What Happened to the Traditional Nativity?


[Shared by Mama Mummy Mum]

Christmas tree

Although the memories definitely aren’t as clear as they used to be, I will always remember my first Nativity play at school. I got the best part, oh yes, I was a mouse. I know what you’re thinking – it was a really important role. I even got to squeak as I scurried about with a tail pinned to the back of my trousers. It was the traditional story about Mary and Joseph and how baby Jesus came to be born. We sang songs like little donkey and it was a time for the parents to come and see their children in action.

Since having my own children, going to watch them perform in their own Nativity plays has been something I have really looked forward to. I come to think of it as a real part of our build up to Christmas. I was a proud mummy last year when Elise was picked to play the part of Mary.

However, as happy as I was to see my daughter up there acting her little heart, out I can’t help but come away feeling a little disappointed every year.

The focus doesn’t seem to be on the original story of the birth of Jesus. It is more about putting on a big show. Half the songs they sing these days I don’t even recognise, they are not the old ones we know and love, most are made up to the tunes of different nursery rhymes.

Gone are the days when every child seemed to get a meaningful role to play. Last year some of the children in my daughter’s school got to play rocks and trees – since when did these objects play a part in the Nativity?! Personally, if I was a mum to one of those kids I would have been really upset for them.

This year the primary school that my eldest two daughters attend isn’t even putting on a proper Nativity play, let alone a classic one. They are just doing some little bits during their school’s Christmas church service. We’ve been given a week and half’s notice to sort out a costume for our children. Freya is again breaking tradition slightly because she wants to be a shepherd and I’m not sure how many female shepherds there were way back then?

What do you think? Should Nativity plays move with the times or would it be better if they stuck with the conventional story?


[Photo credit: Shutterstock]

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Discussion1 Comment

  1. Personally, I really like alternative plays and giving children a chance to see and do something a bit different every year. I also don’t envy teachers having to try and think of ways to get every single child involved (if you think about, just how many mice are there in the traditional nativity? They were doing it even then!).

    I went to an all-girls school, so we all played male characters, and even among friends at mixed schools a girl was invariably chosen to play Gabriel, so I’m not troubled by the gender-swapping either. ūüôā

    After having been the third of the Magi (Balthazar, I think) twice, I’m happy for my daughter to be whatever as long as she’s involved. Though given I named her after Ramona Quimby, a sheep would be ideal…

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