A Puritanical Christmas

Lesson 1: A Puritanical Christmas
(PowerPoint: Puritan Christmas)

Starter: What were 16th and 17th century xmas traditions?
On the PPT are some images to get them to guess. There are geese, mince pies, and Christmas puddings. Emphasise that these were often very different from today’s traditions though, e.g. mince pies had actual mince in them.


1. What do these traditions have in common?
Establish that this is all about gluttony and food! Show a short clip from the SuperSizers go Elizabethan (linked from the slide). The clip shows the full extent of Tudor greed.

2. Where does this fit into the history of xmas?
Using the timeline on the PPT place these traditions in the wider context of the history of xmas e.g. this is way before trees, cards, crackers etc.

3. Teacher introduction
Introduce enquiry – What was a Puritan Christmas like?

4. Who were the Puritans?
A quick recap of the Puritans. On the PPT are a list of statements. Students need to sort into Puritan dos and don’ts. Then ask the students what a Puritan would think about a traditional Tudor Christmas

5. Teacher introduction – Why did Cromwell ban Christmas?
Use the last activity to explain why Cromwell banned Christmas.

6. What words would a Puritan use to describe Christmas festivities?
Get the students to make a word bank on the board. This can be used in the next activity.

7. Poster 
Now get the students to make a poster that advertises the banning of Christmas that could be put up in a 17th century town. (NOTE: I nicked this idea off an old schoolhistory.co.uk forum! Ta!)

Plenary – Discussion
What was the impact of these ideas?


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