Inquiry Project #4
Kelsey Kay Zehr
Overview: During this unit, students will "visit" several countries around
the world and learn about how winter holidays are celebrated there. Before
the unit begins, the teacher should assemble a suitcase and passport for each
of the students to "take with them".
Which countries will students "visit"? Before beginning a holidays
around the world unit, it is a good idea to decide which countries you will
visit and how much time you wish to spend on this unit. For kindergarten, I
would suggest that visiting 5 countries or spending a week on this unit is an
appropriate amount of time.
Making Suitcases: The suitcases can be made several different ways. The
way I have found is easiest is to take 2 sheets of large (12x18) construction
paper and staple them together on 3 sides forming a pocket. After stapling,
cut a handle into the top of the pocket. You can have the children decorate
their suitcases any way you would like. Here are some ideas for decorating:
•Glue a world map labeled with the countries you will study.
•Instead of stapling the edges, let students sew together their suitcases
using a hole punch and yarn.
•Have your children add "travel sticker" drawings to the suitcase (small
sticker-like pictures naming other travel destinations such as Australia,
Paris, Hong Kong).
Making a Passport: The children get their passports stamped as they
arrive at each country of study. The link below is a pattern that can be used
to make a passport.
Printable Passport Pattern (large) - from ABCTeach
Printable Passport Pattern (small) - from ABCTeach
Plane Tickets: Each day, the class will pretend to be going on a plane to visit
countries around the world. The children take their suitcases and pretend
they are getting on a plane. They hand the teacher their paper ticket before
boarding. Once on the plane (seated at their chairs on the carpet, lined up
like the rows of an airplane), the teacher could even wear an apron and
serve the children their choice of peanuts or pretzels. Below is a link to a
plane ticker pattern.
•Printable Plane Ticket - (.pdf format)
•Printable Plane Ticket - (.doc format)
FranceOn Christmas Eve, children leave their shoes by the fireplace to be filled with gifts from Pere Noel. In the
morning they also find that sweets, fruit, nuts and small toys have been hung on the tree.
The Christmas tree has never been particularly popular in France, and though the use of the Yule log has
faded, the French make a traditional Yule log-shaped cake called the buche de Nol, which means "Christmas
Log." The cake, among other food in great abundance is served at the grand feast of the season, which is
called le reveillon. Le reveillon is a very late supper held after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. The menu for
the meal varies according to regional culinary tradition. In Alsace, goose is the main course, in Burgundy it is
turkey with chestnuts, and the Parisians feast upon oysters and pat de foie gras. Le Revellion may consist of
poultry, ham, salads, cake, fruit and wine.
In Southern France, a log is burned in people's homes from Christmas Eve until New Years Day. A long time
ago, part of the log was used to make the wedge for the plough as good luck for the coming harvest.
Another name for this day is Twelfth Day. It is the last of the Twelve Days of Christmas, which used to be one
long holiday. It was the last night of the Feast of Fools before the Lord of Misrule had to give up his crown
and become themselves once again.
In France it is a time for the whole family to come together at Christmas time to holiday and worship. On the
eve of Christmas beautifully lit churches and cathedrals, ring out Christmas carols with the church bells.
GermanyChristmas preparations often begin on the eve of December 6th. People often set aside special evenings for
baking spiced cakes and cookies, and making gifts and decorations. Little dolls of fruit are traditional
Germans make beautiful gingerbread houses and cookies. The German Christmas tree pastry,
Christbaumgeback, is a white dough that can be molded into shapes and baked for tree decorations.
Some homes in Germany have several Christmas trees, and in all towns across Germany, they can be seen
glittering and glowing.
In Germany they hang up advent wreaths of Holly with four red candles in the center. They light one candle
each Sunday and last on Christmas Eve. Children count the days until Christmas using an Advent calendar.
They open one window each day and find a Christmas picture inside.
In some homes a room is locked up before Christmas. On Christmas Eve the children go to bed but are
woken up at midnight by their parents and taken down to the locked room. The door is opened and they see
the tree all lit up, with piles of parcels on little tables.
In Germany boys dress up as kings and carry a star round the village, singing carols.
EnglandOne England's customs is mummering. In the Middle Ages, people called mummers put on masks and acted out Christmas
plays. These plays are still performed in towns and villages.
The English gift giver is called Father Christmas. He wears a long red or green robe, and leaves presents in stockings on
Christmas Eve. However, the gifts are not usually opened until the following afternoon.
Christmas in England began in AD 596, when St Augustine landed on her shores with monks who wanted to bring
Christianity to the Anglo Saxons.
Father Christmas delivers them during the night before Christmas. The Children leave an empty stocking or pillowcase
hanging at the end of the bed. In the morning they hope it will be full of presents.
In England the day after Christmas is called Boxing Day because boys used to go round collecting money in clay boxes. When
the boxes were full, they broke them open.
In England Christmas dinner was usually eaten at Midday on December 25, during daylight.
In England, the only thing that people ate on the day before the feast was Frumenty, which is, was a kind of porridge made
from corn. Over the years the recipe changed. Eggs, fruit, spice, lumps of meat and dried plums were added. The whole
mixture was wrapped in a cloth and boiled. This is how plum pudding began.
In England the traditional Christmas dinner is roast turkey with vegetables and sauces. For dessert it is rich, fruity Christmas
pudding with brandy sauce. Mince pies, pastry cases filled with a mixture of chopped dried fruit.
MexicoMexicans share many traditions with the Spanish. Their main Christmas celebration is called La Posada,
which is a religious procession that reenacts the search for shelter by Joseph and Mary before the birth of
Jesus. During the procession, the celebrants go from house to house carrying the images of Mary and Joseph
looking for shelter.
Santa Claus is not predominant, but the bright red suit is represented in the traditional flower of the season.
This flower is the poinsettia, which has a brilliant red star-shaped bloom. It is believed that a young boy
walking to the church to see the nativity scene showing the birth of Jesus had realized on the way that he
had no gift to offer the Christ child so he gathered up some plain green branches as he walked in he was
laughed at but upon placing the branches near the manger they started to bloom a bright red poinsettia
flower on each branch.
The Mexican children receive gifts. On Christmas day they are blindfolded and taken to try and break a
decorated clay piñata that dangles and swings at the end of a rope. Once the piñata has been broken, the
children clamber to recover the candy that was inside the piñata. Those children who have been good also
on January 6th receive a gift from the Three Wise Men.
Mexicans attend a midnight mass service which is called la Misa Del Gallo or "the rooster's mass," and at the
mass they sing lullabies to Jesus.
AfricaPreparation for Christmas in the Congo begins when some group is designated to prepare the annual
Christmas pageant. Christmas day begins with groups of carolers walking to and fro through the village,
along the roadway, by the houses of the missionaries, singing the lovely carols known the world around.
Often people may be awakened by a group of carolers beginning to converge on the house of worship. They
return home to make final preparation as to the clothes one must wear and also as to his offering for the
The most important part of their Christmas worship service is the love offering, this is the gift in honor of
Jesus. Then at about 8 or 9 o'clock everyone makes their way to the celebration of the birthday of Jesus.
Everyone who attends the service goes forward to lay down their gift upon the raised platform near the
Communion table. Not one person will attend the service without giving a gift.
Now people have Christmas dinners after the service, preparing tables out in front of their home and inviting
many of their intimate friends to share.
In the cities and towns carolers make their rounds on Christmas Eve. Church services are held on Christmas
morning. Christmas Eve celebrations in larger centers include "Carols by Candlelight" and special screen and
Homes are decorated with pine branches, and all have the decorated Christmas fir in a corner, with presents
for the children around. At bedtime on Christmas Eve, children may also hang up their stockings for presents
from Father Christmas.