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Primary websites

Seasonal internet learning, served up piping hot by Jim Merrett

There are plenty of Christmas internet sites to be found, offering everything from religious texts and illustrations to games and even a chance to follow the progress of Father Christmas around the world. Many craft ideas are available, as is the opportunity to research Christmas traditions and greetings in other parts of the world.

Child Fun

www.childfun.comchristmas

This site is stacked with creative ideas for decorations. There are also party games, songs, poems, stories and seasonal tongue twisters. There are also some humorous and colouring pages. The instructions are in simple note form and require materials readily available in school.

Christmas

www.soon.org.ukchristmas.htm

This explains the traditions behind Christmas in western countries, especially the UK. The story of Father Christmas and the reason for exchanging cards is explained, along with Boxing Day's origins. There is also a poem, audio presentation and a few stories. Some children will find the text rather challenging.

Contact Santa

www.smile-a-day.comadvent-calendar.shtml

The advent calendar provides pictures and songs for the days leading up to Christmas along with the opportunity to send Santa a letter. Plenty of Christmas songs, complete with music, are provided, including the Twelve Days of Christmas. There is also a chance to send musical Christmas cards by e-mail.

Educate

http:www.educate.org.ukteacher_zoneclassroomreindex.htm

An Advent assembly is provided for KS1 along with ideas for a writing activity linked to Christmas songs. A set of word searches are also provided. A set of seven lesson plans are pro-vided for KS2, aimed at Year 4. This is associated with the Special Journeys theme and includes the shepherds' journey to Bethlehem, the visit of the angels, the three kings and the Christmas story. Worksheets supplement these resources.

Entertainment

www.claus.com

A very colourful, child-friendly site, where Santa's house and toy workshop can be visited.There are animations, stories, elves and much more to delight the children.

Ideas

www.happychristmas.com

There is a chance to share unusual gift ideas and discuss seasonal television but the site's main attraction is the list of humorous tales relating to Christmas catastrophes. Plenty of good stories here to lighten the mood at Christmas festivities.

Interactive

www.interads.co.ukpuzzle

Children can play these simple, very graphic games to improve their computer skills while constructing a picture of a snowman, Father Christmas and a New Year picture.

Languages

www.christmas.com

How to say "Merry Christmas" in 100 countries is a useful reference source on this site, which also offers a countdown of the number of days to go and provides a Worldview, from which it is possible to click on a map to find out about Christmas traditions in that region. Articles and statistics help children realise that not every country celebrates Christmas.

Music

www.netstrider.commusicchristmas

Dedicated to Christmas music, the site offers a comprehensive collection of over 50 carols. The lyrics are all listed and there is even a chance to hear the tune being played.

Primary Education

www.mmu.ac.ukc-aeduprimarypriwebxmaskidlinks.htm

Although this site doesn't host any actual resources itself, it provides a valuable link to 26 other sites that are all about Christmas. Question: What nationality is Father Christmas? Answer: Northern Polish. That's just one of many jokes on the link to Christmas jokes. There are also games, riddles, Christmas customs around the world, clipart, puzzles and stories.

Holiday Traditions

www.californiamall.comholidaytraditions

Christmas traditions from many parts of Europe, Australia, North and South America are explained in this fascinating and well-illustrated site. Games, religious services, recipes, gifts and other aspects of Christmas are explored, showing that it is celebrated in many different ways.

Jim Merrett is a part-time junior teacher and education writer

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