The drive to preserve separation of church in state in schools has meant that the curricular approach to teaching about Christmas has been watered down to a least common denominator. What we do in school often has little to do with the real meaning of Christmas. By teaching about Christmas with lessons about Eid al Adha and Hannukah you can teach the history of Christmas as well as the traditions surrounding its celebration.
Day One-Christmas as a Religious Holiday
Objective: Students will name one reason Christmas is celebrated by Christians.
Do a KWL Chart with your class
Tell the basics of the Christmas Story. Use a crèche, if you have one.
Assessment: Distribute coloring pages. Put a place to write names on the coloring pages: Mary, Joseph, Jesus, Shepherds, angels.
Day Two-Christmas Values
Objective: Children will name ways in which we can live out "Christmas Values."
Brainstorm What do these values mean?
Read The Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco.
What did Jonathon Jefferson Weeks learn about Christmas? How did the tapestry change the life of the old Jewish woman? What was the Tapestry, really?
Which of the Christmas Values did Jonathon and his father show to the old woman? Did the old woman show to Jonathon and his father?
Day Three-Christmas Gift Givers
Objective: Children will match countries to Christmas Gift Givers.
Computer Search: Have students find the country for each of the following gift givers.
- Santa Claus
- Father Christmas
- Pere Noel
Report InOn chart paper, write countries next to gift givers. Place labels on the map.
Day Four-Christmas Celebrations
Objective: Students will compare family traditions surrounding Christmas
Create a Chart with the following categories:
- Tree: When does it go up? What do you put on the top?
- Presents: When do you open presents?
- Stockings: Does everyone in your family have a stocking? Are they all still filled?
- Food: What do you eat Christmas Eve?
Tasting Prepare one of the following with your children, or ahead of time.
Day Five-Christmas Around the World
Objective: Students will compare and contrast practices between an American Christmas celebration and a celebration in another country.
Read about Christmas in another country. I have included. "Christmas in Uganda - a Scrumptious Family Celebration" by Dina Sekunga, a colleague at my school. We will invite Dina to come and tell us about Uganda. If you know someone from another culture, invite them. You may also check out Santas Net, which has narratives about many countries.
Make a Same/Different Chart. Write the things that are different between the two holidays under "different," those that are the same under the "same."