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Not Your Average Christmas Unit

By Naomi O'Brien


We know what you’re thinking. “They made a Christmas unit? Aren’t they all about inclusivity?
How is this inclusive???”
That’s why this is a NOT YOUR AVERAGE Christmas Unit. In this unit, we wanted to create some lessons around why things are the way that they are in the United States around Christmastime. We will explore holiday concepts around economics, history, and sociology! We also recognize that some students are not supposed to engage in any sort of holiday activity at all (for cultural/religious reasons). Our hope is that this will serve as an alternative because these lessons don’t celebrate, but rather educate and allow students a chance to process why this holiday is so prevalent. We would send this content to the families to preview and ask if it is culturally appropriate BEFORE teaching it.
We also tried to include response sheets that are free of holiday clipart. We encourage you to use this unit as a springboard for your own class research as well! We hope you enjoy this unit as much as we do!
The topics that we cover include:

Sociology: What happens if when you don’t celebrate Christmas…but it’s Christmastime? The holiday decorations, songs, school parties, office celebrations… there isn’t any escaping it if that’s “not your thing” or if it’s not a part of your culture. Do we ever stop to process why this might be the case? How did Christmas become so mainstream? How can we be more inclusive?

Economics: Hallmark holidays are holidays that either seem to be invented for the primary purpose of or a holiday that has gotten away from its original purpose. There are holidays such as “Sweetest Day” or “Boss’s Day” that many people believe to be a Hallmark Holiday- but even Christmas has been labeled as a heavily commercialized holiday due to the marketing and spending trends. What would a holiday look like if it was completely uncommercialized?
History: How did Christmas become a Federal Holiday? The United States recognizes 10 Federal Holidays in a year…but what is the history behind how those were selected? Federal holidays usually give people a paid day off work. Unlike many other countries, the United States doesn’t have a national holiday. This is because Congress only has the power to create holidays for federal institutions. Christmas traditions make the holiday seem like it is celebrated nationally (which may be confusing if we are told that you can celebrate any way you’d like in the U.S.) but this is due to the sharing of traditions that started in Godey’s Lady Book- a popular lifestyle magazine in the 1800s.
We hope you enjoy this unit!!
LaNesha and Naomi



Hi, I'm Naomi

I have been teaching elementary students for over 10 years. Effective reading instruction and accurate social studies at the primary level are huge passions of mine! 

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