Winter Holidays around the World for Kids: St. Lucia in Sweden

St. Lucia is a popular choice when doing a winter holidays around the world unit with elementary students. If you don’t know a lot about it, these facts about St. Lucia and collection of resources will help you plan and prep a comprehensive unit.

St. Lucia in Sweden is an interesting topic to explore with elementary students during the month of December. This St. Lucia in Sweden 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 celebration during a winter holidays around the world unit.

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What is St. Lucia Day?

This is an excerpt from the reading passage and student mini-booklet that can be found in this St. Lucia Day unit, which is one of our winter holidays around the world units:

“In Sweden, the holiday season begins on December 13th. That is St. Lucia’s Day! On that day, the oldest daughter in the family dresses in a white robe and red sash. She wears a crown made of branches and nine lighted candles and wakes up the family by singing a song called “Santa Lucia.” She serves them coffee and saffron buns called Lussekatts. There are St. Lucia events at schools and churches all over Sweden. Each selects a girl to play St. Lucia. They pick other girls to be her maidens. Boys take part as well. Many dress in white robes and wear a cone-shaped hat decorated with stars…”

Why You Should Teach Students about St. Lucia Day

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 in the winter. 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!

St. Lucia in Sweden is a particularly interesting topic to explore because some of your students may have never heard of it before. Students can learn about a culture and set of traditions that are different from their own. Learning about this holiday creates an interesting opportunity for students to compare and contrast this holiday’s traditions and what their holiday traditions look like. For your students who do celebrate this holiday, it’s a great way to invite them to share about their experiences and recognize the value in their holiday.

5 Facts about St. Lucia Day in Sweden

  1. St. Lucia Day is December 13th.
  2. The holiday is in honor of Saint Lucy.
  3. It marks the beginning of the holiday season.
  4. On St. Lucia Day, the oldest daughter in the family dresses in a white robe and red sash. She wears a crown made of branches and nine lighted candles. She wakes up the family by singing a song called “Santa Lucia.” She serves them coffee and saffron buns called Lussekatts.
  5. There are St. Lucia events at schools and churches all over Sweden.

St. Lucia Day Unit

This St. Lucia Day unit is available as an individual resource, as well as part of a larger holidays around the world bundle. Learn more about it below!

Sweden unit
holidays around the world unit
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What’s Included?

This St. Lucia 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 St. Lucia Day resource includes a bunch of activities, so it’s a great value!
  2. Many of the St. Lucia Day resources are completely print and go, which saves you lots of prep time.
  3. You can customize this St. Lucia Day unit to fit your needs by selecting which included activities you implement.
  4. The St. Lucia Day 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. This St. Lucia Day unit is a great way to keep students engaged during a month where that can feel extra challenging!

How to Implement a St. Lucia Day Unit

Below are suggestions for how to implement a St. Lucia Day unit.

1. Activate Schema

Locate Sweden 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 St. Lucia Day. You can do this by:

  1. Locating Sweden on a map.
  2. Discussing Sweden’s climate.
  3. Inviting students to participate in mapping activities that help them understand where your students are in relation to Sweden 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.

Me on the Map activities

Read Picture Books Related to Mexico

Learn about Sweden by reading aloud fictional picture books that take place in Sweden and non-fiction books teaching about Sweden.

A couple of our favorite books are The Tomten by Astrid Lindgren and Hedgie’s Surprise by Jan Brett. We loved them so much that we added them to our Starts With a Story collection. Learn more about holidays around the world picture books!

The Tomten book companion
The Tomten

The Tomten by Astrid Lindgren tells the Scandinavian story of a gnome. In this book, the Tomten lives on an old farm and visits the people and animals during the night. While humans have never seen him, they know he is there because of his little footprints in the snow. It takes place during the long, frigid winter while everyone is wishing for spring. As the Tomten visits the cows, sheep, dogs, and children, he offers words of hope and reminds them to be grateful. He speaks his own, silent language that the animals can understand. Check out these The Tomten activities!

Hedgie's Surprise
Hedgie’s Surprise

One day, the Tomten on the farm got tired of eating porridge for breakfast. He started going into the hen house each morning and taking one of Henny’s eggs. At first, Henny didn’t mind, but then she realized she could never have babies if this kept happening. Thankfully, her friend Hedgie offered to help her trick the Tomten.

When the Tomten came to Henny’s nest each morning, she and Hedgie left a different food for the Tomten. These foods were never enough and left the Tomten feeling hungry. He demanded Henny leave him an egg or he would eat her. The next morning, when the Tomten reached into the nest, he grabbed Hedgie and was stuck by his quills. When the Tomten runs aways, Henny starts to hear peeping. She realizes that Hedgie hid her eggs in his nest and now they’ve hatched into chicks! Check out these Hedgie’s Surprise activities!

2. Engage in the Activities from the St. Lucia Day Unit

The St. Lucia 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 St. Lucia Day 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 Sweden

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 Swedish Recipe

Send home a traditional Swedish recipe for students to share with their families and continue their learning at home.

Make a St. Lucia Day Craft

Take some time to do a craft with your students to represent the country you are focusing on, Sweden. 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 Sweden! 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 St. Lucia Day 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 St. Lucia Day unit on it’s own or as part of the popular cost-savings holidays around the world bundle, which includes the following winter celebrations around the world:

  • 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

In addition to the winter celebrations around the world resources spotlighted above, a study about Las Posadas 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 St. Lucia Day 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!

travel brochure for kids

2. Animal Research Projects

You could have your students learn about the wildlife native to Sweden. 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 Sweden, I suggest:

  • arctic fox
  • wild boar
  • bears
  • lynx
  • moose
  • beavers
  • wolves
animal research project activities

3. List of St. Lucia Day 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!

4. List of St. Lucia Day 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!

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 holidays 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.

These resources will help you plan a comprehensive unit on St. Lucia in Sweden. Another helpful resource to check out is this article, which offers suggestions for how to manage a holidays around the world learning experience in your classroom. It will help you with planning and teaching lessons about St. Lucia in Sweden, as well as a comprehensive winter holidays around the world resource.

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