Many English students stay in San Diego and San Francisco during the holidays. Although it can be difficult to be away from home during this time of year, it is also a great opportunity to experience the holidays in a new country. CISL is offering five tips for our students who have the chance to live in the U.S. during this time of year. We hope you can experience some of these fun activities and events. Happy Holidays to our past, present, and future students!

Five Activities for ESL Students During the Christmas in San Diego and San Francisco

1. Go ice skating in beautiful locations

Ice skating is a popular event in many countries, but have you ever been ice skating in San Francisco’s famous Union Square or at the beautiful Hotel Del Coronado? Only San Diego offers ice skating at the beach, and only in San Francisco can you spend a few hours ice skating and then head off to Nieman Marcus for some upscale shopping. We can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon!

Ice skating at the Hotel Del Coronado


2. Have a White Elephant Party

There is a famous saying, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” Get rid of the “trash” in your house–and perhaps help a friend find a “treasure”–with a White Elephant party! This event is common during the holiday season and is a fun way to dispose of that ugly vase, strange sweater, or other weird household item.

At a White Elephant party, each guest brings a gift; it is typically something from around the house. Guests take turns choosing gifts and opening them: after the first person opens a gift, the next person has the option of either “stealing” a gift that has been opened or opening a new one. This continues until everyone has opened (and stolen) gifts. It turns into a fun game, and you never know what cool item you will come home with!


3. Drink eggnog

Nothing is more “American” than eggnog during the holidays. Pick up a glass at a local coffee shop or buy a small carton of it at the store the next time you go grocery shopping and see if you are one of those people who love eggnog . . . or one of those who hate it!


Do you know what eggnog is? Check out our post on this drink. You can even make it yourself using the recipe we provide!


4. Hang your stockings by the fire

Every Christmas Eve, American children hang “stockings” by the fire. Traditionally, these were stocking (long socks); today, they are oversized bags in the shape of large socks. In the morning, children wake up to find that Santa has  filled their stockings with treats. Perhaps you were bad this year and Santa will not come on Christmas Eve, but you should still hang your stockings by the fire for traditional Christmas décor.



5. Watch classic Christmas movies

Ask your American friends about their favorite Christmas movies and there is a good chance they will list “A Christmas Story” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” These two movies are classics! Pop some popcorn and watch these movies with your friends to get a dose of American culture. You might learn a few new vocabulary words, and you will definitely learn a few famous movie lines that you can use (“You’ll shoot your eye out!”). Click here for our five favorite (and hilarious!) holiday movies.