Merry Christmas • Save the Dates • A Time to Give


Dear <<First Name>> ,

As Christmas approaches, we want to take a moment to send our greetings to you this holiday season and extend our special thanks to all of our regular supporters, church partners, businesses and individuals who have helped CESLM this year. Because of your generosity and giving, we are able to positively impact the lives of many in Calgary through training and awareness.

May God bless you abundantly this holiday season. 
Thank you for your continued support! 

From, the Staff and Board of Directors
of Cooperative ESL Ministries


Merry Christmas!

By Roswita Dressler, PhD.

Part of my approach to teaching ESL is to ask myself: what do my students bring to the table? Around Christmas, that question might more specifically be worded: what do my students know about Christmas in Canada and what can they tell me about Christmas in their home culture?

Of course, for some of my students, Christmas is not celebrated in their home culture and that is an interesting topic of discussion too. Christmas in Canada has many secular components and the topic gets interesting for both teachers and students when we discuss what aspects are central to the holiday and which are cultural. For example, some people could not envision a Christmas without turkey, but many people in Europe consider a goose to be the only fitting Christmas meal.

Here are some discussion starters that can be adapted for all levels of ESL.

The historical event

  1. What happened on Christmas? 
  2. Why is it important to Christians?
  3. Who else celebrates Christmas and why?


  1. What does your family eat for special holiday meals?
  2. What is: 
    1. Wassail
    2. Fruitcake
    3. Figgy pudding
    4. Stollen (trick question – German fruitcake)

Gift giving

  1. Does your family give gifts at this time of year?
  2. What was the best gift you ever received?
  3. Do you think Christmas has become too commercialized? Why or why not?


  1. Does your family come together at this time of year?
  2. How do you keep in contact with members of your family who don’t live here?
  3. Who has become “like family” for you?

The story of Jesus’ birth at Christmas is important to Christians as it speaks of God’s love for us. It is a story we like to share with our students, recognizing that they may not have come to our classes to learn specifically about Christianity, but they would probably also be surprised to come to a church sponsored class and not hear what it is we believe, especially at this time of year.

Students often appreciate the opening to ask questions and find out “what all the fuss is about”. They come to our classes already having heard Christmas carols and songs in the stores and on the radio. This is their chance to learn more about a story many outside of the class take for granted as “everybody knows that”. Enjoy your discussions and “Merry Christmas”!


A Time to Give

You may have noticed an email in your inbox in the past week about donating to CESLM. This email gave the first of three reasons Why We Ask For Money. We promise, we are not trying to annoy you by sending you these emails. Instead, we want to show you how your money is used and why we ask for it. Your contributions are vital to our ministry and we need those dollars in order to continue operating. Reasons two and three will arrive in your inbox the next two Mondays. Take a moment to read our reasons for asking and consider contributing one-time or monthly to our ministry. If you already do, you have our deepest thanks.

Your donations are a great blessing to the many lives touched through the ministry of Cooperative ESL Ministries. Your gift helps us offer our training and equipping programs to churches and volunteers who will touch the lives of countless immigrants. We couldn’t do it without you. Thank you for sharing in our ministry!

If you would like to contribute a gift to our ministry, please use the Donate Now link below. It will take you to our website where there are online and mail-in giving opportunities. Thank you!


Save These Dates!

Mark these dates on your calendar and watch our newsletter and website for more details. 

Intercultural Communication Workshop

March 15, 2015
Encompass Partnerships
3851 – 54 Ave. NE

Spring Training

April 18, 2015
Foothills Alliance Church
333 Edgepark Blvd NW


Blog coming soon!


Cooperative ESL Ministries
PO Box 65172 North Hill
Calgary, AB T2N 4T6

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