10 Creative Ways to Celebrate Christmas with Your Exchange Student

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is a time for joy, love, and sharing special moments with those we care about. If you're hosting an exchange student during the holiday season, it's also a fantastic opportunity for cultural sharing.  Have fun as you introduce them to the magic of Christmas in your culture. Here are 10 creative ways to celebrate Christmas with your exchange student and create lasting memories.

1. Cultural Exchange Christmas Tree

gingerbread ornaments with German words

Decorate a Christmas tree with ornaments that represent both your culture and your exchange student's background. Whether your ornaments are purchased or homemade, this collaborative effort will not only result in a unique and diverse tree but also provide an opportunity to share stories behind each ornament.

2. International Holiday Feast

a variety of dishes on table

Host an international Christmas dinner dinner featuring traditional dishes from your country and your exchange student's home country. This culinary exchange will give both of you a chance to savor the flavors of each other's cultures and bond over a festive meal.

3. Language Learning Christmas

Felix Navidad spelled out in cookies

Incorporate language learning into your Christmas celebrations. Teach each other Christmas carols, greetings, and holiday phrases in your respective languages. This not only promotes cultural exchange but also adds a fun educational element to the festivities.

4. Customized Advent Calendar

woman hanging items on homemade advent calendar

Create a personalized advent calendar for your exchange student, filled with small surprises and activities that reflect your family traditions. Or create one together for the entire family to enjoy.  This daily ritual can include everything from holiday trivia and festive jokes to small gifts and treats.

5. Community Volunteering

family giving gift to little boy

Encourage your exchange student to give back to the community by volunteering together during the holiday season. Whether it's serving meals at a local shelter, participating in a toy drive, or helping with holiday decorations, this experience will foster a sense of gratitude and goodwill, and will be a special Christmas memory for years to come.

6. Christmas Movie Marathon

family on couch with popcorn, Christmas tree behind

Host a Christmas movie marathon to celebrate the season!  Your exchange student may be familiar with some of your favorite yuletide flicks, but others are sure to be new to them.  Make popcorn, share your favorite holiday classics, and discuss the cultural nuances portrayed in each film. This cozy activity is perfect for bonding over shared laughs and heartwarming moments.

7. DIY Holiday Crafts

girl and children making crafts

Get creative with DIY holiday crafts that showcase both your traditions. Whether it's making handmade ornaments, crafting festive decorations, or designing unique Christmas cards, this hands-on activity allows you to express your creativity while sharing cultural elements.

8. Christmas Market Excursion

woman and teen girl at Christmas market

Take your exchange student to a local Christmas market to experience the festive atmosphere, indulge in seasonal treats, and shop for unique gifts. This outing provides an opportunity to explore holiday traditions in your community and create shared memories.

9. Christmas Coffee Tour

cup of coffee with christmas tree in the foam

The variety of specialty Christmas coffee drinks is a part of American culture that your exchange student may find fascinating--and delicious!   Take your exchange student on the adventure of trying them all throughout the season.

10. Cultural Gift Exchange

girl giving woman a gift

Instead of traditional gift-giving, opt for a cultural exchange of gifts. Your exchange student may have brought gifts from their home country, but even if they didn't, they can likely find culturally-inspired items online.  Reciprocate by giving a gift  that reflects your own culture. This thoughtful gesture highlights the importance of cultural appreciation and understanding.


Celebrating Christmas with your exchange student is not only an opportunity to share your traditions but also a chance to learn about and appreciate their cultural background. By incorporating these creative ideas into your holiday festivities, you can create a memorable and enriching experience for both your family and your exchange student. This holiday season, let the spirit of cultural exchange and togetherness bring warmth and joy to your celebrations.

What other creative ways will you celebrate the season with your exchange student?  Share by commenting below.

Tags: Cultural Exchange, Exchange Student, Holidays, Host an exchange student, Christmas

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