Monday, November 9, 2015

Holidays Around the World: Australia

I am so excited that today is finally here and I can tell you all about what all of us have been planning for you these past couple of months. A Holidays Around the World Blog Hop!
Christmas is a Christian holiday celebrated in Australia. Because this holiday occurs during Australia's summer, many families celebrate the holiday away from home.

A few traditions for Christmas in Australia include Carols by Candlelight on Christmas Eve, which is an outside concert where people sing carols together. Many families attend midnight mass at their church, followed by sleep for a few hours and presents in the morning. They have Christmas trees, lights, and presents just like in the United States.

One big difference is how Santa is dressed. In Australia, Santa wears shorts and his sleigh is pulled by six kangaroos. A second difference, when comparing an Australian Christmas to an American Christmas, is the food. Many families in Australia eat salad, fruits, and cold meats. Some have a BBQ, and others have the traditional baked ham or turkey like in the United States.
It's no secret that I love children's books. My classroom library has quite the selection, so when I chose Australia, the first thing I did was order books from Amazon. Amazon Prime was the best and worst thing to happen to my bank account...
These are the four books that I ordered for my classroom. Let me just tell you, they are all so stinkin' adorable!
Book #1: My favorite book was definitely The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas. Growing up in the United States, you learn the Twelve Days of Christmas with the partridge in a pear tree. I loved this book so much because it still has that familiar jingle, but with all things Australia (as it should).
I think it's quickly become one of my new holiday favorites and I can't wait to read it to my students. Plus, HELLOOO, shark lover over here... and the sixth day of Christmas was six sharks swimming. I think yes!
Plus at the very end of the book, it gives a little description about each animal included in the story. This is GREAT for multiculturalism and teaching students all over the world about animals in Australia.
Book #2: An Aussie Night Before Christmas! is also a great book that introduces students to different aspects of the Australian culture. This is just one page from the story, but inside it shows Santa dressed in "red stubby shorts and thongs on his feet." The imagery inside the story is amazing and really helps students visualize how kids in Australia view Santa Claus and the Christmas holiday... plus it has flying kangaroos. What's cooler than that?
Book #3: Wombat Divine is the story about a wombat who loved Christmas and has always dreamed of being in the Nativity play. He tries out for all of the different parts in the play, only to have one of his peers chosen for the part... that is, until he finally gets picked for the perfect part in the Nativity play.

It's a great story to remind students to never give up, especially if you love something. Wombat didn't get discouraged and it ended up being "the best Nativity play ever!"
Book #4: Emily and the Big Bad Bunyip At first glance you might not think this is an Australian Christmas book. But the saying is true, never judge a book by it's cover! This story is similar to that of Scrooge... the Big Bad Bunyip does not like Christmas and Emily the Emu tries everything to make the bunyip smile on Christmas Day. It's another great story about perseverance!
Have your students decorate Eucalyptus leaves. I'm not saying go out, buy a eucalyptus tree and pick the leaves off of it. All you need to do is show your students this picture (or any picture of a eucalyptus tree/leaf) and have them draw one on construction paper to decorate. You could create a bulletin board out of these by using the decorated leaves as ornaments for a Christmas tree.
Create Australian Aboriginal art on solid colored ornaments! You can grab them super cheap at your local craft store. Use paint and Q-tips to let students paint their own design, then send them home as parent gifts for the holidays.
Use the free template provided on that website, some scrunch paper or construction paper to create an Australian flag collage. It's not necessarily holiday-related, but it relates to the country and that's all that counts :)
Now instead of just spewing that information off lecture-style at your students, I have the ultimate Australia at Christmas FREEBIE for you!
If you follow me on TeachersPayTeachers, you may have seen me post this freebie a week or so ago. I was so excited about it that it kind of was a little hint about the hop without actually telling you :)

This freebie includes an Australia at Christmas tabbed flip book. Inside is a bunch of information about the holiday, with trace-able words instead of fill in the blanks. This makes it the perfect NO PREP activity for you, while letting students know what the key information is at the same time.

It also includes an Australia-shaped booklet that is perfect to use as an exit ticket at the end of your lesson, or to write a summary of one of the stories mentioned above!

Don't forget to grab your free passport cover and the Australia page. Collect all 13 country pages by hopping through the rest of the blogs. :) As you teach your students about different holidays around the world, have them complete a passport page. Each student will have a keepsake at the end of the unit!

Now it's time for you to stop by some of my other teaching friends' blogs to see how other countries celebrate the holiday season. I'll let you in on a little secret... we've ALL got freebies and so much more for you!

*this post contains affiliate links*


  1. Ahhh!! I woke up early just to read everyone's posts! Thank you SO MUCH for helping me get this little idea out of my head and on to our blogs- it for sure wouldn't have been as great without you!

    I'm almost tearing up as I read about all these countries- I want to be in all of them NOW! Who knows, maybe you'll be visiting me in one of them (fingers crossed, Italy!) for Christmas break next year!

    And PS- Those books! Ordering The Australian Twelve Days of Christmas now! So adorable!

    Love you! xoxoxo
    Terrific Teaching and Learning

  2. The passport books are so cute! Thanks for organizing the blog hop, I know so many teachers will appreciate the content and the freebies! :-)

    A Teachable Teacher

  3. How adorable is that little flip book! Thank you so much - my kiddos will love it!

    ☘ Molly
    Lucky to Be in First

  4. Stephanie I am loving the picture books and art activities you have included. Thanks so much for the passport pages as well. Those will be a perfect way for students to reflect on what they've learned during the Holidays Around the World Unit. Brilliant!

    Core Inspiration by Laura Santos

  5. I can't imagine Santa in flip flops! lol As much as I love spending my Christmas in the tropics, when I'm at home Christmas = winter = snow!!

    Thanks for the awesome freebie!

    Mrs. Beattie's Classroom