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Santa Claus Around the World (Grade 5)

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Santa Claus Around the World

Christmas - Santa Santa Claus – He’s Not Who You Think He Is

Santa Claus. He’s the jolly guy in the red suit and beard who flies around on Christmas Eve, delivering presents to kids around the world, but there’s a lot more to Santa Claus than you may realize. Did you know that Santa Claus does not look the same in every country? Or that in some countries kids call him by a different name? There are even places where Santa Claus brings unique presents and some where he comes on a day other than Christmas Eve. But no matter what he looks like or what he’s called, it is the same guy whose arrival kids anxiously anticipate around Christmas.

The Names of Santa Claus
In the United States, most kids call him Santa Claus, but the same jolly old guy has many names. Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle and Father Christmas are a few of those names. In other countries, Santa Claus also has other names too. Kids in countries like France and Belgium call him Pere Noel, which means Father Christmas. Those in countries like Spain and areas of Latin America call him Papa Noel, which means Father Christmas as well. In other countries, he has names that sound somewhat stranger. For example, in Finland, kids call him Joulupukki and in Norway he is called Julenissen, which means Christmas Gnome. Kids in Germany call Santa Claus Weihnachtsmann, meaning Christmas Man and in China, he is Dun Che Lao Ren, which means Christmas Old Man.

How He Gets Around
On Christmas Eve, you may watch the local news station track Santa Claus as his sleigh pulled by reindeer flies through the sky. You may even listen closely for the sound of reindeer hooves on the roof. However, when Santa Claus travels, he does not always take his reindeer with him. Sometimes he prefers other modes of transportation. When Santa Claus goes to Brazil, for example, he flies in on a helicopter and arrives on December 20, instead of Christmas Eve. In Holland, Santa Claus rides in on a horse. Sometimes, in places like Germany and Scandinavia, he skips the reindeer and chimney and just walks up and knocks on the door.

Are You Naughty or Nice?
Most kids hope to be on Santa Claus’ “nice” list whenever and however he gets to their homes. In the United States, kids who are on the “naughty” list get a lump of coal in their stockings. Kids in France who find themselves on the naughty list get something a little different. There, Santa Claus travels with Le Pere Fouettard who gives spankings to naughty kids. In Iceland, naughty kids who are not eaten by the Yuletide Cat, who travels with Santa Claus, are given potatoes instead of gifts.

Kids who make the nice list do not always get tons of gifts either. In some countries, instead of large gifts, kids are presented with small gifts and candy. In others, kids receive small gifts from Santa Claus from baby Jesus and other holiday figures. Not all of them get their gifts on Christmas Eve either. In countries such as the Netherlands, gifts are given on December 5th. Russian children often receive their gifts around New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.

Santa Claus sure is one busy guy! It’s hard to believe that one guy can visit so many children around the world in one night. It’s even harder to believe that he can visit so many children around the world in so many different ways, but every year he manages to get it down. He travels around the world, rewarding children who have been nice all year long and punishing those who have been naughty. Whether he’s dressed in a red suit and driving a sleigh or walking door to door and wearing a long robe, he’s still the same guy and he still brings joy to kids all around the world.
Which is not a name used for this guy?
Christmas - Santa - Small
  1. Kris Kringle
  2. Saint Nicholas
  3. Old Jingle
  4. Papa Noel
What do kids in the United States get in their Christmas - Stocking - Small if they are "naughty"?
  1. Potatoes
  2. Coal
  3. Spankings
  4. Gifts
What is the point of this passage about Santa Claus?
  1. To explain the history of Santa Claus
  2. To show how Santa Claus appears in other countries
  3. To give the history of Christmas
  4. To show how Christmas is celebrated in other countries
Which country's version of Santa do you like the most? Explain.

Which element of Christmas in Russia and the Netherlands are most different from other countries?
  1. Christmas - Santa - Small
  2. General - Gift Box - Small
  3. Christmas - Tree - Small
  4. Christmas - Stocking - Small
Each picture represents a different element of the passage.
Write at least three things you learned from the passage next to each picture.

Christmas - Santa - Small

General - Gift Box - Small

Winter - Sled - Small

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