It’s that time of year again. Time for the hustle and bustle of the holiday season with never-ending to-do lists that place many demands on our time (and patience). December can be one of the most stressful months of the school year. This year make it alittle bit easier on yourself. Take your class a virtual field trip around the world to learn about several different holidays. As your class travels from place to place, they will explore different countries and learn about some important holidays. Time to get those passports ready for the trip of a lifetime. We will travel to several countries including Mexico, India, Sweden, Italy, Israel, and Canada! Bon Voyage! Students will love learning about different holidays are celebrated around the world.
The Holidays Around the World BUNDLE includes reading passages, lots of activities, and vocabulary posters for eight winter holidays:
- Las Posadas
- St. Lucia’s Day
- La Befana
- Christmas in Canada
Each unit includes reading passages to learn all about that holiday and the country where it’s celebrated. There are lots of activities, organizers, and a flip book so students can show what they know. At the very end of the unit, students will create a Holidays Around the World Scrapbook!
Create a Holiday Passport
Before we can begin our journey, we must get our travel papers in order. A fun activity is to create a passport for students. Passports can be printed in color or black and white. You might want to print just the covers in color and the inside pages in black and white. Only print the pages you need depending on which countries you are visiting. Each time they have visited a new country, have the students write in the name of the country and color the flag on that page of the passport. Stamp it with any ink pad stamp to make it look official.
First Stop: India
India is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. India is part of the continent of Asia. Indian people have great respect for animal life. Cows and monkeys are treated as very special animals. It is against the law to harm them. That is why you might see cows wandering through the streets during your visit. Diwali started in India as a celebration of light and marks the end of the harvest season. Diwali is a special holiday celebrated by millions of people around the world. Diwali is also known as “The Festival of Lights.”
Next Stop: Israel
Israel is home to more Jews than anywhere else in the world. Israel is a small country located in the Middle East. Jerusalem is the capital and largest city in Israel. Everyday life there is much like it is the United States or Canada. While we are visiting Israel, we will learn about a very important holiday called Hanukkah. Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday that lasts for eight days and nights. Hanukkah is also called the “Festival of Lights.” It celebrates the victory of ancient Jewish people who took a stand to protect their way of life.
When in Italy, Do What the Italians Do!
Italy is a boot-shaped peninsula that sticks out into the Mediterranean Sea. A peninsula is a land that is surrounded by water on three sides. Italians love their family and their food! While in Italy, we’ll learn about the famous legend of La Befana. It began thousands of years ago and is still practiced by Italian children and families to this day!
All About the Swedes
Sweden is a long, thin country in between Norway and Finland. On your travels to Sweden, you might see a moose. Moose is one of the most common animals there. You will also hear all about their patron saint named St. Lucia. St. Lucia’s Day is a festival of light celebrated in Sweden on one of the darkest days of the year. On this day, traditions such as the lighting of candles, singing songs, and sharing delicious sweets occur throughout Sweden.
Gracias Por Mexico
Mexico is located south of the United States. Mexico has the most reptile species in the world. It is also home to many other animals including jaguars, green turtles, and the tiny volcano rabbit. Stay for a bit and take part in a special holiday called Las Posadas. Las Posadas is celebrated in cities and towns all across Mexico. The name “Las Posadas” means “the inns.” Las Posadas is a 9-day celebration that takes place from December 16th to December 24th (Christmas Eve) each year.
Have you ever heard of Saint Nicholas?
St. Nicholas was born around 280 AD in Lycia, located in present-day Turkey. St. Nick loved to give gifts to children, and before long he became known as the gift giver of Myra. He traveled all over helping people and giving presents to all. Much of the time, St. Nicholas handed out gifts at night to keep his identity a secret. Canadians love to say that Santa Claus lives in Canada since the North Pole is located there. People around the world celebrate Christmas in different ways and with many special traditions. For most, Christmas in Canada is much like it is in the United States.
Last Stop: The United States
Kwanzaa is a seven-day-long celebration. Kwanzaa is a holiday to remember African-American culture, community, and heritage. Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26th to January 1st.
Putting it all Together: Let’s Create an Around the World Holiday Scrapbook
As a final project, students can make a Holidays Around the World Scrapbook! The booklet is designed as a mini-book to save on paper. They will read or review about each holiday and then tell about the symbols related to that holiday. There is a cover for students to decorate. Then attach all the pages to make the booklet. You might want to use ribbon or twine to attach the pages of the booklet to make it look festive.
There are lots of activities for each holiday in this pack:
- Symbols of the Holiday
- Spotlight on Vocabulary
- Vocabulary flip flaps
- Cool Organizers
- Fact or Fiction Activity
- 5-page Flip Book for each Holiday
Extension Activities: Add on a Holiday Writing Center
A fun holiday writing center activity is to print out the postcard templates (back to back) on cardstock. I’ve included twenty photo options to use for the front side! Just print in black and white and the photos will still look fabulous! There are also a holiday scene in black and white for them to color if you prefer. Then have students write a note to a family member or a friend telling what they did during that holiday or what they experienced and learned while visiting that country. I’ve also included “A Letter to Santa” template and example.