On Saturday, December 5, join us online to celebrate Holiday Traditions from Around the World. Since the Gold Rush, immigrants came to the county from countries around the world. When they came, they brought with them customs from their homelands. The day’s craft activities explore some of the holiday traditions that people brought with them to the Peninsula.

Girl decorating a Christmas cracker
Heritage Bank of Commerce Logo

Hands-On Activities

Enjoy recreating these holiday traditions and crafts from around the world!

Clip art of an English Christmas Cracker

Christmas Cracker

Christmas crackers originated in England.


  • toilet paper tube
  • tissue paper (or thin wrapping paper)
  • ribbon, string or yarn
  • tape
  • markers (optional)

Click here for instructions.

Click here for instructions to make a tissue paper crown to put inside your cracker.

Clip art of a Mexican Bird Rattle for New Year's Celebration

Bird Rattle

Rattles are popular in Mexico during New Year’s Celebrations


  • template, parts one and two  (you will only need two of these circles)
  • tape (masking tape works best, but any tape will do)
  • craft stick (or pencil, small branch, dowel–anything of similar size/shape)
  • dried beans (or rice, pony beads—anything of similar size/weight)
  • crayons, markers or color pencils
  • glue stick

Click here for instructions.

Clip art of African American Kinara used during Kwanzaa


A Kinara is a candle holder used during Kwanzaa–a holiday celebrating African American culture


  • paper plate
  • craft sticks
  • yellow tissue paper (if you don’t have tissue paper, you can use any kind of yellow paper, or use white paper and a yellow crayon/marker/highlighter)
  • tape
  • markers/crayons/color pencils
  • ​glue stick

Click here for instructions.

If you don’t have craft sticks, you can cut out similar candle shapes from thin cardboard or construction paper. Or, you can click here for a printable version. Courtesy DLTK’s Crafts for Kids.

Clip art of 2 children playing Japanese New Year game hanetsuki

Hagiota Paddle

A Hagoita paddle is a piece from a traditional Japanese New Year’s game called hanetsuki.


  • paddle template (printing on cardstock works best, if you don’t have cardstock, print and cut out the template, then trace it onto a piece of thin cardboard (like the back of a cereal box)
  • geisha template (regular paper is fine)
  • craft stick (or pencil, small branch, dowel–anything of similar size/shape)
  • tape (masking tape works best, but any tape will work)
  • glue stick
  • crayons/markers/color pencils

Optional: a cotton ball and a small square of tissue paper (or a tissue/sheet of paper towel/napkin).

Click here for instructions.

Handbell Performance

Ring in the holidays with a prerecorded performance by the San Francisco State University Handbell Choir.  Click here for a printable program.

For more information on the group, visit our Courthouse Docket page.  The Courthouse Docket series is sponsored by Cypress Lawn Heritage Foundation.