Germany is a very popular choice when doing a holidays around the world or Christmas around the world for kids unit. Christmas in Germany 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 Germany resource can be used as a stand alone unit or as part of a larger Christmas around the world for kids unit. It includes everything you need to teach your students about this special winter holiday.
What is Christmas in Germany Like?
This is a short excerpt from the non-fiction reading passage and student mini-booklet that can be found in the Christmas in Germany unit:
“The Christmas season in Germany begins four Sundays before Christmas day. People make Advent wreaths using fir or pine branches. The wreath has four candles. They light one candle each Sunday leading up to Christmas. The children count the days until Christmas using an Advent calendar. Each day they open a numbered flap. Some Advent calendars have treats inside…”
Why You Should Teach Students about Christmas in Germany
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 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 Germany 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 Germany Christmas Facts
Here are 5 Germany Christmas facts:
- The Christmas season in Germany begins four Sundays before Christmas day.
- People make Advent wreaths using fir or pine branches. The wreath has four candles. They light one candle each Sunday leading up to Christmas.
- The children count the days until Christmas using an Advent calendar. Each day, they open a numbered flap. Some Advent calendars have treats inside.
- The tradition of the Christmas tree began in Germany.
- Christmas Eve is the day when most Germans exchange presents with their families.
Christmas in Germany Unit
This Christmas in Germany 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
- This Christmas in Germany resource includes a bunch of activities, so it’s a great value!
- Many of the Christmas in Germany resources are completely print and go, which saves you lots of prep time.
- You can customize this Christmas in Germany to fit your needs by selecting which included activities you implement.
- The Christmas in Germany activities are open-ended, which makes it easier to differentiate and make modifications. It also enables you to use this in multiple grade levels.
- This Christmas in Germany unit is a great way to keep students engaged during a month where that can feel extra challenging!
How to Implement a Christmas in Germany Unit
Below are suggestions for how to implement a Christmas in Germany unit either by itself or as part of a Christmas around the world unit for kids.
1. Activate Schema
Locate Mexico on a Map
Like all lessons, you will want to begin by activating student schema and engaging them in their learning. It’s a great way to see if your students are familiar with the holiday, celebrate it personally, or know any facts about Las Posadas. You can do this by:
- Locating Germany on a map.
- Discussing Germany’s climate.
- Inviting students to participate in mapping activities that help them understand where your students are in relation to Germany 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.
Read Picture Books Related to Germany
Learn about Germany by reading aloud fictional picture books that take place in Germany and non-fiction books teaching about Germany.
Cobweb Christmas is a German folktale that explains why people decorate their Christmas tree with Tinsel. It tells the story of an old woman fondly called Tante, by those in her village.
Each year, Tante gets her home ready for Christmas by cleaning and going out to get a Christmas tree. Tante would make her own decorations for the tree, covering it in treats for the animals. Once everything was ready, she would share her tree with the children and animals.
When Tante finally fell asleep, Christkindel was off delivering presents. He saw hundreds of spiders outside Tante’s house, hoping to view the tree. Christkindel let them in and discovered they’d woven webs all over the tree. Not wanting to upset Tante, he turned the webs into tinsel.
Tante was awoke to the marvelous tree and continued to decorate her tree that way year after year. Check out these Cobweb Christmas activities!
2. Engage in the Activities from the Christmas in Germany Unit
The Christmas in Germany Unit includes tons of activities to choose from. Read through the resource overview and list of teaching ideas included in the unit to determine which activities you’d like to implement.
Read the Christmas in Germany Texts and Complete the Note-Taking Activities
This unit includes a close reading passage and printable book that your students can read to learn about the holiday. There is also a two-column notes graphic organizer and a top-down web graphic organizer that students can use to collect information about the holiday.
Analyze a Map of Germany
This unit includes a map to help students make sense of where the country is in relation to themselves. Our Me on the Map activities is a nice compliment to this activity.
Make a Travel Journal, Scrapbook, or Postcard
Having students create a travel journal, scrapbook, or postcard will invite them to show what they have learning in a fun and creative way.
Send Home a Traditional German Recipe
Send home a traditional German recipe for students to share with their families and continue their learning at home.
Make a Christmas in Germany Craft
Take some time to do a craft with your students to represent the country you are focusing on, Germany. It is so hard to fit in creative activities, but a winter celebrations around the world unit is a perfect time to incorporate fun hands-on learning experiences.
Here is what we made when we studied Germany! Check out these directions for how to make this craft and get ideas for other holidays around the world crafts!
3. Assess Students Using the Resources from the Unit
There are tons of different ways to assess students during and at the conclusion of your Christmas in Germany unit. You can use the graphic organizers, classroom observations, and class discussions as informal assessments. You can use the postcard, travel scrapbook, and travel journal as formal assessments. You can decide what works best for you and your class of students!
Holidays Around the World Unit
What is Included?
You can get the Christmas in Germany unit on it’s own or as part of the popular cost-savings holidays around the world bundle, which includes the winter celebrations around the world listed below. This bundle is helpful for teachers doing a Christmas around the world unit for kids too!
- Holland / The Netherlands
- The United States
- Chinese New Year
- Boxing Day
- 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
Check Out These Other Related Resources
In addition to the winter celebrations around the world resources spotlighted above, a study about Christmas in Germany 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 Germany 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 Germany. 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 Germany, I suggest:
- Red fox
- Greater Horseshoe Rat
- Bicolored Shrew
3. List of Christmas in Germany Books
We’ve curated a list of picture books for each of the countries. Check out all of the holidays around the world books on our list! This list is helpful for teachers doing a Christmas around the world unit for kids too!
4. List of Christmas in Germany Videos
We’ve curated a list of videos for each of the countries. Check out all of the the holidays around the world videos on our list! This list is helpful for teachers doing a Christmas around the world unit for kids too!
5. List of Holidays Around the World Posts
This post is part of a series designed to help teachers and homeschool families teach kids about the winter celebrations around the world. 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 Germany, as well as a comprehensive Christmas around the world for kids resource.