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December Holidays around the World: Christmas in France

France is a popular choice when doing a Christmas around the world or December holidays around the world unit. Christmas in France is similar to Christmas in the United States; however, there are some interesting differences that make it an interesting place to explore with elementary students during the month of December.

This Christmas in France resource can be used as a stand alone unit or as part of a larger December holidays around the world unit. It includes everything you need to teach your students about this special winter holiday.

Why You Should Teach Students about Christmas in France

The month of December is a great time of year to teach students about the different holidays and celebrations that take place around the world this festive time of year. Students are already thinking about the upcoming holidays, so it makes sense to use this excitement to engage them in their learning. There are so many different ways to tie this topic into your curriculum – especially social studies and literacy standards!

Christmas in France is a particularly interesting topic to explore because it has many similarities to how Christmas is celebrated in the United States, which many of your students will be familiar with. At the same time, there are some components that are a little bit different, which makes it interesting to compare and contrast the two.

5 Facts about Christmas in France

  1. Christmas celebrations in France begin on December 5th.
  2. Children leave their shoes by the fireplace and Père Noel fills them with gifts during the night.
  3. Most homes display a nativity scene called a crèche.
  4. Christmas Eve is the most special day. The people fast all day. They attend a midnight mass and enjoy a large feast. The feast is called Le Réveillon.
  5. A popular dessert this time of year is “buche de Noel,” which is a butter-cream filled cake made to look like a Yule log.

Christmas in France Unit

What’s Included?

This Christmas in France resource includes the following:

  • resource overview that identifies all of the printables included in the product
  • teaching ideas that offer suggestions for how to implement the resources in your classroom
  • organizational tools to help you keep track of the resources you add to this thematic unit
  • book suggestions to help you find relevant read alouds you might like to use as part of your unit
  • close reading passage for both teachers and students to learn more about the holiday
  • printable book for students to use to learn about the holiday
  • two-column notes graphic organizer so your students can organize their ideas and the research they collect
  • top-down web graphic organizer so your students can take the information they collected and transfer it into a paragraph framework
  • cover pages that students can color in or design their own illustration
  • geography map to help students make sense of where the country is in relation to themselves
  • flag bunting that looks great displayed on a bulletin board
  • flag coloring page that pairs well with the writing project and makes a great bulletin board
  • postcards so students can show what they learned in a fun and creative way
  • travel scrapbook so students can show what they learned in a fun and creative way
  • travel journal so students can show what they learned in a fun and creative way
  • art project to engage your students in a fun learning experience based on an academic topic
  • recipe for students to bring home, share with their families, and enjoy a hands-on learning extension
  • digital version of the product so students can access the materials in school and at home

5 Reasons Why You Will Love It

  1. This resource includes a bunch of activities, so it’s a great value!
  2. Many of the resources are completely print and go, which saves you lots of prep time.
  3. You can customize it to fit your needs by selecting which included activities you implement.
  4. The activities are open-ended, which makes it easier to differentiate and make modifications. It also enables you to use this in multiple grade levels.
  5. It’s a great way to keep students engaged during a month where that can feel extra challenging!

A Quick Summary

This is an excerpt from the reading passage and student mini-booklet that can be found in the unit:

“The holiday season is a very festive time of year in France. Christmas in France is very similar to Christmas in America and Europe. However, because the country is near the equator, it is summer in December. Temperatures can be as high as 100 degrees or more!”

Tips for Activating Schema

Like all lessons, you will want to begin by activating student schema and engaging them in their learning. You can do this by:

  1. Locating France on a map.
  2. Discussing France’s climate.
  3. Inviting students to participate in mapping activities that help them understand where your students are in relation to France and the rest of the world.
This Me on the Map project has long been the most effective way I know to teach students where they are located from a global perspective.

Many teachers use it as part of a map skills unit at the start of each school year, but it also works so perfectly as an introduction to your Christmas Around the World or Holidays Around the World lessons.

Printable Resources

Please note that you can either choose to get these resources specific to Christmas in France on their own or as part of the popular cost-saving holidays around the world bundle which includes the following countries and holidays:

  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • China
  • France
  • Germany
  • Mexico
  • Italy
  • Israel
  • Holland / The Netherlands
  • Sweden
  • Spain
  • The United States
  • Christmas
  • Chinese New Year
  • Boxing Day
  • Diwali
  • Epiphany
  • Hanukkah
  • Kwanzaa
  • Las Posadas
  • St. Lucia’s Day

The bundle also includes the following bonus materials:

  • Access to a digital portal for easy planning
  • Passports and country stamps
  • Luggage craft activity
  • Boarding passes
  • Travel map
  • Compare and contrast countries with Venn diagrams
  • Craft ideas
  • Scrapbook cover
  • Recipes

3 Craft and Project Ideas

In addition to the December holidays around the world resources spotlighted above, a study about Christmas in France lends itself to a variety of other complementary projects like travel brochures, an animal research project and crafts.

1. Travel Brochures

You could have your students create travel brochures by researching the country. It’s a fun and creative way for students to share the facts about Christmas in France they learned. This can be done in class or as a homework assignment to complement what you are doing in school. These printables travel brochures make it super simple!

2. Animal Research Projects

You could have your students learn about the wildlife native to France. This print and go animal research resource packet can be used over and over again through the school year because it was designed to be used when researching any animal.

If you need ideas specific to France, I suggest:

  • deer
  • shrew
  • moles
  • alpine marmots
  • European hares

3. Christmas in France Crafts

Take some time to do a craft with your students to represent the country you are focusing on. It is so hard to fit in creative activities, but this is a perfect time.

Here is what we made when we studied France:

You can see the instruction if needed for how we made this (as well as these other crafts we made to complement a study of many other countries) on my holidays around the world Pinterest board.

Christmas in France Books

Click on any of the images below to learn more about each title:

Check out all of the other country’s holidays around the world books!

Check out the holidays around the world videos!

Other Holiday Posts

This post is part of a series designed to help teachers and homeschool families. Other posts can be found below as well as the links to my other posts that you may find helpful in the month of December.

I also encourage you to visit this article to learn how to manage a holidays around the world learning experience in your classroom. It will help you with planning and teaching lessons about Christmas in France, as well as a comprehensive December holidays around the world resource.

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