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Christmas Unit Study - Social Studies

Updated on October 23, 2014

A Christmas Unit Study (Social Studies)

Christmas is such an amazing time of year to celebrate the birth of the blessed baby, Jesus. While parents and teachers who are teaching about the events of the Bible, and the events of the seasons, why not turn it into a fun unit study? Add some math, science, social studies, language arts, art, and music to your lesson plans with some of these ideas. Following are some suggestions to enhance the Christmas story with geography and history!

The History of the Christmas Holiday - PBS Special

From Jesus to Christ: The First Christians

PBS's Frontline presents many informational documents and videos about Jesus, His life, and the early church.

Many Faces ~ How well do the archaelogical clues historians are uncovering match up with the story Christians have long told each other?

A Portrait of Jesus' World ~ His was a deeply religious generation, spiraling toward war amid expectations of a coming cosmic battle of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness

The Story of the Storytellers ~ The first gospel was written almost 40 years after Jesus' death. Were they historically accurate, objective accounts? Or intended as proclamations of faith?

The First Christians ~ The clash of customs and cultures among early Christians yielded a Jesus of many different interpretations and multiple messages

Why Did Christianity Succeed? ~ How did this small Jewish sect become the Christian church, embraced by the Empire that had sent Jesus to his death?

Additional Materials ~ Maps, Archaeology & Sources, Discussion, Bibilical Quiz, A Follow-Up Symposium, Behind the ScenesTapes, Transcripts & Events, Teachers' Guide, and Viewers' Guide .

Watch the Full Program Online!

The History of Christmas Celebrations

Christmas Around the World - Fun ways to study world cultures!

One of my favorite websites for children, Kid's Cooking Activities, has an absolutely fantastic World Studies Cooking Unit that you may purchase in ebook form or you may download most of it for free right on the site! You will also receive a free copy of Kids Holiday Cooking and Celebrating and other ebooks when you subscribe to their newsletter! Great resource!

Spread Christmas Love Throughout the Earth

Christmas Around the World
Christmas Around the World
Learn about twelve countries, their cultures, and how they like to celebrate the Christmas season.
Christmas Around the World Coloring Book (Dover Holiday Coloring Book)
Christmas Around the World Coloring Book (Dover Holiday Coloring Book)
Create and learn at the same time while coloring these wonderful illustrations from Dover Books
Christmas Crafts from around the World (Kids Can Do It)
Christmas Crafts from around the World (Kids Can Do It)
Hand-On Learning has always been my favorite way to teach! Students will enjoy creating these many multi-cultural crafts and art.

Christmas Customs & Symbols

What do all these things we see at Christmas time have to do with the real Christmas anyway? Find out the meanings in the units below!!

So Joseph also went

up from the town of

Nazareth in Galilee to Judea,

to Bethlehem the town of David,

because he belonged

to the house and line of David.

Luke 2:4

Biblical Lands

*Israel Maps: Worksheet Works is one of my favorite websites for maps for children! Create maps designing the content for the age and ability of your students.

~ Freeform Israel Map - choose if you want cities, physical attributes, and neighboring areas on your map.

~ "Label Me" Israel Map - same as above except there are blanks of locations to fill in, an answer key is given - these are nice to use for practice or quizzess.

~ Israel Location Word Search - find the names of the places in the puzzle; choose their list or create your own

~ Scrambled Places of Israel - students unscramble the names of locations and identify them on a map.

~ Israel Crossword Puzzle - choose 10, 15, or 20 words in the categories of cities, neighbors, and physical attributes.

Would you like to travel to the Holy Land?

See results

The Christmas Truce - What an amazing story!

The Christmas Truce
The Christmas Truce
Silent Night, Holy Night ... Sleep in Heavenly Peace The fighting stopped on both sides of World War I due to the celebration of Jesus' Birth. The Prince of Peace was working in the hearts of men for this truce. The books Christmas in the Trenches and Silent Night: The Story of the World War I Christmas are other great sources of the story for children.

And there were shepherds

living out in the fields nearby,

keeping watch over

their flocks at night.

Luke 2:8

Biblical Occupations

Kids enjoy dressing up and role playing, plus it is a great way to learn and remember things! Why not encourage your students and children to dress up as a shepherd (toy lambs can become very real to young tykes!), older kids may enjoy building a small wood project like a carpenter, or perhaps try a little fishing. How would it have been different to do these jobs long ago than it would today? Have fun!

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Luke 2:16-20

"Isn't this the carpenter's son? Isn't his mother's name Mary, and aren't his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?

Matthew 13:55

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will make you fishers of men." At once they left their nets and followed him.

Matthew 4:18-19

If you lived in Biblical times ...

What type of occupation would you hope to pursue?

See results

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Matthew 4:20-22

The Holy Family / Phillip Martin
The Holy Family / Phillip Martin

Family & Genealogy

Genealogy of Jesus Christ: Study the passages about the genealogy of Jesus Christ n Mathew 1:1-17 (Joseph's lineage with a Jewish perspective) and Luke 3:23-38 (Mary's family with a Greek perspective). Why did the Israelites maintain years of family records? With such a long list of male ancestors, why are there a few women? Who are they and why were they set apart?

Children's Reading

A Is For Angel: A Christmas Alphabet And Activity Book (Augsburg Books for Children and Families)
A Is For Angel: A Christmas Alphabet And Activity Book (Augsburg Books for Children and Families)
Have fun learning the alphabet while reading the Christmas story and enjoying the beautiful illustrations!
B Is for Bethlehem:  A Christmas Alphabet Board Book
B Is for Bethlehem: A Christmas Alphabet Board Book
This is a wonderful book! Several years ago I turned this into a Christmas pageant I directed by having the children carry in the letters of the alphabet and read the story about their letter (written on the back of the alphabet cards). We interspersed a few favorite carols in between, and voila! Easy musical!
The Christian Origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas: A Children's Activity Book
The Christian Origin of the Twelve Days of Christmas: A Children's Activity Book
Besides being a really fun song to sing at Christmas time, this favorite song has a wonderful history behind it. Each of the "gifts" represent something about the Christian faith! This book explains the meanings with illustrations, activities, and a poster to help students remember the significance of each verse.
Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend
Saint Nicholas: The Real Story of the Christmas Legend
Your children and students will enjoy this sweet story of the true pastor who spread gifts to children reminding us of Christian love and charity.

Bethlehem - The Birthplace of our Savior!!

O Little Town of Bethlehem ...

The Star of Bethlehem
The Star of Bethlehem
OK, I have to admit I have not seen this movie yet, but it states to give a mix of history, science, and faith. Three of my favorite topics! Looking forward to seeing it!

Thought to Ponder from Santa

"Remember, teach the children the true meaning of Christmas and do not put me in the center,

for I am but a humble servant of the One who is,

and I bow down to worship Him, our Lord, our God." ~ Santa

The quotation is from the story "Teach the Children"

at the Woodlands Junior School Website.

Thanks for for showing the true meaning of Christmas!

May God bless you with the

true significance of Christmas ~

The birth, life, and death

of our Lord, Jesus Christ!

Have a wonderfully blessed Christmas!

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    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 

      9 years ago from Central Florida

      Wow, you've really loaded this page with resources. Homeschooling parents will be thrilled and teachers too.

    • blessedmomto7 profile image


      11 years ago

      Another fabulous lens Pamela! I'll be back to look more closely later. I lensrolled you to my homeschooling on a shoestring page. You are so amazingly talented when it comes to all this!


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