In this post I’ll show you how to use Power Point, and free videos on YouTube, to create a Christmas Around the World virtual field trip. See how easy it is to take a magical journey virtually, and I’ve even included a FREE Zoom invitation to customize and send to your class!
How to Plan A Christmas Around the World Virtual Field Trip
As you teach about holidays around the world every December, you may already have a Power Point you use. If not, the following steps will help you create one. If you’re short on time, I’ve put together a beautiful, 14-country Power Point with vivid photos taken in each country. Click here to see the holidays unit with my Power Point, then read on to download a free Zoom invitation to use with it.
Choose Your Destinations
As you plan the countries you will visit, include a variety of holidays and countries they are celebrated in. Consider your students’ backgrounds. Do you have students from other countries? What December holidays do your students and their families celebrate? Do your students celebrate Hanukkah, Diwali, Kwanzaa or Eid?
Invite your students to share their own family traditions with your class. I’ve had students make Power Points, bring in traditional treats of Hanukkah and Eid, special holiday clothing worn during Lunar New Year, a Kwanzaa kinara, and even traditional Indian decorations to share with the class. One year I had a student from Indonesia whose parent sent in ketupat for us to share. Ketupat is a rice dumpling packed inside a palm leaf, and woven into a diamond shape that is eaten during Eid celebrations.
Prep Your Virtual Field Trip Template
Once you have chosen your destinations, create a Power Point presentation. See the holidays around the world Power Point I use or download a free blank virtual field trip template on the Microsoft Office website.
Look online for pictures you can use for your presentation. There are many free sites as well as paid subscription photo sites.
Holidays Around the World Websites
There are some very helpful websites available for research and information that will help you plan your virtual field trip . WhyChristmas.com has information on literally every country in the world. Another good website, that also includes flags of the world, is WorldHolidayTraditions.com.
Have Students Keep a Scrapbook
As your students visit different countries, have them make a scrapbook. In a Google Slides format, this digital holidays scrapbook has pages and website links to 27 countries that make it easy for students to do research and write about the customs and traditions. Each country has 3 different research pages plus a photo gallery page for students to add pictures.
The scrapbook also includes pages for students to share their own family traditions. It can be used as a personal scrapbook that can even be printed, or as a collaborative class book.
To read more about how I use the scrapbook and teach holidays around the world virtually, click here.
Introduce the Gift-Givers
Each country has unique customs around gift-giving. Students really enjoy seeing the different “Santas” and gift-givers around the world. A few examples are the Swedish Tomten, Russia’s Grandfather Frost, and Pere Noel in France.
Some countries don’t have a specific “Santa” figure, but rather traditions of family gift giving. Include the gift-giving traditions of Hanukkah and Diwali, and the customs of Eid, Kwanzaa, and Lunar New Year in your presentation.
Include Unique Customs
One interesting tradition you see only in Italy is the Zampognari. These are bagpipe playing shepherds that travel down from their mountain homes dressed in cloaks to play their bagpipes in town squares during the holidays.
Each country has its own unique customs. One of my favorites is in France. Did you know that the French post office has a special place for letters to Pere Noel? There is a French law in place stating that all letters to Pere Noel must be answered. The post office sends out special post cards to all the children who write letter to Pere Noel telling them their letter was received.
As you plan your presentation, some other interesting holiday traditions to include are Rangoli from India, Cake of the Kings in Mexico, the dragon parade in China, and Christmas pyramids in Germany.
Add Fun Facts & Famous Events
Countries all across Europe are famous for their Christmas markets. Villages of booths are set up and decorated with colorful lights, holiday flags, and festive decorations. Vendors sell handmade crafts, Christmas cakes, and traditional holiday foods that are favorites among families. Some of the markets have rides for children and they are a highlight for many!
Here’s a fun fact about Sweden. Did you know their gift-giver is a gnome? The Tomten is a mischevious gnome that lives in the forest and protects farmers and their animals. His sleigh is pulled by a Christmas goat called the Yule Bakken, or Yule goat!
Share Celebrations and Symbols of Each Holiday
Include in your presentation, the unique celebrations in each country. Some important celebrations to include are La Befana in Italy, Night of Las Posada in Mexico, Advent in Germany, and St. Nicholas Day in France.
While each holiday has its own symbols, however Kwanzaa has seven symbolic items. Each item is placed on a special mat called a mkeka. During Kwanzaa celebrations, families celebrate for seven days. The kinara is lit each night. A basket of fruits and vegetables represent the harvest, ears of corn represent each child in the family, and a wooden unity cup filled with water or something pure from the earth is placed on the mkeka.
Show Traditional Holiday Foods
As I plan my December activities each year, one of my favorite holiday foods to share with students is panettone from Italy. It is fairly easy to find at local grocery stores and is the sweet bread that the book, Tony’s Bread by Tomie dePaola is based on. I have even found panettone at Walgreens and on Amazon here. Note: The above two links are Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases.
Add Holiday Videos to Your Field Trip
I have curated quite a collection of videos to teach about Christmas around the world and I’ve put them all in a FREE clickable video guide to help you when you plan. The guide has direct links to over 20 holiday videos and will save you a lot of time when planning a virtual field trip.
Click here to read the post and get a FREE holidays video guide with clickable links.
For read alouds and informational books on Christmas holidays around the world, I have gathered a nice collection on my Amazon book page.
Travel with a Passport
One of the most fun parts of any Christmas around the world field trip is using a passport. Students always love this part and these digital passports are a fun addition!
Invite Your Students to Take a Virtual Field Trip
Download these free Zoom invitations and invite your students to take a virtual field trip! Customize the Google Slides with your own information. Add your room number in the Gate section in place of a Zoom meeting link if you are teaching in your classroom.
Important Note: If you are on a school computer or using a school email address and get prompted with a “Request Access” message when you download, that means your school has outside downloads blocked. You will need to use a personal email address on a personal computer to download the file.
Teaching about holidays around the world brings joy and understanding to our students. I hope these ideas help you plan a magical journey as you take your students on a Christmas around the world virtual field trip.
Be sure to pin this post and have it handy when you plan!
While teaching about holiday traditions around the world, why not start some classroom traditions?
Click here to read 10 holiday classroom traditions your students will love!
Visit these posts for more Holidays Around the World ideas and see how I manage my unit for the entire month of December: