Lesson Plan Title : A Christmas in Poverty

Age Range: Grade 9 through grade 12 (High School)

Overview and Purpose: Using the story, The Little Matchstick Girl, as a springboard, students will explore what Christmas is like for thousands of children across the country who live below the poverty level.

Objective: The student will be able to compare their Christmas morning with the Christmas morning of a child who is very poor.


The Little Matchstick Girl by Hans Christian Anderson

Stories of children around America who are too poor to celebrate Christmas as many Americans


This activity is more of a discussion based activity. Have students brainstorm a list of ways that they celebrate Christmas. Read the story, The Little Matchstick Girl, and talk about if students think there are children similar to that today.

Pass out one article to each pair of students. Give them time to read and summarize them and then have them present them to the class. Talk about the extremes presented in the articles. Encourage the students to discuss their thoughts about the articles.

End the class period by having the students write a journal entry comparing their Christmas morning to the Christmas morning of a child who is extremely poor. What would they never change about the way their family celebrates Christmas?

Wrap Up:

Some students may identify closely with children who do not have much to celebrate Christmas with. Be sensitive to the fact that they may be in your class and remind your students to discuss any child's situation with respect.