decorations.

(3) Arts and Crafts- Print and color some Christmas holly and ivy.

Day 14

Book- The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert


(1) Geography- Locate the North Pole on a map. Research to find out some facts about the North Pole.

(2) Geography- Anja is going to use the North Star to navigate. Read about how sailers and other travelers have used the North Star.

(3) Fun Activities- Anja decorates a gingerbread house before she leaves. Decorate your own gingerbread house. You can use the templates here to make one from paper.

(4) Science- Anja decorates a Christmas tree before she leaves. You can grow your own Christmas tree with this science project.

(5) Language Arts- Anja leaves letters to tell her friends where she has gone. Pretend you are Anja and write a letter. What would you tell your friends?

Day 15

Book- Gingerbread Baby by Jan Brett


(1) Language Arts- This story is a retelling of the original Gingerbread Man story. Find a copy of the original, read, and compare them.

(2) Language Arts- This is a fun story for sequencing. Retell the story in the order in which everything happens.

(3) Fun Activities- Create some gingerbread scented slime to play with.

(4) Science- Explore dissolving gingerbread men with this fun science activity.

Printable Literature-Based Homeschool Plans

You can pick up a free-for-now printable copy of these plans at my store here. The free printable has the booklist from this post, all of the daily activities, and the booklist for older kids.

Christmas Literature for Older Kids

The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry– middle school and up

The True Gift by Patricia MacLachlan– upper elementary and middle school

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens– high school

A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig– upper elementary and middle school

The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson– upper elementary and middle school

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson– middle school and up

The Story of the Other Wise Man by Henry Van Dyke– middle school and up

Miracle on Thirty-Fourth Street by Valentine Davies– upper elementary and middle school

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