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5 COMMENTS
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The Worst Christmas School Production in the World

When I was in fifth grade there was a fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth wide mandatory holiday program. This program counted towards our "fine arts" grade. We had "fine arts", but I still wasn't sure what is was.

I never understood why the school grouped the junior high grades with the lowly fifth graders. The grades from sixth to eighth decided to stay at the elementary school, but the fifth graders had to be there. It was a very strange grouping.
The school had two fifth grade classes, two sixth grade classes, and two seventh and eighth grade (combined) classes. 

They tried to skirt around religious topics by having us depict how Christmas was celebrated all over the world. (They seemed to mostly focus on Europe.) Being a geography nerd as a kid, I should have been all over this, but I wasnt. Maybe I had a sense of what was to come.

For some reason my class got 3 countries; Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden. All the other classes only had one country. The teacher let us break into groups ourselves and did not assign them. I wanted to be in the Germany group because Im part German, and my friends were in that group. The group of people that made up the Sweden group was all boys. 


I really wanted to be one the narrators. All they had to do was describe what the people were doing in the skit. They got to wear regular clothes. I wasnt picked for that role. One of the narrators the teacher picked had a thick accent. I was involuntary put in the Sweden group because they needed a girl. I think they needed a tall girl. I was the tallest student in my class. 


We made wooden clog props out of paper for the Netherlands skit about Sinterklaas. We had to make a flag for each country.  We also made signs with the name of the country and a picture of a child a boy and a girl depicting the countrys traditional dress.

Our class performed three skits, one for each country, and then sang
The Little Drummer Boy. Im not sure why we also sang. That song really had nothing to do with the skits we performed.


The other fifth grade class got France, and they were really smug about it. All they had to do was sing a Christmas carol in French. They didnt have to wear any complicated costumes; maybe just a beret. Some of them were also calling berets barrettes. They were saying we pronounced it wrong. 

Another grade and class had England. All they had to do was perform a skit about wassailing and sing a song. The bilingual class had Mexico, which was pretty easy for them since the class spoke Spanish and English. They did a skit about piñatas. I forget what countries the other classes had. I think they might have even combined classes to represent a country.  

 

At the end of the program all the classes sang Its Christmas (All over the World) the New Edition version. I wasnt very familiar with that song, but I liked it. I think that was the name of our production too. Im not sure where they got the idea from. Possibly The Simpsons? The song we were singing?

 

My teacher wrote out class skits on the fly. I remember her writing the skit about the origin of the Christmas tree during a rehearsal. This should have been no surprise when she helped write the mandatory spring production on the fly too, but that is another story for another time.


The acting wasnt too hard. I was the star of the skit! I didnt have to talk. All I had to do was mime things while the narrators described what we were doing in the skit. All I had to do was walk out with an empty tray and sit on the floor with the boys. Simple. 

The costume was problematic. I had to wear a wreath on my head!  I had to wear white sweats, and I thought I had some that fit, but they didnt. By the time I noticed, I didnt have enough time to get another set. They didnt look that small. They were going to be covered up by the white bathrobe I was wearing anyway. The teacher was modeling it after American Girl Kirstens Saint Lucia's Gown. How do I know? I saw the doll catalog on the teachers desk. The headdress wreath was made out of paper.

 

On the night of the show, hardly anybody showed up! Less than half of our class was there. The boy who was starring in the Christmas tree skit didnt come, so his skit was cut. During the performance I think I might have overacted during the Sweden skit. Because there werent enough people, everybody who did show up had to do the jobs of the people who were missing. Our performance was written for about thirty people. Pretty much everybody had a job to do. We had to hold the signs and flags for the people who were no-shows.


After this debacle, I was never put in a mandatory holiday program again.

 

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SegaFanatic Posted on Nov 30, 2014 at 06:36 PM

I never really had any of these Christmas plays growing up, but perhaps I'm better off that way D:

pikachulover Posted on Nov 28, 2014 at 06:58 AM

I think there really could have been a Simpsons inspiration. This story happened in 1994. The boys had the star hats and I think they either had wands or fake candle props.

Hoju Koolander Posted on Nov 28, 2014 at 03:11 AM

We did a 4th of July concert of American folk songs once in 4th grade, but nothing on this scale, sounds fun. Good catch on the possible Simpsons inspiration. My son's babysitter has Swedish ancestry so they do all the traditional processions in those white robes and head wreaths at Christmas. Our son got to participate last year and they had him wearing a Sorcer's Apprentice hat with a star wand, did anybody in your group have that stuff?

pikachulover Posted on Nov 24, 2014 at 06:24 PM

The school I had gone to before that had a holiday program, but it was put on by the school choir which was an activity I didn't join. In junior high and high school the holiday shows were put on by the drama clubs. Actually I was involuntary roped into some other plays, but they were for other holidays.

Vaporman87 Posted on Nov 24, 2014 at 05:05 PM

I have only participated (at least that I can recall) in church Christmas plays. Even so, the problems are the same.

It often seems like everybody involved in preparing/orchestrating the plays are trying to do too much, and with too little help. This pretty much dooms the play. There are often technical issues, parts left unfilled, and all kinds of mistakes. BUT, nobody is expecting Shakespeare, so the problems are overlooked.

I have a problem with plays nowadays. They seem too much like a way to entertain adults by parading our kids out there, scared and nervous. Many of them are obviously (and visibly) not enjoying it. So what's the point?

I would just assume we have a straight cantata with singing and carols, and leave it at that. Unless the play is being acted by adults who are actually ENJOYING putting on the production.

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