ROOM 219

virtual extension of the ESL classroom

Holiday Traditions

Erika says:
Nimitz High School has a tradition – the week before Christmas many teachers volunteer to read to groups of students. They go to classrooms during their conference periods and bring with them stories about Christmas day.
Also many teachers read a lot during the break, like Ms. Terry Dodds , who is the ESL department head. She will also be preparing a “favorite books list”.
All this encourages the students to check out library books to read over their long holiday break.

Mrs. Dodds, a Holiday Reader

Another interesting activity that Nimitz High School does is singing at the library, songs like Silent Night. Last year I enjoyed this fun activity. Foreign Languages and ESL classes sang together in the various languages – English, Spanish, French, and German. Nimitz students did it this year, too. ( and

Jordan says:
A link to Jordan’s story about the Angel Tree project at Nimitz:

Participating classes decorated classroom doors creating festive atmosphere for the whole school.

A Holiday Offering from Nimitz High School:

Our Russian partners say:
“First of all we decorate our classrooms, prepare a holiday party, put on perfomances. Last year pupils of my class were awarded 5 000 roubles (about 200 dollars) for winning in school contest to choose the best class. We spent that money on some presents to the children of the orphanage. They were very happy to get presents.”
New Year's Party in a Russian School
A tradition of sharing:
A Visit to an Orphanage

Party Time

All my classes enjoyed the stories about seasonal traditions from the local public radio station, KERA 90.1, Students decided to share Holiday traditions and the best recipes from their families on this blog.
My own story starts with a question: What traditions do multicultural families follow? In our family clan of mixed religions (Protestant, Muslim, Orthodox Christian, Buddhist, with Jewish and Catholic boyfriends and girlfriends of the kids) we embrace the HOLIDAY SEASON, and we call it Christmas.
As a bicultural Russian-American couple, my husband and I combine family customs.

Evergreen branches with callas

Our holiday display is very simple and includes Saint Nickolas, Russian dolls for ornaments, and evergreen branches with callas. My husband has had this figurine of Santa for many years. Looking at its kind face invariably fills me with joy – a lovely little miracle in itself. Porcelain-faced dolls in traditional costumes exemplify Russian crafts. The white callas are a tribute to my parents. My father always brought a fresh bouquet of calla lilies for my mother for the New Year. Crisp fresh callas were hard to get in the middle of Russian winter. They were a conjunction of hope between compound and complex sentences of winter and spring in the story of seasons.

The Tinnin Family Cranberry Salad
2 small packages of cranberries
2-3 oranges
2 large green apples (Granny Smith)
2-3 celery ribs
2 cups of walnuts
1+ cup of sugar in raw
(in my personal opinion, artificial sweeteners ruin the taste)
Zest of 1 orange
Cut all the ingredients into small pieces in the processor or by hand,
mix, and leave overnight. It will keep for a week, but this energy boost
is so delicious that it is gone in two days.

December 17, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. our christmas lights this 2010 would be made up from light emitting diodes which does not generates so much heat:;.

    Comment by Infrared Camera : | October 27, 2010 | Reply

  2. My name is Kate. I am from Russia. I live in a small city which is the north of Russia. I celebrate New Year with my family and friends. On eve of new year the friends familiar, relatives exchange gifts. To give a gift is my favourite tradition. It is always pleasant to pay attention and to give to close people.
    Usually we have a rich table and a considerable quantity of visitors. All visitors rejoice, laugh, take part in competitions. Then under a peal of bells all think of desire and hope that it will come true in coming year.
    Then all inhabitants of a small city go on celebratory salute. This day an especial for me. It fills soul with pleasure and alters usual day in a magic fairy tale.
    With coming new year!

    Comment by Kate Trushina | December 23, 2009 | Reply

  3. I’m oscar Lopez and I grew up in Salvador the best tradition of my family is to decorate the Christmas tree we always put many gift around the tree because we think the tree of Christmas is very important because represent Christmas also we eat dinner, which is meat, soda,pupusas,pouch, and all we cook for Christmas day.

    We also make some fun game for the kids.

    Ingredients for pupusas

    1tablespon olive oil
    ½ lb. Ground pork
    1 small onion, chopped
    1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    1 medium, tomato, chopped
    1 tablespoon maggi granulated chicken
    flavor tomato
    ½ teaspoon ground cumin
    4 cups corn tortilla mix
    ½ teaspoon salt
    2/3 cups hot water, curtido

    Comment by OL7 | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  4. I’m Jose Rodriguez, and I grew up in Mexico. A tradition of my family is to celebrate the Birth of Jesus in the Christmas Eve. I want to keep this tradition, because all my family and most of the people in Mexico celebrate this holiday.
    On Christmas Eve we have a dinner. We make tacos, punch, goat’s barbecue, tamales as the principals foods.
    We make some pinatas for the kids to break.

    Receipt for 20 tamales:
    2 pounds of dough corn.
    1 ½ pounds of chicken.
    1 pound of lard.
    Salt to taste.
    Salsa of chile.
    Corn leaves.
    Approx. 2/3 of gallon of water.

    Mix the corn flour, lard , the water, and the salt to taste togetther. Then, put to boil the chicken, then put the chicken in piece with the salsa of chile together into the corn flour in the corn leave. Then, add water in a pot and foil the tamales still it is ready to eat.

    Comment by JR | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  5. My names is Jorge me and my family celebrated Christmas day. My favorite tradition is beef tacos. All my family join in my mom’s house to enjoy that holiday. When my mom began to cook everybody enjoy the flavor of the tacos. All my family is happy and enjoy each moment of Christmas day.

    Comment by JR7 | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  6. On Dec/24th we have a dinner in my grandfather’s house and we make a lot of food. We make tamales as the principal food. The cabrito (a little goat), ponche(punch), coffee, tacos and more.
    My dad and uncles make the cabrito, and my mom and aunts make the tamales and the others things.
    My cousins and I make a pinata and all the little children brooked it.
    At the night we eat the dinner and talk about how was the year and our expectations to the new year.
    Receipt for ponche ( holiday punch):
    ¾ pound small apples or tejocotes, peeled and sliced.
    10 guavas, halved.
    ½ pound raisins or prunes or a mixture of both.
    6 oranges, scrubbed and sliced with rind.
    1 cup jamaica (dried hibiscus) flowers.
    4 pieces sugar cane stalk, peeled and cut into strips.
    3 sticks cinnamon, each about 6 long.
    7 quarts water.
    Sugar to taste ( the usual portion is 1/3 cup to each quart of water)
    brandy, rum or wine to taste (optional).
    Place the apples, guavas, raisins, or prunes, oranges, sugar cane and cinnamon in a large stock pot with the water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour. Add sugar to taste, cover and simmer for another 10 minutes. If adding brandy or other alcohol, add and simmer a few minutes longest.
    Serve hot in mugs.
    Serves 16- 18.

    Comment by eg6 | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  7. Our tradition in my family is that we all gather at my grandparents house , everybody brings at least one pinata ,we also get some music because one of my uncles is a musician and they have a band but they don’t
    play music that day we just use the sound equipment , we cook different stuff , sometimes we eat tacos , , tamales , and other different things , me and my cousin buy some fireworks and we use them before we eat, after that we go to the downtown where there is a party every Christmas with music ,fireworks and many other fun things to do.

    Comment by CV7 | December 18, 2009 | Reply

    • We also play music. Everybody in the family has CDs with Christmas songs of all kinds. My favorite is “A Lone Star Christmas Carol,” a musical by Gary Taylor. He is a Math teacher and a talanted musician. He took a famous story by Charles Dickens and adapted it in Texas style. The musicians released the CD under “Hock the House Records.” Can you guess why? It’s available on
      And tonight was the last show in the Circle Theatre in Fort Worth:
      I am very happy for my friend!
      Gary with his wife perform songs from the musical in a concert

      Comment by Dr.M | December 19, 2009 | Reply

  8. Christmas

    I’m Francisco, I grow up Mexico and almost two years ago we move from Mexico to United States. And all my family for christmas make rice sweet, and all my family meet at the house of one of my uncle to eat dinner. For this holiday my mom always cook to us “Rise Sweet” because is one of my favorite food.


    Arroz Dulce (Rice Sweet)
    ¾ cup rice
    2/3 cup sugar
    1 tsp. vanilla
    4 cups milk
    1 cup rich cream
    ¼ tsp. salt

    Scald milk. Put the rice into a deep baking dish, cover with the hot milk, and bake in a moderate oven for 3 hours, or until the rice is soft. Stir occasionally during first hour to prevent sticking. If necessary, add more hot milk. When almost done, add vanilla, sugar, and cream, and finish baking.

    Comment by fa7 | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  9. The Nimitz high school tradition for Christmas week.

    Nimitz High School has a tradition – the week before Christmas many teachers volunteer to read to groups of students. They to go to classrooms and bring with them stories about Christmas day.
    Also many teachers read a lot during the break, like Ms. Terry Dodds , who is the ESL department head. She will also be preparing a “favorite books list”.
    All this encourages the students to check out library books to read over their long holiday break.
    Another interesting activity that Nimitz High School does is singing at the library, songs like Silent Night. Last year I was with the Nimitz High School students. We sang it together in the various languages – English, Spanish, and German. ESL and foreign languages classes did it this year, too.

    Comment by em7 | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  10. In my family, we spend Christmas Eve at home. My husband, 3 sons, and I sit around the Christmas tree. We buy a new book with a Christmas story to read. We sing Christmas songs – my boys always insist on singing 12 Days of Christmas. I also make my “best hot chocolate ever”. We also let our boys look in their Christmas stockings hanging above the fireplace – it will have candy and little fun things to play with.
    On Christmas Day we open presents in the morning and then have a big family lunch with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
    Happy Holidays!!!

    Comment by Ms. Dodds | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  11. Our Christmas tradition is hanging parol or Christmas Lanterns. Putting Christmas tree lights are symbols of our holiday. Going to church by nine-day dawn called Misa de Gallo or Night Mass is very important. It’s start at 4 to 5oclock dawn in our beliefs if you complete the mass or novena he/she would grant special wish or favor and our tradition 12 midnight of 24th of December. After going to mass we eat Noche Buena includes queso de bola its a spanish cheese ball, tsokolate its a hot chocolate,and hamon christmas ham. After eating we open our christmass gifts and thats how we celebrate Christmass Traditions.

    Comment by kg6 | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  12. Every Christmas me and my family get together at my grandmothers house we make a lot of different food like tamales,posole, menudo, caldos, cakes and cookies and a lot of desserts that each of my family likes. We open the presents at 12:00 of midnight we talk and have games and we allways have a nice moment because everyone is just enjoying the moment when all the family is together. One of the tradition that our family has is the pecan meltaways that became a tradition because my grandfather used to like them a lot so for every Christmas he will tell each one of the family to make some pecan meltaways.
    Here are the ingredients of our tradition that are the pecan meltaways:
    1 cup butter softened
    ½ cup confectioners sugar
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    ¼ tsp salt
    ¾ cup chopped pecans
    additional confectioners sugar

    in a large bowl, cream the butter, confectioners sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Combine flour and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in pecans. Refrigerate until chilled. Roll into 1-in. Balls and place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 grades for 10-12 minutes or until set. Roll warm cookies in additional confectioners sugar; cool completely on wire racks. Roll cooled cookies again in confectioners sugar.

    Comment by jacqueline tena | December 18, 2009 | Reply

    • Where did your family get this recipe?
      If you use cooking sites, please include the URL.

      Comment by Dr.M | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  13. We Celebrate Christmas

    I am Christian , so we celebrate Christmas. I celebrate Christmas with my family. My mother and my cousins make a lot of special dishes on this day. We make kappa Biryani (Tapioca Biryani) Biryani, etc………… we cut plum cake. On this day ,Holy Mass is held in all the churches. we sing Christmas carols, set up the Christmas tree and Christmas crib
    (nativity scene) in all churches and homes. we exchanges cards and receive gifts from Santa Claus are all integral parts of the festivities. The Indian people call Santa Claus, “Christmas papa”.At night some people act and dress like Santa Claus . Then, children are very happy. In every Christian home with meat( chicken , beef ,pork ) as a special item, They are bought new cloths in Christmas. The new cloths worn on Christmas day. People put stars in front of their houses. Churches and homes have many decorations. On December 24th at midnight , prayers and Holly Mass the churches . The students are happy to get a 2 week vacation. After Christmas students have exams. The celebrations of Christmas leave good memories in every heart.

    Comment by shalu | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  14. My Christmas
    Celebrate with my family my mom with me put lights around the house birth place with the tree together with the boy god
    my mom does food for a family dinner, my mom end my sister makes a dish is called roast chicken with rise the chicken puts to parboil then puts mayonnaise end chicken broth put in the over till this gold end the rose is with vegetables end the chicken broth end my sisters arrive with their spouses husband to have a meal family.

    Comment by RZ6 | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  15. christmas day Mexican Tamales

    well my name is Daniela, and I like to celebrate Christmas with my family and for Christmas my mom make tamales for all the family but this year my Christmas is going to be pretty sad because. I dnt gonna get gifts this time but the most important is the we still gonna celebrate Christmas with some little dinner with all my family. And of course I love tamales that’s my favorite food

    corn husks

    Comment by O.O3 | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  16. Nimitz High School has a wonderful tradition. Many teacher with class decorate the doors, mix Christmas paper and use Christmas light and used imagination and other things that was important for the school and for this traditions, but the most important for this traditions is the Christmas tree and the food.

    Comment by osiel castaneda | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  17. When I was in Mexico,my parents buy a little tree for us and they put the gifts under the tree when my sister and I fall in sleep .Almost all my family get together to pass Christmas in my grandma’s house and sing to el nino dios (Jesus) like for 2 hours and we going out side to sing too in front the door with candles in our hand. When we finished singing we start to eat and give the gifts to the boys and break the pinata. Now that I came to the United States that tradition change just a little bet and they made different food.

    Tamales and Champurrado

    6 cups Maseca corn masa mix for tamales
    6 cups Chicken broth
    1 cup corn oil
    2 tsp salt
    1 tsp baking powder
    1 1/2 large rotisserie chicken
    2 cans salsa verde or tomatillo sauce
    1 bag corn husks


    1. Soak the corn husks in warm water until soft.
    2. Blend with an electric mixer Maseca corn masa mix for tamales, corn oil, salt, baking powder and the chicken broth to obtain a consistent mixture.
    3. Shred the chicken and marinate in the green salsa or tomatillo(tomatoes) sauce.
    Spread masa evenly over corn husks, and spread a spoonful of marinated chicken on top of the masa.
    4. Fold the sides of the cornhusk to center over the masa so that they overlap to make along package.
    5. Fold the empty part of the husk under so that it rests against the side of the tamale with a seam.
    6. Place the tamales in tamale steamer and cook tamales for 35-40 minutes. Check every 20 minutes. The tamales are cooked when they separate easily from the corn husk.

    Champurrado, Thick hot chocolate or atole is a hot beverage made with ground corn, or masa. It’s prepared with milk or water, sweetened with refined sugar or piloncillo (unrefined sugar that is pressed into a cone shape

    Comment by ramiro | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  18. Bunuelos


    *2cup of flour.
    *1 egg.
    *1/4 cup of milk.
    *1/3 bar of butter
    *1 sugar cane
    *2 piloncillos
    *1/21 of water

    Beat butter with a pinch of salt and the egg to incorporate the flour and milk to from dought ball let it rise 40 minutes to make the dought and spread with the roller until you have the form of an thin tortilla toast 10 hours in oil heat until browned and drain for honey piloncillos boil and add the cloves and cinnamon until to serve cover with honey and sprinkle with ground cinnamon.

    Comment by vr6 | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  19. Mexican Tamales

    well my name is Daniela, and I like to celebrate Christmas with my family and for Christmas my mom make tamales for all the family but this year my Christmas is going to be pretty sad because. I dnt gonna get gifts this time but the most important is the we still gonna celebrate Christmas with some little dinner with all my family. And of course I love tamales that’s my favorite food

    corn husks

    Comment by O.O3 | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  20. My holiday tradition.
    Each year my family celebrates holidays. Sometimes they do tamales,chicken with a lot of thing inside,sandwich,they make mole, ponche, atole, champurrado, rise,beans, posole, menudo water of horchata. On my grandmother tradition they do pupusas, nuegados de dulce.
    Mexican children delight in the game where the “pinata” a pottery or paper container many times shaped like a bull or donkey,is filled with candy and suspended from the ceiling on a rope.

    Comment by tomas | December 18, 2009 | Reply

    • When I was little, my parents used to set up a “horizontal pinata.” They would arrange candy, pieces of fruit and other small gifts on a rope stretched across the room and let blindfolded kids go for their treats.

      Comment by Dr.M | December 20, 2009 | Reply

  21. I am Lucero, I’m from Mexico and I have been 2 years in the United States. My family and I celebrate Christmas with our different traditions. One tradition is that the first day of December we like to decorate the Christmas tree together. For dinner we like to cook different dishes, especially Mexican traditional food, like pozole, tamales, menudo etc. Every Christmas we like to be together as a family, and sometimes we like to visit our family in Mexico.
    Other tradition is that for New Year you can wear different colors of clothes, for example if you want love you can wear red or if you want money you can wear yellow, and that is a way to start a New Year. Christmas is a especial holiday to be together, and that is how I celebrate christmas with my family.

    Comment by Lucero Alfaro | December 18, 2009 | Reply

    • Do you know symbolic meanings of other colors?

      Comment by Dr.M | December 20, 2009 | Reply

  22. Flan
    8 eggs
    1 can sweetened condensed milk
    1 evaporated milk
    2 teaspoon vanilla
    3 teaspoon of sugar

    You need to put the 8 eggs, the sweetened condensed milk, the evaporated milk, and 2 teaspoon of vanilla in the blender until all ingredients are mix.
    Pour 3 teaspoon of sugar in a warm pan. Constantly stir sugar until it become caramel.
    When the sugar becomes caramel put it in a pie pan, and put all the ingredients too. In a double boiler put 1-2 in of hot water. Bake for 30 or 45minutes in the water bath.

    Comment by Lucero Alfaro | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  23. “Christmas is the favorite holiday in a my family”
    We are a big family of 30 people.
    We all come to my uncle house.
    He is very happy in special day.
    We cook Mexican food like tamales,mole and cakes.
    My family is very united in Christmas,
    that we are all together because my uncle wants
    the whole family is united in Christmas
    all my family is happy in Christmas that we are
    together we all why Christmas is a special day in
    my family that I see my cousins who live other
    states and we are happy to see them.

    leaf tamales.

    Happy Christmas family.

    Comment by RC2 | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  24. My Christmas Traditional holiday

    One of our favorite things to do for our Christmas was to make pollo breaded , is the best pollo I’ve ever eat
    my dad has the thing that he always make good food
    his food is the most delicious food I’ve ever eat,
    if you eat it your gonna like it
    My family and I enjoy to give thanks for the December 24th give
    thanks that we’re still alive and here to give thanks.
    We even play games and watch movies is one of the best thing because my dad always explain how is the movie about or my mom
    cooked us a cheese pay it was the delicious pay I’ve ever eat
    it softy and juicy.
    The ingredients:
    .bread crumbs
    I don’t really know how much pound and the other things are but the only thing I m sure is that the food we eat is made with love and that the only reason for why the food is so delicious do not
    forget about that
    Christmas is the best holiday where we can give thanks and be happy with our family.

    Comment by Denisse | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  25. Christmas in Mexico
    Well I’m from Mexico. I moved to U.S when I was 13 and live with my aunt tho tradition is that we all ways go to
    Mexico and my uncles and my aunts have a restaurant they sell pollo asado (chicken) and carne asada (meat), so the secret is the we have a sason, and we always eat pollo in Christmas. The name of the restaurant is pollos chava in the city of Frontera Coahuila Mexico. Well, I cannot tell the recipe because it is a secret.

    Comment by JORGE Al. | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  26. My name is Selvin.
    A recipe for pupusas.
    The ingredients are flour, meat, cheese, tomato,and onion.
    My Family tradition is rebentar cuetes (burn fireworks).

    Comment by selvin | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  27. My Family Tradition
    Every Christmas all my family always made bunuelos,tamales,rompope,chocolate,arroz con leche,fajitas,beans. We always celebrated in a big way.We write letters of all the bad and sad things that had happened on our life and then burned them,also of what we wanted to happened next year. Everything was perfect,our family together,everyone happy,a lot of fun but now that me and my sister came her everything its different,and we missed it a lot.
    My great grand mother,grandmother,and ant make the bunuelos(a big fry crispy tortilla with cinnamon-sugar) I love eat bunuelos there delicious!!!!

    Bunuelos a Mexican Recipe:
    make balls with the prepared flour
    fry it in oil

    Comment by LS | December 18, 2009 | Reply

  28. Our family tradition has been to exchange holiday newsletters and photos. When I was young, my mom and dad always made handmade cards and added our photos. Since my dad was involved in advertising, he liked to design interesting cards. One year, we had cards that folded out when they were opened. One year he made up a rhyme using our names and fitting to the music of “Jingle Bells”. After I got married, my husband and I started printing holiday newsletters with pictures and mailed them. This year, we have created an electronic newsletter with a photo gallery. Happy holidays!

    Comment by Natalie Sunde | December 17, 2009 | Reply

  29. I am Veronica. I am from Mexico. I came to United States when I was 14 years old. My family an I are accustomed to prepare for Christmas and buy all things we need one moth before the holiday. We buy a natural tree. All my sisters help me decorate the tree. We also plug-on red, green,white, and blue lights around the house. Also every family displays a Nativity Scene. And all my sisters and brothers write a letter for Reyes Magos to get gifts and toys. (Reyes Magos are three wise men who brought gifts to baby Jesus.)
    To eat, we make bunuelos and atole.(atole is made with milk and chocolate; we serve atole in glass or cup and we drink it hot.) No good Christmas is possible without a pinata. We put inside all kinds of candies. We have fun breaking it to get the candy. /edited in class/

    Comment by vr6 | December 17, 2009 | Reply

  30. For Christmas. me and my family decorate the Christmas tree. and put on the tree our favorites ornaments. My favorite ornament was the paper heart. The heart color was white I made it because I didn’t have any toy when I was 4 year old . And I enjoyed making .

    Comment by julio | December 17, 2009 | Reply

  31. I grew up in Mexico. all my family in Christmas make tamales. All the family meet in the house of my aunt and we make tamales and sing. when we finish the tamales my grand mother makes atole and the rest of us decorate the house of the Nino Dios(baby Jesus) and in the night we pray and we change the cholth of el Nino Dios. Everybody makes a wish. and we hug each other. Then we exchange gifts and then when is 12:00 a clock we opened the gifts and enjoy the special moments.

    Comment by Dulce Gandara | December 17, 2009 | Reply

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