Classic Christmas Carols for ESL Classes

Teacher with group of students standing around piano singing

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To use these Christmas Carols in English class, first, listen to a recording (or two) which you can easily find by searching on YouTube or other video sites with the title of the song. Print out the words, and follow along with the song. As you become more familiar with the words, start singing the along with the recording. Finally, sing the song as a class to bring in some Christmas spirit into the classroom.

Another Christmas tradition is the reading of by 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore.

Classic Christmas Songs

  • Jingle Bells
  • Silent Night
  • Joy to the World
  • The First Noel
  • We Wish You a Merry Christmas
  • Oh, Come All Ye Faithful
  • Hark the Herald Angels Sing
  • What Child Is This?
  • We Three Kings
  • Auld Lang Syne
  • Away in a Manger
  • Deck The Hall
  • God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
  • Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
  • Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming
  • O Christmas Tree
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • Lullay Thou Little Tiny Child

Singing Carols in Class: Suggestions for Teachers

  • Find a good recording of the Christmas carol and play it for the class twice without any text. Just let the students listen and do their best to understand.
  • Provided a printed version of the lyrics with gaps for keywords. Practice together as a class as a listening gap fill exercise. 
  • As a class, brainstorm the words that are difficult to pronounce. Isolate the words and practice as minimal pairs with similar sounding words to help students understand differences in vowel sounds. 
  • Choose a specific carol a few weeks before Christmas. Spend five or ten minutes in each class understanding, practicing and perfecting your carol. For larger classes, have students break up into smaller groups and learn different carols.
  • If you are teaching young English learners, put on a small concert for the parents of children in your class. Choose three to five carols and perfect them as a class. After the last class before Christmas, put on a mini-concert for the parents.
  • If your students are outgoing, have a recital. Each student can choose a favorite carol and the class can sing for each other. It's fun, but a challenge!