Christmas Traditions: Our Annual Christmas Play
Our Annual Christmas Play!
When I grew up, I thought I had the coolest family ever. We were even cooler when Christmas was approaching. I am the youngest of nine kids. What I looked forward to, as much as Santa, was our annual Christmas play. I guess with that many kids, you can put on a play!
I am the youngest and therefore have some foggy memories of the earlier plays that our family put on. But, I do recall these things were official. Scripts were typed on typewriters. Each of us got a copy. We highlighted and memorized our lines. We were professionals of course!
Costumes were made. The basement was transformed into our set. The older girls hung cords along the ceiling and multiple sheets were hung. Some plays involved many scene changes and 2 stages were set. Props were built. Lighting was arranged. Rehearsals followed by dress rehearsals were scheduled and performed.
I used to bring my script to school and study if I was done with my work early. I recall my friends being excited to see the script, too! I remember being an elf one year and wearing elf shoes with bells. I had to quickly and quietly get down stairs for dress rehearsal. In my mind, my parents were unaware of the subject or details of each year’s performance. Our plays were top secret.
Each Christmas Eve, we would attend mass as a family. Back then we probably one took up 1 pew. Now we take up 3!
We were so anxious for Santa and so nervous for the play. When we arrived back at the house, the glow of the Christmas lights off the gold wrapping paper Santa used was magical. Some years we would open gifts first and then the play. Other years, we did the play and then gifts. It didn’t matter. We were so excited for both!
Chairs were lined up in the basement. My parents, grandma and any other family not in the play were in the audience. It was show time!
A few memories from some of our most famous performances...
The Smurfs Christmas
Smurfs were all the rage. We were dressed in blue faces and white hats. We had Jokey, Brainey, Smurfette, Papa, Gargamel, and I was Grouchy! My lines were simple. I ‘hated’ this or ‘hated’ that using Grouchy’s coin phrase. I remember I had the last line of the play. “I love Christmas!” The crowd erupts!
Year Without A Santa Claus
The Year Without A Santa
This is still one of my all-time favorite Christmas specials. I love, love, love Heat Miser and Cold Miser! I played Iggy. Iggy was the young boy, Ignatius, who was helping Santa in Southtown. I had a short hair phase in my life. Perhaps that is why I was Iggy? I loved the singing number when my sisters played the Miser Brothers. Even more, I loved that my sister, playing Mother Nature, wore a lampshade on her head.
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
I have to say, I was very young for this play. I remember doing the play but have few memories of the details.
Not sure why, but I think that Seymor S. Sassafras narrated our play. Pretty sure he was from Peter Cottontail though! Seymor drove a blue Mercedes 450SL in honor of my Father’s dream car (the car, not the color). It was made of cardboard box painted baby blue. My sister rode on my Winnie the Pooh sit on toy to ‘drive’ the car. It even had a Mercedes emblem made of foil on the front of the car
The Muppets were always a favorite. I remember watching this show as a family. I enjoy Muppet humor. I have always been a huge frog fan, especially, Kermit THE Frog.
I played Animal. Again, I must have been young so my lines were simple. What I remember most about this play was as a group brainstorming how to make Kermit’s eyes. Someone had the genius idea of cutting a ping pong ball in half, cut slits and tie them together like goggles. What we didn’t understand is that ping pong balls are filled with gas. That is why they can be hit so hard and not crack or break easily. When my sister wore them, they burned her eyes. We laughed so hard because our fool proof idea turned out to be ridiculous and painful!
The Mayers Family
This was a family who was almost exactly like us. We basically wrote a play about our family, but we did not play ourselves. I played my sister, number 5 of 9, who has red hair and my name was Red. The same sister sister played me. She got to always complain about her skirt being too tight for church, being cold or falling asleep at the dinner table…just like me! My favorite memory about this play involved my Grandma. She lived with us at the time and got her hair ‘whitened’ when she had her hair done. You could always tell when Grandma returned from the salon as her hair had an unnatural shade of blue. In one scene, the Mayer family was enjoying our Thursday ritual, Mac n Cheese and Hotdogs. My sister entered the scene as my grandma wearing a blue shower cap. One of us ask asked ‘Grandma’, “Did you have your hair done today?” She asks, touching the side of her blue shower cap, “Why yes! How can you tell?”
The room erupts again!
I have not started this tradition with my kids. My kids are 7,7,5,5, and 2. I am pretty sure the script creation, costumes and set would be all on me.
My kids are pretty creative. I am curious if they will come up with some memorable traditions themselves. Maybe my Mom told my older sisters to start writing plays. Somehow the idea emerged and creativity set it in motion.
I almost laughed out loud trying to remember these plays. Oh to have videos of these! I can only imagine how amateur these performances actually were. Regardless, they are a highlight of my childhood.
When I think of my childhood Christmas, they always involved 3 things: Church, Santa and a Play. We started Christmas Eve in the spirit intended and then finished with the spirit of family fun and tradition.
Amazing Christmas memories.