In Moscow many of my students had no idea that December 25th is a huge holiday in the West. A few, select students, had celebrated Western Christmas before, but most of them looked forward to New Years, where they decorate a "Christmas" tree, exchange presents, eat an amazing assortment of foods, watch the Kremlin clock strike midnight, and enjoy the 10 day break that follows.
So, being in Korea for Christmas was quite a different experience. My students knew what Christmas was, and many of them received presents. Christmas songs played everywhere on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but before they were virtually non-existent. In my experience, Christmas has been about atmosphere with Christmas songs beginning, and lights going up, immediately after Thanksgiving (at the end of November). Additionally, Christmas was about spending time with family, going to church, and opening presents. For Korean students Christmas seemed mainly about presents, but possibly about spending time at an amusement park or with friends.
Because my students had some idea about Christmas on December 25th, I took advantage of this. For a whole week, after the lesson, when my students insisted on a “game”, I had them create Christmas cards. In the more advanced classes, they wrote Christmas stories. First we brainstormed a list of words that had to do with Christmas, then they worked in groups to make a story using ten of the words.
I encouraged them to be creative and funny with their stories … here is the most entertaining result of this exercise. Written and illustrated by Wendy, Terra, and Sally.
Santa, "If I get out of [this] chimney. You will die."
Santa, "My face hair is burning!"
[Rudolph became Santa]
Rudolph Santa, "See you next Christmas!"
The ghost of Santa, "Deer! I don't like you!"