Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The seven ages of the School Nativity

So, it's nearly Christmas Day and as I prepare for the festivities by relaxing with my favourite Christmas film, Nativity (even though I've watched it twice already over the weekend) and a nice big gin, I've been reflecting on my own children's school nativities over the years.  I've been to loads of them now both good and bad and so thought I'd share.

1. The first first nativity

You know then one.  First child, first nativity.  I had to provide a full sheep costume and so as not to be outdone by the other parents I decided that nothing less than a proper costume from a fancy dress outfitters would do.  This had nothing to do with the fact that I had completely underestimated the demand for sheep costumes in the North West of England that year, and having sent DH to two branches of Asda for the £5 version only to discover that they had sold out, realised that my options were somewhat limited.  £20 plus p&p it cost me.  Still, he looked adorable, and being in the Reception class, was of course only on stage for about four minutes of the whole thing.  Money well spent...

£20 for four minutes use - bargain

2. The second first nativity

Being slightly more savvy this time, I decided that I'd make my daughter's nativity costume, I mean, how hard could it be?  Then the slip of paper came home.  She was to be a sparkle (WTF?). So I hit the shops for tinsel, sparkly material, silver tights and a cheap tshirt to embellish (even someone of my limited sewing skills can manage that). With the material I planned to make a simple skirt.  After pondering it for a moment I hastily bundled it up into an envelope and posted it to my mum to do.  Ahem.  Thanks Mum I owe you.  Child one also needed a costume (donkey) and so, because I had yet again left it too late for a supermarket version, I ended up back at the same fancy dress website as the previous year, ordering a ready made donkey tabard for him.  Of course my daughter really did sparkle and was at the front of the stage so all things considered it wasn't a bad effort.  My son ended up somewhere in the shadows at the side of the stage with the rest of the Year One choir. Why did they need costumes?  Why? That was another £20 wasted then.


3. The third first nativity 

I can't remember anything about this one.  Can't even remember what DS2 was supposed to be.  Was it because he is an oft forgotten third child?  Well, not exactly.  Two days before the nativity and after sourcing the black pumps that he needed to wear (costume provided by school - result!) I received a phone call from his teacher asking if I could come and pick him up.  It turned out that some other child in the class had pushed him into the side of a toilet cubicle in the pre-lunch hand washing scuffle and he'd split his head open.  It needed gluing shut (boak) and he had to spend the rest of the week off school, so we never got to see him in his first nativity.  I'm sure it would have been good...

4.  The weird alien nativity

I can't be the only parent that has had to sit through this can I?  For those of you who haven't had the pleasure I'll attempt to explain.  I think that the rough plot had something to do with aliens coming down to Earth to witness the birth of Jesus (again WTF?).  What I actually remember is seeing DS2 shuffling up the central aisle of the school hall, dressed as an alien with some sort of flashing wig on (surplus from school disco I think). Then, well, what happened next was anybody's guess.  I was at the back of the hall balancing two one year olds one on each knee (big knees obvs.).  I'm sure it was delightful, but I did not see.  Really though, aliens?  At Christmas?  What were the teachers thinking?

5. The one I can't remember nativity

So, bad mother of the year award here clearly, because I don't remember this one at all.  I didn't even have the excuse of not being there this time.  I watched the whole thing, start to finish.  I even remember where we sat in the hall.  I just can't remember the plot or what part DS2 played (occasionally I get flashbacks of something to do with the Caribbean but then I wonder if I'm confusing it with the alien one again, or perhaps I spent the whole play just having a really nice daydream about Johnny Depp, I'm not sure). In fairness, I was distracted with a pair of two year olds climbing all over me.  I wonder if DS2 will ever forgive me?

6. The last first nativity

Moving forward to this year.  My last first nativity as a mother.  The last time with Reception aged children.  I wanted to blub my eyes out all the way through, because, that's what you are supposed to do isn't it?  Especially when I have a 10% stake in the cast.  But you know what?  All I could think about was that at last I didn't have to sit through the whole thing with a pair of babies or toddlers on my knee.  It was bloody amazing, just sitting there and not pissing off any of the other nativity watchers.  To spite me, and burst my bubble somewhat, someone with a very vocal one year old positioned themselves next to my left ear for the entire performance, just so I didn't feel too left out.  Which was nice.

Look at my lovely empty knees...

My mum sobbed throughout the whole thing though ;)

7.  The final nativity 

Looking forward, what will my last nativity ever as a parent be like?  Will I cry?  Will I understand the plot?  (Please God, no more aliens)

I do know that I will be sad to see the back of the annual nativity play, for all its faults and the disasterous costumes and plot lines I've had to endure over the past few years, it's been fun.  An essential part of parenthood and a right of passage.

Every year I moan about going, but I'll let you into a little secret, I love it.  Really really love it.  There is no better way to start the festive season when you are a parent, is there?

With that I'd like to wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all my fellow nativity goers, past, present and future.  Be it aliens, traditional or Caribbean, whatever you watched this year I hope it was wonderful and made you proud.

If you've been reading my blog this year then thank you!  It really means such a lot to me, especially reading all your comments.  I'll be back some time after the Christmas break with more nonsense from inside my head.  See you soon!


  1. My daughter was an alien in a nativity play too but I thought it was clever as there are only so many ways to tell the story. We had a superb panto last year which was a bit different but this year the new headteacher had to be persuaded that a play was necessary as he thought it would interfere with the children's learning! I would have thought it helped with the RE curriculum for a start, without mentioning self-esteem, singing, acting skills, confidence etc. And besides, it's a primary school and they are supposed to have a bit of fun, especially since anything resembling Christmas craft was also seemed to be uneducational. How they pulled it off with very little rehearsal time, I don't know, but it was excellent.

    Have really enjoyed reading your blog by the way! Happy New Year.


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