There are so many overarching similarities between winter holiday traditions: candles, special foods, gifts, spending time with loved ones. Emphasizing these similarities while also highlighting the differences can help students appreciate the diversity that our global cultures bring to our lives during this cold time of year.
We heard seasonal songs played on the violin, including a Hanukkah song, a Solstice song, and 3 lively Christmas carols.
We made colorful chains - an activity that is part of many children's traditions of decorating a tree with homemade touches.
We heard about Chinese New Year and admired a beautiful red dress. We found that the color red is actually important in other traditions as well!
We heard a song on CD that is important part of one family's Christmas tradition. To this family, the Stevie Wonder version of Little Drummer Boy represents "miracles, love, and how we're connected to each other".
We were shown and talked about a menorah...Several children related how they use a menorah for Hanukkah, but not all in the same ways!
And - finally - cookies and milk! Our class seemed firmly divided on only one thing - to dunk or not to dunk. I sadly remain unmoved, and am firmly planted in the non-dunker camp.
Happy Holiday Season to Everyone! Thank you for sharing your family's traditions - we read them all, and learned a lot.