Link(s) to the Newfoundland and Labrador Religious Education Curriculum:
- 8.1 — explore the continued presence of religious celebrations and observances and their influence on contemporary society.
Brief Overview of the Lesson:
The students will be asked to identify various religious celebrations and observances that are practiced and to list the various traditions associated with each. They will then examine the practice of gift-giving, exploring the reasons for this exchange. Having completed these tasks the students will then be asked to identify some of the more memorable gifts they have received explaining why they are so memorable. With this as background, the students will be asked to discuss why gifts do not have to be expensive in order to be meaningful. The culminating activity will be to identify alternative ways in which you can give others meaningful gifts without spending money (or spending a small amount).
Estimated Time Required for Implementation:
One class period
A piece of chart paper and markers for each group
Suggested Implementation Strategy:
- Arrange the class in groups of 4 to 5 students.
- Give each group a piece of chart paper and markers and ask them to list any religious celebration or observance that they can think of and any traditions that are attached to that celebration or observance.
- Have the students identify, from their lists, those practices which involve gift giving.
- Have the groups share their lists with the class as a whole.
- Ask each member of the groups, individually and without consulting their fellow students, to think about a gift they might have received that had special meaning for them.
- Convene the class as a whole and ask the students to discuss why people exchange gifts.
- With this completed ask the students to volunteer what they identified as their special gift and why it is considered special.
- After this has been done, ask the students to reflect on what they have discussed so far in the lesson and ask them to explain why the true value of a gift is not in its dollar value.
- With this discussion completed, ask the groups to identify ways in which people can give meaningful gifts to others without having to spend money.
- As a culminating activity, have the groups report their suggestions to the class.
Options for Consideration
- The teacher may have the students discuss ways in which they could share with others in the community through such things as volunteer work.
Extended Learning Opportunities:
- The students could be asked to assume that they had no money to spend and explain what gift they would give to an important person in their life who was celebrating a special occasion. Included in this response should be the reasons why they think this gift would have special meaning.
- The students could discuss how advertising stresses our role as consumers and that there are alternatives to simply purchasing goods.