Christmas History Activity: Historical Holiday Sweater
Oh, the ugly Christmas sweater… What started out as a staple in the wardrobe of your favorite fourth-grade teacher has now become one of the most trendy traditions of the holiday season. And I, for one, am all for it!
I thought it would be hilarious to bring these ugly sweaters into the classroom. And what could be more fun than to have your students create their very own historical holiday sweaters?! So, without further ado, check out this free Christmas history activity.
Christmas History Activity: Holiday Sweater Lesson Plan
1. First, review the concept of “ugly holiday sweaters.”
Show students pictures of ugly holiday sweaters. You could even bring in a few of your own to model for the class!
- This 40 second video from Studio C is a super quick and funny skit about ugly sweaters.
Classic Vintage ’80s Christmas Sweater, CC BY 2.0, Link
2. Second, outline the holiday sweater guidelines.
Students have two options for their holiday sweater. They can design a holiday sweater representing either a historical figure or a historical era.
Option 1: Historical Figure
- Students choose one historical figure from US history.
- If you need help thinking of historical figures, check out the Smithsonian’s list of the 100 Most Significant Americans of All Time.
- For instance, a “Harriet Tubman” holiday sweater could be decorated with:
- An abolitionist symbol
- A symbol depicting the underground railroad
- A portrait of Harriet Tubman
- Images symbolizing important events in her life (escape from slavery, Union Army spy, women’s suffragist, etc.)
Option 2: Historical Era
- Students choose one historical era from American history.
- If you need help thinking of historical eras, take a look at the Library of Congress U.S. History Primary Source Timeline.
- For example, an “American Revolution” holiday sweater could be decorated with:
- The “Join or Die” snake
- The Liberty Bell
- A big picture of the Declaration of Independence
- Images representing the Stamp Act, Townshend Act, Tea Act, etc.
3. Next, students brainstorm ideas about their historical figure or era.
Using the provided worksheet, students answer guiding questions to gather important information about their chosen figure/era. These worksheets can be printed or filled out via Google Slides.
4. Then, students create their holiday sweaters!
Students design a sweater using colors, words, and images that represent important facts about their chosen historical figure/era.
- Additionally, you can play holiday music in the background and bring in crafty materials (like pompoms, googly eyes, glitter, etc.) to make this activity even more fun!
5. Finally, students write a paragraph describing their historical sweater.
Prompt: How do the colors, words, and images used on your sweater represent the historical figure/era?
Download the Christmas History Activity: Historical Holiday Sweater Materials
These holiday sweaters are a fun, creative way for your students to show off their historical knowledge. In fact, they would even make an excellent bulletin board display!
To download this Christmas history activity, simply click the button below. Also included is a Google Classroom-friendly version. Happy Holidays!
Looking for more social studies lessons? Check out these other free lesson plans I have created. In addition, all lesson plans are Google Classroom compatible – perfect for both in-person and distance learning!