Want a glimpse at Christmas in Italy? I’ve rounded up some great unit study resources to help you have a Buon Natale in your homeschool.
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Italian Christmas celebrations vary from region to region, but generally begin toward the beginning of December and end with the January 6th celebration of Epiphany. Christmas trees, lights, and yule logs are frequently used for decorating, but nativity scenes are by far the most popular way to decorate for Christmas in Italy.
Church services and remembrances also play a big role in Christmas celebrations because several important Roman Catholic holidays happen during the Christmas season. The Day of the Immaculate Conception, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, St. Stephen’s Day, and Epiphany all happen during their Christmas season.
As for gift-giving on Christmas, children in Italy look forward to receiving a few gifts on Christmas morning. These gifts are primarily brought by Bubbo Natale (Santa), but there are variations of gift-givers in different regions of the country.
Also worth noting, to wish someone a Merry Christmas in Italy you would say “Buon Natale.”
Christmas in Italy
Unit Study Resources
We found several great resources to help us with our Christmas in Italy study. Those resources were a combination of books, websites, and hands-on activities.
The great thing about these unit study resources is that they’re not complicated and don’t require much preparation, but they all worked together wonderfully to build our Christmas in Italy unit study. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Christmas in Italy: What to Read & Watch
We found The Best Christmas Traditions from Walks of Italy to be a great help in our study. This website has great information, great images, and hosts this video:
We also spent time gathering information from Kids-World-Travel-Guide.com and WhyChristmas.com. As for books, our primary resource was Tomie dePaola’s The Legend of Old Befena. We found this one to be a touching book full of beautiful artwork while providing great insight into a beloved Italian Christmas tradition.
Aside from The Legend of Old Befana, here are a few other book selections to help with a Christmas in Italy Unit Study:
- La Befana: An Italian Night After Christmas by Sunday Frey-Blanchard
- Bambinelli Sunday: A Christmas Blessing by Amy Welborn
- Merry Christmas, Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
- Christmas Around the World by Mary D. Lankford
Christmas in Italy: What to Eat
Many Italians spend Christmas Eve eating light meals or fasting altogether. Some areas of the country conclude the evening by enjoying a big Christmas dinner — sometimes a feast of seven (or more) fishes — while some wait until after Christmas mass to enjoy a meal together.
I love the idea of a big Italian Christmas feast and I love the idea of rich Italian desserts, but we didn’t pull off any of those for this unit study. Instead, we opted to keep it simple.
We used graham crackers, vanilla frosting, and red and green sprinkles to create Italian flags. We started by spreading the frosting on the crackers. Then we made a green stripe by carefully adding sprinkles to the first third of the crackers. We matched the flag by leaving only frosting in the middle and then adding red sprinkles to the right third of the crackers.
Christmas in Italy: What to Do
We were able to find lots of great activities to go along with our study of Christmas in Italy. To start, my oldest worked through Christmas in Italy for Older Kids and my youngest child worked through some pages of Christmas Around the World: Italy. The best part is that I found both of these fantastic resources available for free through Teachers Pay Teachers.
Christmas In Italy Art Ideas
Since the nativity is such an important part of Italian Christmas celebrations, why not include some nativity art in your unit study? This nativity painting project is one of my favorites; we’ve done variations of it and they turned out great!
If you’re not feeling a nativity painting, you may prefer these drawing tutorials from Art for Kids Hub. Your kids can draw Mary and Joseph, Baby Jesus, and the Three Wise Men individually or put them all together to make a nativity scene.
An Italian flag ornament would also make a great addition to a Christmas in Italy study. We made our ornament by cutting a circle out of an Amazon box and then painting it with acrylic craft paint to match the Italian flag. If you don’t have cardboard boxes to spare, jar lids also work well for these ornaments.
Epiphany stars also make great ornaments to go along with a Christmas in Italy study. We made ours by gathering thin sticks from our yard, gluing them together with tacky glue, painting them, and threading some yarn through them before hanging. They were such an easy and cute addition to our study!
Have you studied Christmas in Italy before? I’d love for you to share your favorite ideas in the comments below!
Want to learn more about Christmas in other parts of the world? Stop by iHomeschool Network’s Christmas Around the World linkup and take a look.