Celebrating Christmas in China: Activities for the Classroom

By Team Meg | 13 November 2023

Merry Christmas! 圣诞快乐 Shèngdàn Kuàilè!

The Christmas holiday is, by far, the biggest festival in the Western Calendar and is celebrated, not only by Christians around the globe, but is also a commonly celebrated public holiday festival as a time to spend with family, in many different countries globally.


Christmas has been growing in popularity in China over the last decade, despite the fact that Christianity is not widely adopted there—less than 1% of people are Christians. Despite this, it is fast becoming a popular festival that Chinese people celebrate as a way to spend time with family, do some shopping and give gifts to their friends and family.

Let’s Explore Christmas Traditions in China!

There are some special features to celebrating Christmas in China. For example, Santa Claus is often seen playing a saxophone (the origins of this are still unclear, but it’s possibly linked to Bill Clinton’s ability to play the saxophone). Crispy pork belly (a Chinese specialty) is the main Christmas meal, rather than Turkey.

Giving apples as gifts with messages on them (such as love or peace) is a unique Chinese Christmas tradition. This tradition developed from the word for apple, píngguǒ, which sounds like the word for “peace” in Mandarin, which is in the Chinese translation of Christmas Eve, “Peaceful Evening.” To celebrate the holidays with your students, use this Christmas Apple Message activity sheet so they can share it with their families and friends! Or, add a touch of Chinese culture to your Christmas Tree with these cute Panda Christmas Tree Decorations.

Activities for the Classroom

Although Christmas Cards in China are not common, people do commonly send messages and e-cards on social media apps. However, if you’d still like to make Christmas cards with Chinese messages (in pinyin and characters) with your students, check out our resource sheets down below! Students can copy the phrases or print them and paste them into their holiday greeting cards.

Christmas songs are appreciated everywhere during the festive season and popular Christmas songs and carols have been translated into Chinese and are sung and played on the radio during the holiday season. Learn and sing along with these Chinese versions!

Check out our Global Learning Activity Cards!

Explore additional activities linked to Chinese culture with our ever-growing range of fun, cross-curricular activities for all ages, from prep to high school.

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