Christmas and Conditions

Main idea: What is Christmas? What are the things that make it Christmas and what would it still be Christmas if certain things were missing

Main strategy: What’s needed and what’s enough? (The If Machine, p33)

Examination of the essential properties of a thing can be conducted with two questions e.g:

  • What is needed for a square to be a square?
  • Is that enough for it to be a square (or could it be something else?)

Hence the ‘What’s needed?’ and ‘What’s enough?’ This session makes particular use of these questions to examine the necessary and sufficient conditions of Christmas


This should be fast-pace, generating a volume of ideas without much thought. Write ‘Christmas’ the board and ask children to suggest all the things that make Christmas. Record them all around the word ‘Christmas’. You will get things like:

  • Santa
  • Presents
  • Joy
  • Jesus
  • Reindeer
  • Xmas tree

After 5-8 minutes or when you haven’t enough space for more words, look through what you have written and ask the children:

Task Question:

  • Is there anything you don’t need for it to be Christmas? OR Do we need these things for it to be Christmas? (What’s needed?)

Follow up questions

  • Why don’t we need Santa?
  • If there were no presents, would it still be Christmas?
  • Is there one thing definitely NEED for it to be Christmas?
  • If you don’t believe in Jesus, are you celebrating Christmas?
  • If we just had presents, would it be Christmas? (What’s enough?)

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