Classic Christmas Carols for ESL Classes

Christmas Morning
Christmas Morning. Caiaimage/Monashee Alonso / Caiaimage / Getty Images

To use these Christmas Carols in class I recommend first listening 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.

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

Another Christmas tradition is the reading of by Clement C. Moore. Follow the links below to followed by a reading comprehension based on this Christmas classic.

'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
Reading Comprehension based on 'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Each carol has the first verse and the difficult words defined at the end of the song so that you or your classes can understand each song. There is also a link at the end of each page to a printable sheet so that you can print the Carol out for use at home and in class.

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!