Find Classes
Teach
Log In
Social Studies

Yuletide Traditions: Exploring the Ancient Pagan Origins of Christmas

This class will explore the ancient pagan traditions that have been borrowed and adapted from ancient cultures in the celebration of Christmas.
Jeremy Freeman
97 total reviews for this teacher
6 reviews for this class
Completed by 17 learners
Class
90 minutes
per class
Meets once
11-14
year olds
1-18
learners per class
per learner

How does a "One-Time" class work?

Meets once at a scheduled time
Live video chat, recorded and monitored for safety and quality
Great for exploring new interests and different styles of teachers

How Outschool Works

Available Times

Pacific

Thu, Dec 1

Meet once (1 day)
Thursday
8:00 – 9:30 AM
1 learner enrolled
Enroll

Fri, Dec 2

Meet once (1 day)
Friday
8:00 – 9:30 AM
 Enroll

Thu, Dec 8

Meet once (1 day)
Thursday
8:00 – 9:30 AM
 Enroll

Fri, Dec 9

Meet once (1 day)
Friday
8:00 – 9:30 AM
 Enroll

Thu, Dec 15

Meet once (1 day)
Thursday
8:00 – 9:30 AM
 Enroll

Fri, Dec 16

Meet once (1 day)
Friday
8:00 – 9:30 AM
 Enroll

Thu, Dec 22

Meet once (1 day)
Thursday
8:00 – 9:30 AM
3 learners enrolled
Enroll

Fri, Dec 23

Meet once (1 day)
Friday
8:00 – 9:30 AM
1 learner enrolled
Enroll

Thu, Dec 29

Meet once (1 day)
Thursday
8:00 – 9:30 AM
 Enroll

Fri, Dec 30

Meet once (1 day)
Friday
8:00 – 9:30 AM
 Enroll
Don't see a time that works for you?

Description

Class Experience

Students will be introduced to the cross-cultural similarities that all cultures share in our collective humanity.  Students will learn about the pagan origins of the traditions celebrated during Christmas.  Students will learn about the significance of the winter solstice amongst pagan cultures and how many of the traditions that are part of the holiday are hold-overs from ancient sun cults.  Students will be presented with a cross-cultural perspective that includes and exploration of ancient traditions, from many ancient cultures, surrounding the cross-cultural significance of the winter solstice.  

Students will learn about contributions from Egyptian, Greek, Roman, German, and Norse mythologies.  Students will learn about mythology and the constellations and how they shaped the nativity story.  Students will learn about the significance of the virgin earth-mother goddess.  Students will learn how Santa Claus was based on a Germanic seafaring god and eventually became the white-bearded, gift-giving man in red.  Students will learn about the tradition of leaving cookies out for Santa and where the charity of gift-giving arose.  And students will learn how Christmas trees came to be, why children hang their stockings on the fireplace mantle, why couples kiss under the mistletoe, and how holly was was hung in windows and doorways.  
I am a professional archaeologist for over 20 years that has worked at sites throughout the United States and the world.  I am currently the tribal archaeologist for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.  I also teach archaeology/anthropology classes at Sitting Bull College and am a historic interpretive guide at On-A-Slant Mandan Indian Village at Fort Abraham Lincoln State Park in Mandan, North Dakota.  I have been engaged in teaching youth about the science of archaeology since AD 2000.  My research interests include how mythologies are inscribed on the sacred landscape.  I specialize in rock art and ancient mythologies.
None
Learners will not need to use any apps or websites beyond the standard Outschool tools.
No formal assessment.
1 hour 30 minutes per week in class, and maybe some time outside of class.
This class will include a discussion on the pagan models upon which the nativity story is likely based.  The premise of the content is that the nativity story (i.e. birth of Jesus) was largely adapted from pre-Christian pagan sun-gods and later incorporated into narrative of the nativity story.  The content may challenge the beliefs of younger students that may be sensitive to suggestions that the birth of Christ was largely borrowed from other religions.  

The class will also include a discussion of the pagan beliefs and traditions that eventually became Santa Claus.  This is includes the origin of Santa Claus was based on Germanic deities and through the aggregation of various traditions eventually evolved into Santa Claus.  Parental discretion is advised for students that may be sensitive to discussions about Santa Claus.  
Ratsch, Christian and Claudia Muller-Ebeling
2003   Pagan Christmas:  The Plants, Spirits, and Rituals at the Origins of Yuletide.  Inner Traditions, Rochester, Vermont.

Seabrook, Lochlainn
2018   Christmas before Christianity:  How the Birthday of the "Sun" Became the Birthday of the "Son".  Sea Raven Press, Nashville, Tennessee.

Teacher

Jeremy Freeman
🇺🇸
Lives in the United States
There's always more to explore
97 total reviews
120 completed classes

About Me

Jeremy is currently the staff archaeologist for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  He is the founder and archaeological program coordinator for Archaeology Learning Group.  He received his B.A. in anthropology at Heidelberg College... 
Learn
Get The App
Download the Outschool iOS app on the App Store
©2022 Outschool, Inc.