Instructions for teachers


In Lithuania people celebrate Christmas Eve on December 24th by sharing dinner of necessary 12 dishes. Christmas Eve is more special in Lithuania. Children wait for presents till the next morning. "Senis Šaltis" (Father Christmas) puts the presents under the Christmas tree.


In Poland Christmas is the most awaited holiday in the year. It is preceded by may days of preparation. Christmas trees are set in every home and decorated with sparkling tinsel, lights and glass balls. On Christmas Eve, when the first star appears in the sky, people sit at table. They do not forget about leaving an empty place for an unexpected guest. The most popular dishes are: red borsch with pies, carp: fried or in a jelly, pies with mushrooms, herrings, poppy-seed cake. Before supper members of the family share the holy wafer, after supper they give each other presents which were put under the Christmas tree. At midnight many people go to church to attend a special mass. 25th December is spent at home, the next day, people pay and receive visits. Christmas in Poland is the most familiar, traditional and joyful time.


Santa Claus sometimes just leaves presents under a decorated Christmas tree which is usually a spruce ( a fir). It's a custom to leave some food on the table for the night so that passed - away relatives can enjoy the meal when they come to visit theri families that night. People go to church before the evening meal. Thet also light candles on the graves in the graveyards. As it gets dark at four, the graveyards look beautiful with hundreds of lighted candles


Saint Nicholas Day is celebrated on December 6th in Eastern Europe. Children put a boot by the window on December 5th and it is filled with treats by Saint Nicholas. Naughty children get coal and onions.


The Dutch "Sintirklass" arrives by boat on December 6th. Children leave a wooden shoe filled with hay and carrots for the donkey which carries St. Nicholas' pack of toys. The good children get gifts.


In Italy "La Befana" is a good witch who dresses all in black. Children leave their shoes by the fireplace on the eve of January 6th. Befana comes down the chimney on her broomstick to leave gifts.


In Germany families go to church on Christmas Eve. While they are at church the "Christkind" or Christ Child brings presents to their homes.


In Spain children wait until January 6th for their presents. The Three Kings or Wise Men bring the gifts. Children put shoes by the front door to get their gifts. There is usually a big procession through the streets with floats for each of the Wise men.


In Sweden a gnome called "Juletomten" brings gifts in a sleigh driven by goats.


In Switzerland the "Christkindl" or Christ Child brings the gifts. In some towns, Christkindl is an angel who comes down from heaven to give gifts.


In England Father Christmas is a stern version of Santa Claus who brings gifts on Christmas Eve.


In France "Père Noël" brings gifts to children on Christmas Eve. Children leave their shoes by the fireplace.