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 1st grade team and I were brainstorming ways 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 about 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 is 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 France: Santa is France is known as St. Nicholas. He travels with his friend Pere Fouettard. St. Nicholas leaves toys for children in their shoes by the fire while his friend, Pere Fouettard, spanks children who have been naughty. (Ouch!)
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.