Russian Star Ornaments

Russian Star Ornaments lesson plan

Craft a traditional paper ornament that was popular in old Russia. Trim holiday trees with these international Christmas symbols for a new look!

  • 1.

    How do you picture Christmas? What does your family traditionally eat on Christmas Eve? How do you decorate for the season.

  • 2.

    Russia has deep snow and cold weather, which for many people is traditional for Christmas. In old Russia, Russian Orthodox religious beliefs were often mixed with European customs and folk traditions. Russian people fasted to prepare for the occasion. They ate foods that symbolized different parts of the Christmas story. Straw or wheat covered the dinner table to remember Christ's birth in a stable. On Christmas Eve, Russians ate kutya, a porridge made from wheat berries, honey, poppy seeds, and raisins.

  • 3.

    In pre-soviet Russia, Christmas trees were decorated with homemade ornaments. Often fruit, such as apples or oranges, was hung on the tree. Walnuts covered in silver foil and paper chains were also hung from its boughs. Star ornaments were another popular decoration. Here's how you can make your own.

  • 4.

    With Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils, sketch a large star on a recycled file folder. If you need to make changes in the design, just erase and start again.

  • 5.

    Color in the star with the bright colors of Crayola Gel Markers and Metallic Colored Pencils. Cut out the star with Crayola Scissors.

  • 6.

    Cover your art area with newspaper. Paint a wooden dowel or chopstick with gold Crayola Premier Tempera and a Crayola Paint Brush. Air dry.

  • 7.

    Attach your star to the golden stick with Crayola School Glue. Lay flat to air dry.

  • 8.

    Decorate your Russian Start Ornament with ribbons and Crayola Glitter Glue. Air dry flat.

  • 9.

    Wave your star across the sky. To trim a Christmas tree with it, stick the wooden wand into the branches.


  • LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
  • LA: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably.
  • LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
  • LA: Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences. MATH: Understand that attributes belonging to a category of two-dimensional figures also belong to all subcategories of that category.
  • SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.
  • SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.
  • SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.
  • VA: Select media, techniques, an processes; analyze what makes them effective or not effective in communicating ideas; and reflect upon the effectiveness of choices.
  • VA: Intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of experiences and ideas.
  • VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.
  • VA: Describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.


  • Possible classroom resource includes: The Miraculous Child: A Christmas Folktale from Old Russia by Alan Alekski Currier
  • Students research the Russian Orthodox Church and the orthodox calendar that celebrates Christmas 13 days after Christian churches. Why do they follow a different calendar? Are any other holidays celebrated at a different time than that of the Christian calendar?
  • Students research celebration activities in old Russia, during the Soviet period with a New Year's focus, and currently during the "Russian Renaissance." Students discuss reasons why this holiday observance changed during the various time periods.
  • Investigate what "mumming" is, including its costumes and clowns. Research any activities in your country, such as the Mummers' Parade on New Year's Day in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Encourage students to investigate the traditional foods that are served as Christmas fare in other parts of the world. Invite students to bring in recipes for each of these foods. Create an international recipe book with the compiled recipes.