Kwanzaa is a week-long celebration that honors African American heritage and culture. Kwanzaa is observed from December 26 to January 1 every year and culminates in a feast and gift-giving.

Students can give this wreath as a gift decoration for Kwanzaa. Each night of the celebration, they can read a principle and its description from the wreath.

What You Need

  • Construction paper in red, green, and black
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Markers
  • Printouts of the Kwanzaa principles and their meanings
  • Yarn
  • Hole punch

What to Do

  1. Have the students trace their hands on red, green, and black paper and cut the handprints out. They will need nine handprints total — three in each color.
  2. Have the students assemble their handprints into a wreath by gluing the hands together in a circle, alternating colors if they choose.
  3. Have the students write (or print out and glue on) one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa on each of the handprints. The seven principles are listed below. On the eighth and ninth handprints, the students can write "Happy Kwanzaa" or a personalized message.
  4. On the back of each handprint, have the students write (or print out and glue on) the meaning of the principles.
  5. Punch a hole at the top of the wreath and string a piece of yarn through it to hang the wreath.


The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa

Umoja (Unity)

To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)

To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)

To build and maintain our community together; make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems; and to solve those problems together.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)

To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses, and to profit from them together.

Nia (Purpose)

To make our collective vocation the building and development of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Kuumba (Creativity)

To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Imani (Faith)

To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.