Christmas Around the World


Take your kids on a celebration of Christmas around the world with these nine amazing crafts from different countries.

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The gift of Christ is for everyone — everywhere. And on Christmas Day in almost every country around the world, the human race stops-if only for an instant-to give homage to the humble Savior who was born in a stable.

Since that blessed day in Bethlehem, people around the world have developed their own rituals and traditions to celebrate Christmas Day. Your children can learn about and sense God’s heart for people everywhere as they make these crafts from around the world. (Instructions and materials listed are for one child only.)

Christmas Around the WorldNATIVITY ORNAMENT Christmas in France means the Nativity scene or creche. At Christmastime, churches and homes display the manger scene to remember the birth of Christ. In the community and in homes, children gather to sing and pray around the creche. In Marseille, they even have the famous Santon Fair before Christmas. (A santon is a little clay figure used in a creche.) Children can make this aromatic creche ornament, created by Judith Moy of San Gabriel, California.

MATERIALS a small wooden or cardboard star for each child yellow paint a paintbrush glitter 5 cinnamon sticks Christmas cards with nativity scenes, colored pencils and paper, or a nativity scene rubber stamp scissors potpourri 6-inch length of ribbon glue

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Paint a small wooden star with yellow paint and sprinkle glitter over the wet paint. Allow the paint to dry. Glue five cinnamon sticks into the shape of a house.

As the glue on the house dries, create a nativity scene by cutting out the nativity figures on a Christmas card, drawing the figures on paper, or cutting out a rubber stamped nativity scene on a sheet of paper. Glue the nativity scene to the dried cinnamon-stick stable.

Glue potpourri onto the sides of the stable for a rustic look-and nice smell. Then glue the star to the top of the stable. Insert a 6-inch piece of ribbon through the top of the stable. Tie the ribbon in a knot for hanging the nativity ornament.

GIFT IN REVERSE The Scandinavians have an unusual practice of making gifts for animals at Christmastime. They place sheaves of wheat or barley on tops of tall poles, and they tack suet to tree trunks. Their gift enables birds to feast at Christmas too. Your kids will enjoy making an edible birdhouse to feed little creatures at Christmastime.

MATERIALS a pint-sized milk carton a 3/16-inch wooden dowel 6 inches long peanut butter birdseed a plastic knife twine a hot glue gun

On two opposite sides of the milk carton, cut a hole 2 inches up from the bottom of the carton. On the same sides as these holes, cut a hole in the top edge of the milk carton. Insert a dowel through the lower holes for the bird’s perches. Glue the dowel into place with a dab of hot glue at each hole. String a piece of twine through the top holes in the milk carton and tie a knot to create a hanger. Using a plastic knife, completely cover the milk carton with peanut butter and then roll it in birdseed.

FABRIC GIFTS Kids love to make gifts for Mom or Dad at Christmas. And because kids usually lack financial resources, you can help ensure that Mom and Dad have something under the tree! Use these interesting craft ideas from all around the world.

ADINKRA CLOTH In Ghana, adinkra cloth is made by the Ashanti people. The fabric is divided into squares. Then the Ashanti people stamp symbols in the squares that express such qualities as patience, security, strength, and forgiveness.

MATERIALS a 1-foot muslin square a fine-line black marker a ruler fabric markers or crayons

Use a fine-line black marker to mark off small squares over the entire piece of muslin. Use simple symbols such as a heart, flower, smiley face, triangle, or circle. Using fabric markers or crayons, create a symbol in each square. Allow the markers to dry.

TIE-DYE Tie-dyeing has been used in India since 700 B.C. People in India used natural dyes from organic sources such as fruit, bark, roots, and flowers. Tie-dyeing is a popular look right now, so children will enjoy tie-dyeing a gift.

ALERT: Requires close adult supervision.

MATERIALS A 3-foot square of white prewashed fabric cold water dye rubber bands scissors spatulas 2 large bowls a place to hang wet fabric squares to dry Prepare the dye in large bowls following the package directions.

Pinch up areas of the fabric and tightly twist rubber bands around the gathered cloth. Do this all over the fabric.

After all the areas are gathered, place the fabric in the bowl of dye. Stir and leave the fabric in the dye longer than suggested. Then lift out the fabric and rinse it in a bowl of clear water. Cut the rubber bands, squeeze out any excess water, and hang the fabric to dry.

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