Christmas traditions are different all throughout the world. Holland calls their version of Santa Claus Sinter Klaas and they celebrate on December 5th. A great way to teach kids about different holiday traditions is through arts and crafts projects. Not only will they get the opportunity to learn something new, but children will have a fun craft that they can teach others with.
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In the United States Santa Claus fills good children’s stockings with treats. In the Netherlands, children set out their wooden shoes instead of their socks. To help teach kids about Christmas traditions in Holland, have them make a wooden shoe instead of a stocking. By having children make their own version of the wooden shoe they too can enjoy the traditions of a Holland Christmas. The website Parenting Humor gives basic instructions on how kids can recreate these shoes for themselves. Trace out a pattern of a wooden shoe on a piece of cork board. Cut out two shoes and staple them together leaving an opening at the top so that Sinter Klaas can fill the shoes with treats, just like American stockings.
Christmas cards are a tradition in many countries. It’s a way to let friends and family members know that they are being thought of throughout the holiday season. Kids can make Christmas cards with traditional Christmas sayings from Holland. The website Ominglot has many phrases that would work on holiday cards including Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. All are spelled out in their original form so that they are easy to copy down. Grab red and green construction paper and cut out some poinsettia flowers and Christmas trees. Use white card stock for the actual base of the card because it will hold up longer. Have the children glue the designs on and write the sayings on their cards. This touch makes this simple craft a quick and easy way for children to learn about different cultures and how they celebrate Christmas.
The Netherlands decorate their houses for Christmas in a very rustic and natural sort of way. Nature is brought indoors as pine cones and holly boughs are used as decorations along with poinsettias. To help children understand about Holland Christmas decorations have them create their own nature wreath. Start with a Styrofoam ring as a base. Wrap the ring in fabric to give the base a more festive feel. Gather pine cones and branches, holly leaves and fake poinsettia flowers to decorate the wreath with. Design the basic idea of how the wreath should look and then get gluing. Glue and flower wire can help to secure things in place. Avoid hot glue because it can melt the Styrofoam. Make sure to have enough things to cover the entire ring otherwise there will be bald spots present. A wreath like this can be hung on the door to welcome friends and neighbors.