Christmas around the World
- Maggie Hogan Home-School Author, Speaker, and Mother
- 2002 14 Feb
Many of us take a break from our traditional school day during the Christmas holidays, although education still continues. Our kids learn cooking and hospitality skills, take part in mercy ministries and outreach activities, and participate in meaningful church programs.
And, of course, we study geography. Geography? Yes! It only takes a few additional minutes a day to incorporate meaningful geography/history into your Christmas celebrations.
What a great way to prepare for the celebration of the birthday of our Lord: learning about His people and how they celebrate His birth! At a time such as this it is important to understand where Christians around the world are
able to freely rejoice in Christ, as well as where our brothers and sisters must worship Him in secret.
- World maps
- World Atlas
- Bible Atlas - optional
- References - libraries have many books on Christmas traditions
- You Can Change the World, Volume 1 or 2 - optional
Read the Christmas story. Find the places mentioned in the Bible account on your world map or atlas. Talk about the weather and terrain there. Was it hot, muggy, dry, cold, desert, forest, or ... ?
Compare Christmas to important holidays in other religions. What are the significant differences? Locate places where there is not freedom to worship Christ. (Use Operation World, You Can Change the World, or even current events.)
Make a "Christmas around the World" Wall Chart.
Draw a simple grid and post it on a handy wall. Include some or all of the following:
- Name of country
- Freedom to be Christian?
- Prayer requests
- Special customs
It would be valuable to have an outline map of the world on which kids can color in the countries where Christ is honored at Christmas versus countries where Christmas is not openly celebrated. How would we color in America?
How did Christmas come to be celebrated differently around the world? What are some favorite American traditions? With whom or where did some of these originate? How do these differ from traditions elsewhere? What traditions are Christ-honoring? Are there any that are not? Why not?
Some traditions are worth keeping and are enjoyable ways to reach out to others at Christmas time. Perhaps your family could incorporate some new ideas into your own eating, decorating, and other activities.
In my family that might mean dropping one or two of our favorite cookie recipes in exchange for a recipe or two from another country. We'd look up information about that country, find it on a map, and then enjoy telling our friends what we learned as we share the cookies. In other words, I'm not suggesting you ADD one more thing to your schedule, but rather substitute a few activities for the sake of learning something new!
Most importantly, pray! As you learn about different areas, use You Can Change the World as a prayer guide. In this book, I found that Christianity has been so removed from the culture in Uruguay that Christmas Day is now called Family Day, and it is illegal to talk about religion in school or at the university. What a sobering reminder that we need to pray for and guard our religious freedom here in America, as well as pray to for those in other lands.
May you have a blessed time studying Christmas around the World!
Much of this information was taken from the all new Hands-On Geography:
Exploring God's Creation by Maggie Hogan. Find this and other resources like
outline maps, reference maps and atlases at her Web site:
You Can Change the World - prayer guide for children.
Operation World - for high school and adults. The definitive (and
long-awaited new edition) prayer and reference handbook for the church, 800
pages or CD-Rom. Both of these books plus other great resources like Operation World maps,
prayer calendars, are all available from YWAM ministries.
"Christmas is celebrated by Christians the world over. Why Christmas is
special to you depends on the customs and traditions that were handed down
in your family from generation to generation. While Christmas is viewed as
too commercial by most, those who keep their traditions alive renew the Joy
that is associated with the birth of Christ each year." A large, lovely site
with many links.
"It is interesting to see how different countries celebrate Christmas. We
asked some of our friends to explain what happens in their countries."
Simple site with nice photographs.
A very basic site good for young children.
Maggie Hogan is a motivational speaker and co-author of The Ultimate Geography and Timeline Guide, Gifted Children at Home, and other resource books. She and her husband Bob have been home schooling their boys since 1991. Involved in local, state, and national home-schooling issues, they both serve on boards of home education organizations in Delaware. They are also owners of Bright Ideas Press (www.BrightIdeasPress.com), a home-school company dedicated to bringing the best practical, fun, and affordable materials to the home-school market. Maggie's e-mail address is Hogan@BrightIdeasPress.com.