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Christmas in the History Classroom

Updated: Dec 12, 2020

It’s that glorious time of year again where we’re trying to hold on until the end of term. And this year, more than any other I’ve ever experienced, my finger nails are well and truly scraping the cliff edge.

I teach in secondary school so gone are the days of videos and making Christmas decorations in the lead up to the holidays. (Even the word ’videos‘ shows how long it’s been since this was allowed!) We have to keep the students working right through to the last half day. But we can still get a bit of seasonal cheer mixed in with the academic rigour if we try!

I like to use the history curriculum of each year group at KS3 and teach a lesson on the history of Christmas in that era.

Year 7 - Medieval Realms:

How did Medieval people in England celebrate Christmas? In a variety of ways! Introduce humble pie and mummers in a simple worksheet. This simple worksheet has comprehension tasks to complete and finishes with a menu writing activity where they can break out the colour pencils and you get some nice display material!

Year 8 - The Tudors:

This one works in the same way but focuses on the reigns of the Tudor Monarchs. How did Edward and Elizabeth expect the country to celebrate?

Year 9 - World War One:

In year 9 I take the opportunity to focus on life in the trenches and in particular ‘The Christmas that stopped a war’ when men left the trenches and mingled. It uses a section from a first hand account and works like a mini DBQ so gets those solid historical skills in there too.

These are my favourites. My students enjoy working on them at the same time as continuing to learn. So everyone is happy and those fingernails remain in tact!

Enjoy a wonderful fortnight’s rest when it comes.

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