Secondary Secondary Religious Studies

All Secondary – The Real Meaning of Christmas

So, Christmas is fast approaching and all the students want to do is watch a video or make Christmas cards, and frankly, you’re tempted to give in as it you’ve worked ridiculously hard and your thoughts are now turned towards your own lie-ins and recuperation… but what if you could have a Christmas based lesson that kept the students engaged and learning and was still fun? Here is an idea that can be used both in and out of the RE classroom!

Resources: A variety of old Christmas cards (just the fronts)

Step 1: In pairs/ small groups students imagine that they have never encountered or experienced Christmas before, perhaps they are aliens from another planet who have received these cards in the post. Students then identify as many different features about Christmas from the cards (Gifts, snow, robins, trees, stars, perhaps some people on a camel?!)

Step 2: In their groups, students can either try to piece together the meaning of Christmas only from the evidence they have gathered from the cards. They must try to include and explain the reasons for all of the features they have identified into a story about the festival and its meaning (they must not use any prior knowledge).

Step 3: Students feed their stories/ meanings of Christmas back to the class

Step 4: Discuss – What do students believe is the true meaning of Christmas? Did any of their presentations show any of this?


Step 1: As above

Step 2: Students research the meanings of the different features/ symbolisms associated with Christmas from their cards.

Step 3: Create a leaflet to other ‘aliens’ who do not know about Christmas, where the festival originated from, what its symbolisms mean and what Christmas means to both Christians and non-Christians.

To make this a more meaningful RE-focussed lesson, students can compare the similarities and differences between the Christian and non-Christian elements, and explore whether there is a common link between the two (i.e the hope and promise of the new-born baby Jesus for Christians and the hope and promise of the return of light in the depth of winter for Pagans).

Wishing you all a relaxing end of term…!
Teresa Langler
Head of Beliefs and Values
Clyst Vale Community College

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