It seems many institutions (among them preschools and senior living communities) make December all about the holidays. Or more specifically, turn everything from the day after Christmas until December 26th into all things Christmas.

This post is not one bashing religious observances. This is not about what you should do in your home. It is not about taking the fun out of the season.

Rather, it is a chance for you to remember

Not everyone celebrates Christmas. Group sessions need to respect many traditions and backgrounds.
For some people, the holidays point up the loss of significant people in their lives.

Not all Christmas songs are happy songs. “Blue Christmas”and “I’ll be Home for Christmas” are just a couple of examples of holiday songs dealing with loss.

Holiday alternativesWhat are “more options”?

Well, that depends on YOUR setting and situation. You’ll find multiple blog posts with options. Among them:

The options are many and varied.


  • Create bingo cards with song titles in place of numbers. (Yes, it is fine to include a few holiday songs.) Play a recording or play the melody. When someone gets “bingo” song all the songs (or the refrains) of those which resulted in the bingo.
  • Create bingo cards with images of instruments. Use a mix of listening examples, trivia about performers or the instruments themselves to create the “call list”. When bingo is called, have fun playing “air versions” of each instrument or sing about them using a song similar to “Oh, We are Fine Musicians”
  • Play traditional bingo. When bingo is called, have the group drum on the table, on disposable cups or on drums the syllabic rhythm.

Special Days

There are many special days throughout the year. Simple injecting some of these can offer a break from the month-long barrage of holiday music. A few to consider are:

  • Bathtub Party Day (Dec. 5th) – Celebrate with these songs.  in senior living and these with preschoolers.
  • Gingerbread House Day (Dec. 12th) – This is a fun day to share intergenerational groups. Create a rhythmic story version of the gingerbread man. (There’s one highlighted in the fairytale collection for Session Cafe Members.) Build gingerbread houses and sing songs about building.
  • Violin Day (Dec. 13th) – See if any in your group play violin. Share history of the instrument. Play selections in various styles – classical, alternative, country.
  • International Tea Day (Dec. 15th) – Hold a Teddy Bear Tea with an intergenerational group. With those in senior living, share songs about things you drink. Take this idea, use tea names and drum away.
  • National Flashlight Day (Dec. 21st) – Flashlight tag, a glowing drum circle, hand shadows dancing to music….

None of this means removing holiday songs

It is more about opening the realm of possibilities. It is about being sensitive to diverse cultures and emotions. It is about allowing those we serve to explore more than one sub-set of music.

Get on the waitlist for the next Session Planning Extravaganza!