Why do you think people want to wear ugly Christmas sweaters? Would you?
How do you think ugly Christmas sweaters came to be a holiday tradition?
Not everyone celebrates Christmas. What strange traditions can you think of that people celebrate on other holidays?
In your opinion, are all sweaters that feature holiday-inspired patterns ugly? What would a pretty holiday sweater look like?
- Point out that the article they just read is about ugly Christmas sweaters. But not everyone celebrates Christmas, and ugly sweaters are a tradition that people can enjoy on any holiday of their choice.
- Invite students to conduct research to find photos of ugly holiday sweaters. Encourage them to share their examples with the class. As they do, have students identify what they think is the ugliest part of the sweater they found.
- Make a list of those ugly sweater features. Then tell students to use that list as an inspiration for ugliness. Have them pick and choose features from the list to design the ultimate ugly holiday sweater. Give students time to brainstorm ideas and draw a picture of their ugly holiday masterpiece.
CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:
In this problem-solving, action-oriented activity from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, students will explore the impact that wrapping paper has on our landfills. Elementary students will brainstorm ideas to address the problem and also write an article to educate adults and peers about the issue and inform them as to what action they can take to alleviate the problem.
Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa holiday traditions feature an incredibly diverse range of music accompaniment. This sampling from the Smithsonian Folkways collection includes 56 songs from 24 nations.
The way that people dress is an important means of expressing identity, status and cultural values. In this activity from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, middle school students will conduct collaborative internet research on the social purposes of clothing. They will lean about ancient Roman clothing, Japanese kimonos, Indian saris and Elizabethan garments. They will create a presentation to share what they learned with classmates.
In American cities large and small, especially between 1920 and 1960, holiday displays were both a public treat and a commercial enterprise. At Christmas, shopping malls across the country still feature visits with Santa and stores offer seasonal shopping bags to hold holiday purchases. Explore a selection of those bags from the Smithsonian’s collections.
In this Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum lesson, high school students will discuss the origin, creativity and evolution of Mardi Gras Masks and examine the implications for seasonal and out-of-season demand. Students will learn about the materials used to create the masks and procedures of design. Then they will create their own masks.
Thanks to the successful “Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii!” (Kentucky for Christmas!) marketing campaign in 1974, Japan can’t get enough KFC on Christmas Day. Read this Smithsonian magazine article to learn more.