ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: Teaching with Ticia: Christmas Around the World

Monday, December 6, 2010

Teaching with Ticia: Christmas Around the World

Welcome! New to ABC and 123? Please check out our FAQ in the sidebar.

So, I love to study Christmas around the world. I think it’s absolutely fascinating the different holiday traditions different countries have and who has adopted what tradition. On my blog I asked everyone what countries they would suggest and I got some fun suggestions, and reinforced some of my own plans already, so here’s what we’re going to be doing to study this.


Suggested books:
Gingerbread Man (obviously there are many versions of this, pick your favorite)- suggested activity make gingerbread cookies; act it out using the puppets from the printable.
Hansel and Gretel or Jan Brett’s Gingerbread Friends- follow up activity: make graham cracker gingerbread houses or go to Jan Brett’s website and color your own.

Other activities (link to printable):
trace the word Germany
draw what you would want Saint Nicholas to put in your shoe (optional watch the Veggietales movie about Saint Nicholas). I didn’t have available to me a good book about him, so suggestions are welcome.

cut out and glue the words of what the Germans do for Saint Thomas Day. I found that to be one of the more amusing Christmas traditions.
Oh, and please pretend that picture looks all nice and neat, not surrounded by random paper scraps my daughter seems to love to make.


We haven’t done this yet, so no pictures.
Suggested books:
Welcome to Sweden-this was mainly great because of the pictures, so no suggested actvities
Hedgehog’s Secret- not strictly speaking a Christmas book, but is set in Sweden; activities: draw a Christmas secret you have or what your treasure is.
Bridget and the Gray Wolves-again not a Christmas story, but what a great way to talk about imaginative play and having fun with others
Other activities (link to printable):
For puppets on this one I included Tomten (the gnome), which is Sweden’s Santa Claus, Julbock, the Christmas goat that Tomten rides, Saint Lucia, a Swedish horse, and a man riding a horse to represent Saint Stephen.
Make a Saint Lucia wreath, cut out green construction paper leaves and add candles to it out of white construction paper or toilet paper tubes
Make Saint Lucia rolls.


I have to admit, this was probably my favorite one because of all the information I found, thanks to one of my readers giving me a wonderful site to check out.
Suggested books:
Mistletoe and the Christmas Kittens- suggested activities: talk about what a cat needs to have a good home
Sampson Christmas Cat- discuss how you’ve gotten into trouble and did it always turn out like you expected
Elves and the Shoemaker

Activities to do (link to printable):
You can trace the words
Make leaf bread, Iceland does not have many grains so it is a big deal to have bread for Christmas.
Read the poem of the Christmas Cat.
Decorate the Christmas tree like they would in Iceland with fruit and candles, and then draw what you would want under it.
Make Yule Lads finger puppets, if you read the website I linked above you’ll find out all sorts of information about them.


Yes, Hawaii is part of the United States, but they have some very different traditions, and I thought it’d be fun to highlight them.

Suggested books (my friend who studied Hawaii suggested them to me):
Hawaiian Christmas Tree
Hawaiian Night Before Christmas

Suggested Activities (link to printable)
On the mini-book with Santa surfing, write how Santa gets to the islands. He usually comes by outrigger canoe pulled by dolphins.
You can make reindeer snacks. I had a hard time finding a good recipe because many of them took unusual ingredients or looked to be fairly complicated.
You can act out how Santa is welcomed. Traditionally Hawaiians have a luau complete with hula dancing after Santa arrives.
Make a lei- I included an oval and some flowers to glue on the paper, but you could also make this into a patterning activity and make an actual lei with paper flowers, which when we get to this part of the study I’m thinking of doing.

Obviously, this is only a small portion of the countries you could study, but I chose Sweden and Germany because our families come from there. Hawaii and Iceland were chosen because they amused me and I was able to find a good source of information about them.

My plan is to eventually study many different countries. I know Mexico has some fascinating traditions, as does Great Britain, France, and Russia. There are endless countries to study, not to mention the other holidays that occur at this time. I’m looking forward to getting into some of those next year maybe.


  1. I love this idea.

    Also, Musings of Me had a link to another absolutely fabulous Christmas Around the World Unit at:

    Thanks for the great activities!

  2. I love studying these too. Great job.

    As a suggestion, for Hawaii, Jimmy Buffet has a fun song for "Mele Kalikimaka" on his Christmas CD but I also found it at

  3. Wonderful activities! I needed some more inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Interesting post! I'm glad you shared this information.

  5. Great post! Wonderful ideas and thanks for sharing the links. Kerri

  6. Fun ideas!! Ticia, what is the link to your blog??
    Thank you!!

  7. Great suggestions! I bookmarked this post to use some of the ideas later in the month.

  8. Well researched and very usable for all classes! Thank you.