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Santa Claus is a universal figure for the Christmas season. Kids eagerly await his arrival, leaving cookies for him to snack on. He is the season’s mascot and most prevalent in Christmas decorations. But Santa isn’t the only personality that’s big in the Yuletide scene.
See the fact file below for more information on the Christmas Deities or alternatively, you can download our 23-page Christmas Deities worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
THE REASON TO CELEBRATE
- The main reason for Christmas is to celebrate Jesus’ birth, but the earliest Christian writers were more interested in his death and resurrection.
- The church only settled on a December 25 as Christmas in the fourth century. The explanation is that the early church integrated its celebration of the Nativity with pagan festivals.
- The church recognized the popularity of the winter festivals to encourage the spread of Christianity.
- Some scholars argue that Christmas was set near the winter solstice not because of any pagan traditions but based on an ancient Jewish traditional calculation.
- Christian writer Tertullian calculated that the date given for Jesus’ death in John’s Gospel corresponds to March 25 in the Roman calendar – add nine months and it’s December 25th.
- Romans had Saturnalia, the ancient winter festival, and northern European people had their own solstice traditions.
- They had parties, gift-giving, and dwellings decorated with greenery that Christmas season adapted.
- Of course, the center of the Christmas tradition is the birth of Jesus Christ, the prophesied savior of the world. His birth is celebrated yearly on December 25th.
- Mary was the blessed woman chosen to bear the prophesied baby. She was a virgin, but by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary conceived.
- Engaged to Mary, Joseph almost terminated the engagement until he was visited by the messenger, Angel Gabriel and was told of the baby’s destiny for the world.
- Before she gave birth, the couple had to travel to Bethlehem to register. That was where Jesus was born in a manger.
CHARACTERS AROUND THE WORLD
- THE UNPLEASANT
- Not all characters for Christmas bring good cheer, some are downright scary. Krampus is the opposite of Santa Claus. He punishes the bad kids while Santa blesses the good ones.
- In Russia and other Slavic countries, kids hear about Baba Yaga, an old witch who tries to steal children’s holiday gifts and is the enemy of Father Frost and the Snow Maiden.
- Pere Fouettard is one of Saint Nicholas’ enforcers. He carries either a whip or a rod, and while St. Nick hands out toys to the good children, Pere Fouettard beats the naughty ones.
- Naughty children in Iceland have to fear being caught by Gryla, an ogress who lives in a mountain cave but comes out each year to plague bad kids during Christmas.
- In Icelandic tradition, a feline named Jólakötturinn eats people who don’t get new clothes before Christmas.
- THE PLEASANT
- In Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, gnomes bring kids holiday gifts. They stay in houses and barns, guarding the home, family, and animals from evil and misfortune.
- Father Frost is the Russian equivalent of Santa Claus. Kids receive winter visits from him on New Year’s Day.
- In Northern Spain, Olentzero was abandoned at birth and raised by a fairy and given eternal life after saving children from a fire. He brings gifts to children on Christmas Eve.
- Tio de Nadal is a Catalan character that is a hollow log propped up on two legs. Families feed and warm it. On Christmas or Christmas Eve, they order the hollow log to “defecate” small gifts.
- In Italy, La Befana delivers presents to well-behaved kids on the eve of Epiphany (January 5th). She stuffs good kids’ stockings full of candy and presents, and gives bad kids coal, garlic, or a stick.
- Saint Nicholas, Christmas season’s most famous saint, is the basis for most versions of Santa Claus who brings gifts to kids in Holland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and parts of Germany.
- In Norway and Sweden, Santa Lucia is the focus of the holiday season. According to Swedish legend, Lucia was Adam’s first wife.
- In Greece, Saint Basil replaces Saint Nicholas as the gift-bringer. Traditionally, he leaves presents for kids on January 1st. In recent years, he has been replaced by a Saint Basil-esque Santa character who shows up on the 24th and 25th.
POPULAR MEDIA CHARACTERS
- Jack Frost is the protagonist of Jack Frost: Rise of the Guardians. He was a mischievous Ice Guardian who eventually represented “fun” every Christmas.
- Jack Skellington is the “Pumpkin King” of Halloweentown. His adventures led him to rescue Santa and his friend Sally and save Christmas.
- The Grinch is one of the most unique characters and is one of the biggest Christmas villains in the history of the hijacked holiday. Kindness of a little girl named Cindy eventually softened his heart and he celebrated Christmas.
Christmas Deities Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Christmas Deities across 23 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Christmas Deities worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Christmas Deities. Santa Claus is a universal figure for the Christmas season. Kids eagerly await his arrival, leaving cookies for him to snack on. He is the season’s mascot and most prevalent in Christmas decorations. But Santa isn’t the only personality that’s big in the Yuletide scene.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Character Review
- Father Frost
- The Yule Lads
- Colorful Characters
- Ancient Depictions
- Christmas Animals
- Naughty or Nice
- My Christmas
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Link will appear as Christmas Deities Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, December 11, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.