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City Cousin, Country Cousin
Depending on where you live, your students may not realize that there are differences in the way people celebrate Christmas. There is a lot of focus on the differences between countries and their celebrations. But stop to think about the communities nearby: Subtle differences may occur just between those in rural and urban communities.
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Country and City Christmas Celebrations
In Loretta Krupinski’s book “Christmas in the City", the pictures and description depict a holiday filled with hustle and bustle. Store windows and shoppers running everywhere to find that perfect gift. Ice skaters twirl in the middle of the city, and noise and excitement abound everywhere.
In “Christmas in the Country" by Cynthia Rylant and Diane Goode, we see a different picture. We appreciate the quiet of winter in the country, where the snow slows everything down.
To draw out the similarities and differences of the two Christmas celebrations, have students make a Venn Diagram to compare the two. Introduce or review terms rural and urban.
Have students begin by folding a white piece of 11x17 drawing paper in half. On one side they can write the heading “Country Christmas" and on the other “City Christmas". Have students draw a picture to show how each is celebrated. They can choose to illustrate any aspect of the holiday.
Students can write a persuasive essay about where they would most like to celebrate Christmas, in the city or in the country. Talk about the differences between facts and opinions, and that they are sharing their opinion using the facts they learned from the books. Share the elements of a persuasive essay, and help them to see that it is not enough to just say one is better than the other. They must support their opinion with facts or examples. With younger students, you may need to give them starting sentences such as:
- Christmas in the country is better because…
- Christmas in the city is better because…
Students can also make a flip book to share what they learned about rural and urban communities and their celebrations. Take an 11x17 piece of paper and fold it length wise. Cut three slits through both layers, just up to the fold. This should give you four pages for the flip book. Students can draw two pictures about a Rural Christmas and two about an Urban Christmas. On the inside, students can write a sentence or a small paragraph describing what they drew.