12+ December Holidays / Special Days for Your Family to Learn about

Happy Hanukkah, Las Posadas, Christmas and Kwanzaa: Fun Ways to Celebrate with Your Kids!

By Macaroni KID Conejo Valley - Malibu - Calabasas December 17, 2023

Step into the enchantment of December! This month is filled with a tapestry of joyous celebrations and heartwarming gatherings beyond just Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year's eve. While these festivities offer wonderful moments to cherish with family and friends, December's calendar is adorned with a myriad of diverse and meaningful celebrations and observances — some familiar and others await the discovery by you and your family. 

As another year swiftly draws to a close, December unfolds with a busy schedule, not just because of the winter break for school kids. It's a time filled with important and meaningful celebrations, holidays, special days, and moments of remembrance — a mix of the familiar and the undiscovered, creating excellent opportunities for learning and shared experiences.

As we embark on the month, let's pause to think about those who may need extra assistance and honor the memory of the many lost or injured during the attack at Pearl Harbor. Our journey then takes us through an earlier-than-usual Hanukkah celebration, the tradition of Las Posadas, the contemplation of Winter Solstice, the joy of Christmas, the unity of Kwanzaa, and finally, we can usher in the new year and "party like it's 1999" on New Year's Eve — sorry if I'm showing my age and my fondness for Prince.

Here are some noteworthy local historical dates this month:

  • Dec. 5, 1946:  Commercial Airline Service began at LAX
  • Dec. 11, 1981:  Westlake Village becomes a city
  • Dec. 16, 1896:  Griffith Park is given to L.A.
  • Dec. 17, 2022:  Last day of P-22's remarkable life
  • Dec. 18, 2003:  Chinese American Museum opens in L.A.
  • Dec. 26, 1966: 1st ever Kwanzaa is celebrated in CS Long Beach
  • Dec. 27, 1779:  1st recorded use of the original Spanish name for L.A. 
  • Dec. 31, 1901:  Angels Flight opens

Most dates above courtesy of L.A. Meekly, a Los Angeles History Podcast

For family-fun things to do,  visit the Macaroni KID Conejo Valley - Malibu - Calabasas calendar. 

Here are ten special days, holidays and events that your family can honor, celebrate or learn more about in December:

Wavebreakmedia from Getty Images via Canva

National Special Education Day

December 2nd

This day commemorates the anniversary of our first federal special education law. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed by President Ford on December 2, 1975. IDEA made public education accessible to all children with disabilities across the United States and ensured that they receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) and related services through age 21. This law was a critical and necessary step to make education and resources accessible for all children.

Books for kids:

Interesting and helpful articles about Children with special needs:

StockPlanets from Getty Images Signature

International Day of People with Disabilities

December 3rd

Did you know that people with disabilities are the largest minority group and that one billion people live with disabilities worldwide? This day designated by the United Nations is an annual occasion designated to join together to support people with disability and raise awareness of the importance of creating equal opportunity for people with disabilities in all aspects. Find out more.

More on the topic of Disabilities:

fabrikwebge from pixabay via Canva

National Cookie Day

December 4th

Who can resist the allure of cookies? Celebrate by treating your family to a delightful array of sweet treats. Baking cookies with the kids isn't just a fun activity; it's a perfect bonding experience for all ages, even the littlest ones. The aroma of freshly baked cookies is unbeatable—whether you whip them up from scratch or pick-up your favorites from a local bakery. 

If time is tight, there's no shame in opting for store-bought or ready-made cookie dough. I can practically smell those irresistible aromas now! Personally, I have a soft spot for peanut butter with chocolate chips. What's your go-to cookie choice?

Orangutan family endangered wildlife by cirquedesprit form Getty Images via Canva

World Wildlife Conservation Day

December 4th

World Wildlife Conservation Day came from a pledge by the United States State Department to protect wild animals by encouraging protections for species all over the world.  

Pearl Harbor memorial plaque by Joel Carillet from Getty Images Signature

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

December 7th

This is a day to honor and remember the sacrifice of the 2,403 service members and civilians who lost their lives and the 1,178 people who were injured when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on December 7, 1941 - " a date which will live in infamy."

We must never forget about these brave men and women and this fateful day

Learn more:  

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December 7th -  15th

This 8-day long Jewish celebration, also known as the "Festival of Lights" begins at sundown on December 18, 2022. Hanukkah like all Jewish Holidays follow the Hebrew Calendar so the dates change from year to year. Hanukkah typically starts sometime in December, but not always. Some years it can start as early as November and end as late as January.

Chanukah or Hanukkah which means "dedication" in Hebrew celebrates the victory of the Jewish Maccabees over the Syrian Army, the rededication of the temple that followed and the miracle of the one day's worth of oil for the menorah that lasted for eight days. Each night families gather together to light the menorah as they recite prayers, starting with one candle or oil pot added each of the eight nights. Another yummy tradition is to eat foods cooked in oil to remember the miracle of the oil, some favorites are "latkes," pancakes typically made from shredded potatoes and fried in oil, "Sufganiyot" - similar to jelly doughnuts, and chocolate "gelt" they are chocolate coins wrapped in gold or silver foil. More favorite activities are to play a game of dreidel, it's a four sided top, sing songs, gather with friends and family. Like all holidays families have their own traditions, some do involve gift giving, often they are small tokens sometimes one each night while others families might go bigger or just do one night.

Hanukkah, Chanukah or Hanukah what is the correct spelling? Actually they are all are correct read more about why here.  

Hanukkah Events for your Family & Everything you need to Celebrate Chanukah with your Kids: Shopping, Recipes, Games, Crafts and More!

Don't miss these articles to help you celebrate Hanukkah / Chanukah:

Learn more:

Looking for local Hanukkah festivities, check the Macaroni KID Conejo Valley - Malibu - Calabasas Calendar

Mexican piñata by fergregory from Getty Images via Canva

Las Posadas

December 16th through 24th

Las Posadas, which translates to "The Inns" in Spanish is a traditional religious festival and important part of the Christmas festivities in Mexico, parts of Latin America and in Hispanic communities throughout the United States. While it originated in the church, the custom has now spread to family homes. Las Posadas is often organized by neighborhood communities, with a different host family each night. Visitors, who ask for lodging for Joseph and Mary, bring food, candy, and star-shaped piñatas to celebrate. Each stop includes reciting passages of scripture and singing. 

Here's a family friendly and entertaining explanation of this celebration:

Remembering P-22

December 17, 2022 

P-22, the most famous mountain lionwas born in the Santa Monica Mountains and lived for approximately 12 years. His father, P-001, was the first puma captured and included in the National Park Service - NPS study of local pumas in the Santa Monica Mountains. In 2012, P-22 gained local celebrity status after successfully crossing the busy 101 and 405 freeways. He settled in Griffith Park and was later photographed near the iconic Hollywood sign, inspiring two movies: The Cat That Changed America and Strong Hunter

P-22's legacy and his remarkable journeys played a pivotal role in the realization of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing over the 101 freeway. We can draw inspiration from his experiences, making P-22 a figure to be remembered for years to come. This is a great opportunity to educate your children about our local wildlife.  #SaveLACougars

Learn more:

Winter solstice sunset by Koji Kishita from Getty Images via Canva

Winter Solstice

December 21, 2023 at 7:27 pm

What is the Winter Solstice? The Winter Solstice has played a roll in many cultures, seasonal holidays and traditions. Need to explain the winter solstice to your kids? Tell them this day has the shortest period of daylight of the year.

According to the Farmers Almanac:

"It’s the astronomical moment when the Sun reaches the Tropic of Capricorn, we have our shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere in terms of daylight. Regardless of what the weather is doing outside your window, the solstice marks the official start of winter."

Watch: πŸŒ„ Winter Solstice - Live from Stonehenge πŸ–₯️December 21, 2023

Want to help your kids learn more about the winter solstice?

Choreograph from Getty Images via Canva

Christmas Eve / Christmas Day

December 24th & 25th

Merry Christmas! This important Christian holiday is celebrated around the world on December 25thmany families start celebrating the evening of December 24th "Christmas Eve" or even earlier in some cultures. This sacred religious holiday is a worldwide, cultural and commercial celebration. Traditions range from religious to secular and include attending church services, spending time with family, Caroling, decorations, light displays, decorated Christmas trees, gift giving, visits with Santa, giving to those less fortunate, community service and joyous meals with family and friends and shopping - oh the shopping. 

 Photo Images via Canva


December 26th through January 1st

This annual 7-day celebration started in the U.S. as a way to honor African heritage and African-American culture. Kwanzaa has seven core principles: unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. Talk to your kids about how they incorporate those principles into their lives! Kwanzaa is an African American and Pan-African holiday now observed through the world celebrating family, community and culture. 

This holiday with strong African roots was created under the direction of Dr. Maulana Karenga, chair of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach. After the devastation of the Watts Riots he was looking for ways to bring the African American community together, he combined aspects of different African Harvest celebrations together to help create Kwanzaa, the first celebration was in Los Angeles, CA in 1966.

2023 Kwanzaa Theme -  “Kwanzaa, Freedom, Justice and Peace: Principles and Practices for a New World

jenjen42 from Getty Images Signature via Canva

New Year's Eve

December 31st

Happy New Year! The celebration begins the evening before and can include parties and staying up late for the Countdown to "ring in the New Year." Have littles who won't be able to stay up until midnight? Celebrate with your own "Noon" Year's Eve celebration — they don't need to know it's a few hours early! 

When Year Starts Around the World:  With 38 different local times in use, it takes 26 hours for the New Year to encompass all time zones. Find out in which order they enter the new year and which countries are first and last.

Learn more about New Year's Traditions from around the world:  Did you know that more people celebrate New Years around the world than any other holiday? Here's 50 traditions from around the world | New Year's traditions: How do people celebrate the new year around the world?

Ōmisoka ~ Japanese New Year's Eve - New Year's Eve and New Year's Day are very important celebrations in Japan: About Japanese New Year |  What Japanese do on the Omisoka!? | Wikipedia: Ōmisoka

Looking for some Family Fun events and things to do to Celebrate these and other Holidays?  

Visit the Macaroni KID Conejo Valley - Malibu - Calabasas local Calendar for all the latest family fun, kid friendly events and activities in the Conejo Valley, Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Oak Park, Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Newbury Park, Malibu and nearby in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties. 

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Updated November 29, 2023