Caption: Mr. Thomas’ students at Princess Elizabeth went back in time to learn the origins of the Christmas tree and its significance around the world.
A lesson on the origins of the Christmas Tree started in September for Ben Thomas’ Grade 5 class.
As part of his social studies and civilization courses, Thomas wanted the students to explore how holidays are experienced throughout the world in all cultures starting with greetings.
“In Haudenosaunee, hello means ‘is everyone living in peace, is everyone living in friendship and does everyone have a good mind’,” said Thomas.
From there, the students received lessons in African, Asian, Australian and European cultures studying their ancient beliefs and use of the Christmas tree.
“The Romans would have it on their door as a symbol of victory and of spring to come,” added Thomas.
“In Haudenosaunee, they had a special, magical tree that symbolized different concepts of living together and living in disarmament. The green tree was uprooted and all weapons and negative thoughts were thrown away below it.”
Beyond the lessons in history, the tree brought the students to reflect on peace and what it means to them. Through journal writing, the students came up with strategies to live in peace within their classroom, their families, neighbourhood, city, country and world-wide.
Thomas created a Tree of Peace within the classroom, where students traced their hands and wrote down messages for how to create peace.
“All the different stories of Christmas trees led them on an inquiry of why the tree is green and what makes it special and magical.”