Tuesday 14 December 2010

Countdown to Christmas Day 14: Two sides of Christmas

Over the course of 24 hours I've experienced two very different sides to Christmas. The first was yesterday when I went to see my son in his nursery nativity with my parents. This was my first experience of a nativity at this age level as the children's old nursery didn't put on a show at Christmas.

There was an eager sense of anticipation as the audience of parents and grandparents perched on mini chairs and tables or sensibly stood at the back of the room! Then as the curtains were pulled open by the class teacher there were plenty of oohs and aahs from the audience and "hello mummy" etc. from the class. The teacher apologised in advance for the fact that as the cast were only 3 and 4 years old we should expect them not to be perfect!

hard to see the children for grown ups!

She then explained that the children had written the story themselves (they have been learning about the Christmas story in class). This became highly evident with some twists on the traditional story they lived in Thailand with rooftop swimming pools, the journey to Bethlehem included unicorns, jungles and cheetahs (my son's contribution!). 

Throughout the show the donkey decided he didn't really have a big enough part so went for major audience interaction I'm a donkey was his opening sally. He then proceeded to tell us all we could clap after every song! In fact several of the cast had unexpected forays into the audience to have a reassuring cuddle from a family member or called out at the wrong moment.

It was a very sweet performance with plenty of prompting from the staff, lots of stage fright and the ubiquitous angel picking her nose (just as I'd zoomed the video in on my son in front of her!). The volume of singing varied depending on how well the children knew the songs so the loudest were Jingle Bells and We Wish You a Merry Christmas.

The children (and staff) were rewarded with a very much deserved round of applause from the audience at the end. I am amazed at how well they all did despite their age. They are all so sweet and innocent that it made for a ideal nativity even though they weren't perfect. It really makes it feel like Christmas.

Today by contrast I headed off to Toys R Us to complete my Christmas shopping. I haven't set foot in one of their stores for over 10 years so I was almost overwhelmed when I went inside. The range of toys and games on display was pretty spectacular and it was hard to know where to start. This is the place that stocks all the toys those adverts on TV from October onwards are tempting our children with. 

It is definitely the commercial side of Christmas and I would not want to take my children in there as they would be forever saying Can I have this Mummy or Mummy please. Luckily there are toys to suit all budgets including my own so I was able to get presents from my 2 children and my nephew with the Love2Shop vouchers I'd saved up for.

There were plenty of people in there that were stretching their credit cards with large purchases as there an awful lot of tempting items. Gone are the days when my soon to be ex-husband used to spend £100 on each of his older three children each Christmas! My children were lucky that the Playmobil was partly at half price so they are getting more than expected. I was good and stuck to only using the vouchers I had on me but I'm sure some parents went over what they had intended to spend.

I have to say that the Monday afternoon part of my Christmas experience felt a lot more Christmassy than the Tuesday morning. Hopefully I'm teaching my children what Christmas is about - celebrating the birth of Jesus - and not about getting as many presents as possible.

Hop over to Cafe Bebe for more lovely Christmas posts.

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