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Christmas Around the World

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It's always fun at Christmas time to learn about ways other countries celebrate. Here's a collection of ideas/activities to use when planning a Christmas Around the World unit for your classroom.
Christmas Around the World Unit
Posted by:Debbie #96838

My collegue and I are currently teaching a Christmas Around the World Unit togehter to grades 1-3. We've talked about doing this for atleast two years, and this year just decided to go for it!

We decided we had enough information to cover 10 different countries (Mexico, Sweden, England, Poland, Holland, Germany, Italy, France, Ireland, and the United States). We typed up a fact sheet for each country with basic facts about their Christmas traditions. Then copied coloring pages, map outlines, flags to color in, etc. for each country and bound them together into a book for each student. We had a Christmas tree pattern that had "Merry Christmas" written in several different languages on it that the students colored and then glued to construction paper for the cover. We plan to spend 2 days on countries like England, Italy, and Mexico that...

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Country Search
Posted by:ismile #130897

I am doing Christmas Traditions from around the world with my third graders this year. I have always done Christmas around the world, but seem to change it up every year. This year, will tomorrow, am starting with an introductory activity that will introduce the concept that there are many different ways that Christmas is celebrated around the world. It is a country search where they have to find the country names that go with the tradition in a search activity. Basically, I have all the answers and each student can get one answer from everybody in the classroom. So, since I can give one to each student, it creates a ripple effect with the information. Does that make sense? I have a cold and it's late! I will attach my search and directions...I typed them up today since I am sharing with my grade level....

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Teacher page
Posted by:ismile #1461

Here is the teacher page with answers...helpful!

Download: christmas search answer key.doc (36.864 KB)

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Direction Page
Posted by:ismile #1462

And finally, here is the direction page...this is the one that I hope makes sense.

I am also doing a tradition booklet, I can share that too if you are interested.

Download: Christmas Tradition Country Search directions.doc (25.088 KB)

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December Holidays Around the World
Posted by:ismile #117768

Hi All! This is a great thread...I wish I would have come by in sooner! I am planning a unit (along with my third grade team) for December Holidays. I am currently putting together power points for each country. I have two done and since it looks like a lot of us are looking for the same thing, I thought I would post them, but they are too large. The two I have done are for Germany and Mexico. I am willing to email them if you are interested. I also made a passport for the students with the holidays and countries that we are focusing on this year.

Hope this helps!

Oh, and if anyone is doing Christmas in Germany, make sure and include the pickle ornament tradition! I stumbled acrossed it and thought of several fun classroom connections!

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Christmas in Italy
Posted by:Ms #52347

I compare the holiday in Italy to the holiday in the U.S. In Italy they begin the holiday season with a cannon being fired from a castle and here one thing that happens is the tree being lit in Rockefeller Center. We use Christmas trees and they use ceppos with is a tripod like object which holds gifts and angel and a nativity scene. The children write a letter to their father and place it under his napkin to be read aloud at the Christmas meal. We have Santa Claus who brings gifts and they believe Old Befana brings their gifts. We create stars because the star of Bethlehem is what woke Befana from her sleep. Try to read the Legend of Old Befana by Tomie dePaola and you will get an idea of what she stands for.
The stars are made from popsicle sticks...

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Christmas in Italy
Posted by:msharkey #118111

In my unit, Holidays around the world, we visit Italy and I read "The Legend of La Befana". then, we make little brooms out of brown construction paper - it's real easy.

Have 2 small triangles precut
Have a 2 inch wide rectangle precut (about 3 - 3 1/2 inches long)
Have the kids fold the rectangle in half (the long way)
Then have them tuck in both triangles in between the long rectangle
glue everything shut
(I usually give a quick staple as well to ensure everything is closed)
Then, the kids snip the triangles to give a "broom" look.

We enjoy Pannetone bread as well.

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Christmas around the World
Posted by:Lauren #51980

Our first grade teachers have done Christmas Around the World for years. This is how we do it. We each take a country. We then have a story, an art activity and food for that country. My country is Germany so I read "A Cobweb Christmas". It is a German folktale. Then we make a Christmas tree with diecut trees and rolled up tissue paper for ornaments. Then I give everyone a gingerbread cookie for a treat. We "travel" from room to room visiting each country. We make the kids a "passport" so they can keep track of where they have been. The teacher will give the student a stamp from their country as they walk into their room.It is then glued on their passport. The countries we have represented are:Germany, England, Mexico, Sweden, France, Italy, and Brazil. Of course we also feature the North Pole.The kids learn...

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France and Mexico
Posted by:Amie #63712

We did a similar event throughout our Lower School last year, and the kids really enjoyed it! I was in charge of Christmas in France. We talked about the French traditions (Pere Noel, midnight mass, etc.), sang "Un Flambeau, Jeanette, Isabella," and made mini buches de noel (yule logs).

The buches de noel were really cool and very easy to make. We covered Little Debbie Swiss cake rolls with chocolate frosting and used red hots and green frosting to make holly. Then we dusted them with powdered sugar for snow. Yum!

Our second grade teacher did Mexico. She read the students a story about Las Posadas (I think it was "The Legend of the Poinsettia" by Tomie dePaola), taught them a song in Spanish, and let them make tamales.

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You're in luck!
Posted by:Steph #118109

Hi! I just happen to have my Carson Dellosa December book home with me. There is a two page spread on Italy. I'll summarize. If you want more detail on anything, let me know.

Books: The Legend of the Old Befana or Merry Christmas, Strega Nona
both by Tomie de Paola.

Buon Natale (bwon nah TAHL e)

My Ceppo- a small triangular ladder for in Italian homes around Christmas. Instead of a tree, the ceppo is decorated with candles, ornaments, small gifts, family treasures, and most importantly a nativity scene. Ask students to think of things important to them and draw a ceppo. (Triangle with three or angel at the top). Can write a paragraph about why those things are important to them.

Hidden Letter- During the Christmas feast, Italian children often hide a...

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Lots of ideas
Posted by:Steph #117706

Hi! Here's some of what I have done in the past. Unfortunately I don't have the directions for some of the crafts here at home. You should be able to find them on line or let me know the ones you're interested in and I can follow up when I go back to school. You can find information about each country on line. I got most of my ideas from Mailbox magazine. If you have access to any of their yearly books, one of them has a christmas unit. There are two pages of ideas for each country along with other recommended books. This is one of my favorite units to do with my 2nd Graders!

Mexico- Read “The Legend of the Poinsetta” by Tomie de Paola. Discuss Mexican Christmas Traditions. Do poinsetta art project. Write and
Illustrate in Christmas Around the World Book. (I usually do a manilla folder or large construction paper with paper inside. The kids journal each day about what they learned in that country and how it relates to...

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Christmas songs
Posted by:Chris #63099

Last year my third graders did German Christmas caroling. It was so fun! They learned first how to say the words, then the tune. When we had it all put together (after LOTS of practice) we did some German Christmas caroling around the school. I did a unit on tradional German Christmas in my room. You'd be surprised at how many traditions began in Germany (Christmas tree, glass ornament balls, tinsel, advent calendars, lights on the tree, etc.) We didn't really celebrate Christmas and the only reason my school allowed me to do it was because we also did some sharing about Kwanze and Hanakah (for those that celebrated those holidays). I can certainly send you the songs if you like. One is "Silent Night" (Stille Nacht), "O' Christmas Tree" (O' Tannenbaum), "Rudolph" (Rudolf Mit Rotem Naschen", and a purely German one "Kling Glochen". You can also search online...

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Edible christmas tree
Posted by:msharkey #118087

Germany started the tradition of decorating trees so my first graders and I make sugar cone christmas trees. I use sugar cones and color white icing green.

Have the kids ice the "tree" and then I use small candies like mini M&Ms and such to decorate the tree.

the kids LOVE this activity.
FYI, I did this with a 5th grade one year and a 3rd grade another year and both grades LOVED it as well. Who wouldn't love a little sugar rush?

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Holidays Around the World
Posted by:msharkey #117711

Each year I do this unit for the month of December. Each day or 2 we visit a different country and do a project. I intro with a book and I've made a power point that intros the holiday/country we will be focusing on. After completing the activity, I ask them questions about what they have learned and then, stamp their passport. (I have a template, if you'
d like) - can't attach here but if you give me your email, I'd be more than happy to send.
Mexico- God's eyes and paper poinsettas (Legend of the Poinsetta)
Israel- (hannaka) - driedel game and edilble menorahs(various books)
Italy - pannetone bread and brooms (The Legend of La Befana)
England - paper stockings and greeting cards ( Twas the Night Before Christmas)
Africa/America - Kwanzaa - mkeka mats and kinara game (various books)
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