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Historical Happenings in December 2021


Tis’ the season of administering final exams, grading projects, and making end-of-semester report cards. It may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the busiest! With only a few weeks left in the month before Christmas Break, finding the time to finish these tasks while finalizing lesson plans can be a challenge. This is why we put together a list of important dates from history and resources that you can incorporate into your daily lessons. The finish line for this semester is in sight, and we’re cheering you on! YOU’VE GOT THIS!


December 16, 1773 – The Boston Tea Party Takes Place

The Sons of Liberty, a group of Patriots, climbed aboard three docked merchant ships carrying tea and dumped the contents into the Boston Harbor. Their protest was in response to the heavy taxation of tea and other imported goods under the Townshend Revenue Act of 1767.


Under this law, the tax on the tea imported into Boston was due twenty days from the date of arrival, making the deadline December 17. Rather than pay the tax, the Sons of Liberty conspired to destroy the tea the night before the tax was due. Their protest was one of several events that eventually led to the American Revolution.


Teaching Resources:

  • Boston Tea Party Primary Sources, Digital Public Library of America

  • Boston Tea Party Coloring Page, Gallopade International

December 20, 1860 – South Carolina Secedes from the United States

Following the election of President Abraham Lincoln on November 6, 1860, many Southern states threatened to secede from the United States. A month later, South Carolina followed through with its threat by becoming the first state to leave the Union.


The South Carolina General Assembly believed that President Lincoln’s election would eventually mean the end of slavery, or at the very least, would challenge it. They wrote, “A geographical line has been drawn across the Union, and all the States north of that line have united in the election of a man to the high office of President of the United States, whose opinions and purposes are hostile to slavery.”


Teaching Resources:

December 25, 325 AD – Christmas is First Celebrated

Constantine the Great, the first Christian Roman emperor, enacted a feast to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. While the exact date of Jesus’s birth is debated, December 25 was declared the birth date by Pope Julius in 320 AD. However, Christians refused to celebrate on this day because it was originally the date of a pagan holiday, known as “Natalis Solis Invicti,” a festival to celebrate the sun's birth on the day of solstice.


Teaching Resources:

December 26, 1966– Kwanzaa is First Celebrated

Maulana Karenga, an African American scholar, combined many African customs and traditions into one memorable holiday called Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa means “first fruits” in Swahili, an African language. Many families worldwide observe Kwanzaa, which lasts for seven days (December 26 - January 1).


The celebration of Kwanzaa focuses on Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba) designed to pull the African American community together and grow stronger as one body. These principles are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith). Each principle is celebrated on a different day of Kwanzaa, starting with Umoja on December 26 and ending with Imani on January 1.


Teaching Resources:

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