December is one of the most fun times for me as a primary school teacher. With so many holiday symbols and themes that can be incorporated into the core subjects, it is truly the most magical time of the year in the classroom!
One of my favorite holiday lessons is teaching Christmas Around the World. A couple years back, my first grade team and I were brainstorming of teaching and celebrating Christmas Around the World but with a different twist. We loved having the kids rotate from class to class to learn how different countries celebrate Christmas, but we wanted it to be more relevant and relatable to the kids. Thus, I thought…”What about Santas Around the World?!”
Instead of focusing on Christmas traditions, we would focus on the story of Santa Claus around the World and how he brings joy to children on Christmas! The idea lit my imagination like fire, and I began researching like a mad-teacher. 🙂
The end result was simply magical! The students had a wonderful time and were so incredibly engaged, excited, and much more knowledgeable of all the different traditions that make Santa Claus who he is globally.
Below are some facts that I found on Santas Around the World.
Santa in the USA– Santa Claus as he mostly commonly referred to in the States is jolly and generous. He travels in his sleigh on Christmas Eve’s night to deliver toys to kids all the around the world with the help of his reindeer.
Santa in Italy- In Italy, La Befuna is a kind witch who travels on a broomstick and delivers gifts to children on January 5th.
Santa in the Netherlands– Santa is referred to as Sinterklaas, rides in a white horse, and delivers toys to children with his helper.
Santa in Germany– Also known as St. Nicholas, Santa in Germany places gifts and sweets for children in their boots placed outside their door on the evening of December 5th.
Santa in Sweden– A little man known as tomte with a long white beard brings gifts to families as they show their appreciation by leaving out a small bowl of porridge for him.
Santa in Australia– Similar to Santa in the USA, Santa in Australia also places gifts in children’s stockings hung by the fireplace and gifts under their trees. He just does everything except wearing flipflops, since it’s summertime in Australia during Christmas.
If you need additional resources on Santas Around the World, feel free to click to the image below. The resource includes colorful and engaging informational signs and an interactive student booklet.
I saw your blogpost on TPT and thought it was a neat idea! I have seen many teachers doing this, but I do have some points to consider. The Santas "Around the World" isn't truly 'around the world', but just around Euro-Centric and Anglo-Centric countries. Although Christmas is celebrated in many other countries, these countries should be celebrated too, as they reflect more accurately our diverse and multicultural student body and our world 🙂
I think we need to consider what our students perceive of our curriculum too. Wouldn't it be neat for a Brazilian-American/Guatemalan-American/Phillippino-American/etc. to see their cultures of Christmas celebrated, explored and shared too?
Thanks and I hope you consider some of my points 🙂
Thank you so much for your comment! As an Asian-American teacher, I have taught how Christmas is celebrate in the Philippines for many years. The limitation that I had while creating this resource is the lack of clipart depicting the Santas in the countries that you mentioned. If I had access and permission to use those clipart and make them accessible to educators around the world, I would love to. If you find them or know where I can find them, please let me know and I will be happy to include them. Thank you so much, and I hope you have a Merry Christmas!