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Wars are perilous times for the world. This is because where there is war, there is always misery and death. However, on special occasions, we still find ways to celebrate special holidays like Christmas.
See the fact file below for more information on Christmas in Wartime or alternatively, you can download our 25-page Christmas in Wartime worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
WHAT IS CHRISTMAS?
- The term Christmas originates from the words “mass on Christ’s Day”. It is an occasion mostly celebrated by the Christian community.
- Although the Bible has no direct account of Jesus’ date of birth, Sextus Julius Africanus, the first Christian historian, identified it as December 25.
- The date is also associated with the Winter solstice of the ancient Romans and was believed that Christmas Day was made to Christianize the Pagan Holiday.
- By the 9th century, Christmas became part of the Catholic liturgy, although it initially did not carry the same reverence as Easter Sunday and Good Friday.
- In the 1800s, Christmas symbols and traditions began to surface, relating each to Christian meanings. For example, Martin Luther King introduced in his church the evergreen trees as a symbol of eternal life.
- Later, Christmas became one of the major Christian feast days and most European countries observe the occasion.
- International traditions were introduced such as watching Christmas movies, having family dinner on Christmas Eve, setting up Christmas decorations, baking Christmas cookies, decorating ginger houses, re-enacting the nativity, attending special masses, and exchanging gifts.
- Some unique Christmas traditions include carp for dinner (Slovakia), Christmas trees and boats (Greece), Christmas processions (Ethiopia), children receiving advent calendars (Switzerland), and all-night parties with piñatas (Mexico).
- The countries that do not recognize Christmas as a special occasion include the Islamic States (Afghanistan, Kuwait, etc.), Japan, Bhutan, Cambodia, Israel, North Korea, and Libya. The general reason is differences in religious beliefs.
- On Christmas Day, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Santa Claus, Christmas elves, the three magi, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer are featured.
- Popular Christmas movies include A Christmas Story (1983), Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966 & 2000), Home Alone (1990), Rise of the Guardians (2012), Miracle on 34th Street (1994), and The Christmas Chronicles (2018 & 2020).
BRIEF MAJOR WARS TIMELINE
- Wars have been going on for centuries and always bring death and destruction. Whether civil war or wars against other countries, people always suffer. However, large-scale conflicts result in longer, more devastating, and longer-lasting impacts such as the following:
- First World War, 1914–1918
- Second World War, 1939–1945
- Korean War, 1950–1953
- Vietnam War, 1955–1975
- Gulf War, 1990–1991
- War in Afghanistan, 2001–2014
- Iraq War, 2003–2011
- Syria Conflict, 2011–present
- Yemen Conflict, 2014–present
- Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, 2014–present
- For those with modest means to celebrate Christmas, the government urged families to ration their food and avoid extravagant preparations.
- Families who sent their sons to fight in the war sent gifts and letters to the front as well.
- In Britain alone, the army postal service sent 114 million parcels and 2 billion letters to conflict zones.
- Families also received letters from the soldiers. In World War I, decorative Christmas cards and postcards were hugely popular with soldiers.
- Those who cannot celebrate Christmas, especially refugees and civilians, usually rely on international donations provided by international agencies.
- Non-government agencies also organize Christmas celebrations with post-war victims of war, especially in some of the more recently conflicted countries in Africa.
CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS IN WARTIME
- In times of peace, families celebrate Christmas the traditional way without any worries of getting hurt or attacked. Communities light the streets and even conduct concerts, and fireworks displays.
- However, in times of war, celebrating can be challenging. Not only are families in danger, but they also are split apart, either by force or by enlistment.
HOW SOLDIERS CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS
- How soldiers celebrated Christmas on the frontlines in the First World War was similar to how modern soldiers do, with homemade decorations, small feasts and drinks, letters sent, video calls, and dressing up.
- Christmas leave for soldiers is not easy, so some opt to write letters, send small gifts, and set up calls from abroad.
- Soldiers also hold gaming competitions, musicals using improv musical instruments, movie nights, and experiment with making Christmas food out of their MREs (Meal, Ready-To-Eat).
- Wounded and recovering soldiers in hospitals also get to celebrate as the hospital staff decorate the wards and entertain the wounded, and also throw parties and concerts for patients.
Christmas in Wartime Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Christmas in Wartime across 25 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Christmas in Wartime when even at perilous times people still find ways to celebrate the holidays.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Christmas in Wartime Facts
- Picture Analysis
- Merry Christmas!
- Gifts from the Heart
- Christmas Testimony
- Christmas in Wartime England
- Christmas at the Front
- Christmas in US Wars
- Miracle of Christmas
- An Australian Christmas
- Christmas in a Warzone
- War is Over!
- Christmas Wishes
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Link will appear as Christmas in Wartime Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 28, 2022
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.