Tales from a teacher: The Nativity Play.

Whatever your feelings about Christmas -stress, excitement , dread, happiness, festive -don’t you just love a school Nativity play?

It’s just that time in the school year as a parent, when you HAVE to be there. You can’t beat seeing your little child all dressed up in a homemade costume (or one from a high street supermarket!), singing their little hearts out or pulling funny faces. There is always that moment when something goes wrong that makes the whole performance worth you missing that important meeting for! So let me share with you some of the more notable moments in my 25 year Early years teaching career…..
Special Elf Trousers
Believe me, teachers take children to the loo before performances because you just know that there will be a toilet epidemic when one child mentions the toilet, especially when they are in tights! Tights and doing a stand up wee DO NOT WORK! One notable performance when all the Reception aged boys were dressed as elves, springs to mind. Firstly, some boys of 4 and 5 do not want to wear tights (I’m ignoring all gender equality comments at this point!) so we had to call them, ‘special elf trousers’, and as they were red tights we thought we would get away with it…..
When all the boys were changed, one child needed the toilet. “Ok, let’s go to the toilet but it may be tricky with your tights so let me help you.” Oh….🤦🏼‍♀️
My TA (teachers assistant) looks at me and says’ “You mean the special elf trousers….”
Well, one boy twigs. “You mean, I am wearing tights, like girls?” 😳 All the girls start to giggle.
“No, no, no! I’ve told you they are special elf trousers!”
Cue annoyingly late mum -“Sorry I’m late! I’ve brought in Ollie’s tights…..” 🤫
Well we had very, very grumpy elves in tights that year all standing with arms crossed refusing to join in! 🤣
It’s an Angel!
In one school I worked in, the priest would come to the Nativity play to watch. Afterwards, he would address the audience and say a little speech about how amazing the children were and what an important message they were sharing at Christmas time. That year, I had a tough Reception class; 30 of them with 22 of them being very boisterous and loud boys.
The kings were bringing their gifts when suddenly Kevin shouts out, “That man goes to my church!” at the top of his voice in the middle of the quiet, stable scene when the baby Jesus was being brought in.
Mary (a year 2 girl and Kevin’s sister)  turns around and shouts back, “Of course he does Kevin, you bugger, that’s Father Priest (name not included!)” and then calmly lays Jesus in the manager. Their mum slowly sank down in her chair…..
I’m trying to get To Kevin when another Reception boy who I don’t think had ever taken notice of Father Priest or maybe didn’t recognise him in his white robe shouts, “No! That’s a real angel!”
Cue gasps from the rest of my class. Could it be a real angel? 🤔
Father Priest just stood up in his white robes and bowed! I think Kevin’s mum started the applause!
Best moment ever!

But that’s MY baby!
Every year in schools there is always a kind child that will bring in their dolly from home to be baby Jesus. The doll is lovingly wrapped in cloth and it is that child’s responsibility to remember to bring the doll to school for rehearsals. Now obviously the child loves their doll and can get a little possessive with it but usually with lots of praise, will allow Mary to carry the doll and have it on the stage.
I just knew that I should not have asked Beth to provide her doll!
During the singing of Away in a Manger, the doll is proudly brought in by Joseph and given to Mary. I smile at Beth and give her the thumbs up but she looks very upset. Oh no! I can see what’s coming but hope Beth can pull through. She starts to squirm and I can see her getting up from her seat but I’m at the other end of the row and I can’t reach her. She goes straight to the Manger, grabs her doll and walks back to her seat.
Of course, Mary gets up and goes to take it back and a fight starts! They are pulling at this doll when it’s head comes rolling off and rolls off the stage!
Beth shouts, “That’s my baby!”
Mary says, “It’s Jesus so it’s mine!”
Joseph stands there and shrugs.
The audience are crying with laughter which makes things so much worse because Joseph is a very sensitive chap and he thinks they are laughing AT him. He also hates noise and has his ear defenders on to help him so he can’t hear me. He starts to get a bit anxious. His TA has spotted it too. Will we be able to calm everyone down? Will Joseph have a melt down?
Do you know? This is one of my most proudest moments for Joseph. He calmly went and retrieved the baby and gave the head to Mary, wrapping it back in a shawl. The body he gave to Beth. No words were needed. And the play resumed. Even though Joseph had many needs, he was the kindest boy and he got the biggest clap at the end. His TA and I both had a tear in our eyes.
I have more stories but those are my favourite three. I hope you enjoyed them!
Do you have any funny Nativity stories?

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  • I love the story with the little boy who sorted the baby problem! He reminds me so much of my son! When he was younger if children cried or were fighting over anything he would sort it out like that, often giving up his own toy to give to one of them as a way of sorting it. Im sure my son did it half because he was kind and half because he was trying to stop the noise!

  • So funny! Loved the elf trousers story, reminded me of when me and my other half went to a Christmas fancy dress party dressed as elves. It was hard enough getting him to put on some face paint, let alone suggest him wearing tights!

  • Was the little Joseph called Solomon in real life? Adorable. As is the image of all those grumpy elves and the little girl calling her classmate a bugger. Perfectly perfect and has lifted my mood along with the glorious sunshine streaming in through my portes-fenêtres.

    • Oh I’m sooo glad Osyth! He wasn’t but perhaps he reminded you of someone?? xx

      • Just that bible story where Solomon is faced with two women claiming a baby is theres. So he orders the infant cut in half …. one woman screams ‘noooooo’ whilst the other coolly says ‘go ahead’ and he thus knows which is the real mother. I love that story and your little ‘Joseph’ reminded me of it …. wise child xx

        • Of course!! I now know what you mean! Thank you….yes, it is rather like that! xx

  • What lovely memories…oh those school productions…I cry every time and love every minute. 🙂

    • I still love them, even though I’m the teacher!

  • Oh those stories have made my day. You can’t beat a good Nativity disaster can you? My favourite has to be the Father Priest story. Thanks so much for making me smile today #coolmumclub x

    • Glad you liked them Lisa! I love a good Nativity! x

  • That all sounds like an absolute blast! I don’t even think schools around here do the nativity play anymore. I have vague recollections of being in one when I was a young boy.

  • Hi Sophie, Thanks for sharing your Nativity play memories. All three are just gorgeous. I can just imagine the tights – oops, I mean special elf trousers – episode. Hilarious, but maybe not so at the time. The story of Joseph and his wisdom is lovely. It is so reassuring to hear stories of children showing so much understanding, empathy and compassion. They really can if they see it modelled and are allowed to express their feelings. Love it!

    • Ah thank you so much Norah! Lovely lady. 😊

  • Oh my goodness, I love this story. Joesph is amazing, well done Joseph. When Oldest had her first nativity she was a star and was put at the back because she is very tall. She was not happy and halfway through the nativity shouted “I AM A STAR AND I SHOULD NOT BE AT THE BACK” I was mortified #FridayFrolics

  • I love these. My eldest was once a chicken snd was very disfruntled that he had no lines. After his two minute dance he turned to find me in the audience and shouted “that’s it Mummy. That’s all I do” before stomping off the stange in a huff! Thanks for linking up to #FridayFrolics

    • hahaha! Awesome! one memory to last forever. xx

  • I love that the priest jumped up to take a bow, probably relieved the tension of the mothers in the crowd! #AnythingGoes

  • Thank you for sharing these amusing tales. It’s lovely that you have written about your ta too. I think support staff often get over looked. #coolmumclub

  • Loved this post. It’s so nice to hear what goes on ‘behind the scenes’ so to speak! Amelie just did her second nativity play and had lines. We were all so excited, but the poor thing got stage fright! I wanted to go and scoop her up, she looked terrified! Thanks for linking this up to #thursdayteam

    • Ah bless her! Yes those moments are not so good! X

  • Aww – I used to help with the Nativities and other plays in my mum’s school. I loved it but, yes, little kids are hilarious and chaotic at these things! Thanks so much for joining us for #FridayFrolics

  • Lovely post! So funny! I’m a teacher but in secondary so I miss all the fun! Thanks for linking up #bloggerpinparty

  • I’m crying tears of laughter right now as I can totally picture each and every scene. Little Jospeh sounds amazing 😍
    Thank you for joining #FamilyFunLinky x

  • Last year BB projectile vomited on the donkey – it’s funny now but wasn’t at the time! It’s funny reading a teacher’s point of view as my post this week is about why I’m not cut out to be Mary’s mum! #familyfunlinky

  • Ha ha – love these stories! i love a good nativity… it’s the eldest’s this week and we’re all v excited. i was so relieved when he was a narrator – no costume issues – YES! #thechristmaslinky

    • Haha yes but……..,lots of lines to learn! Have fun. Xxxx

  • Oh these really made my day! And what a kind Joseph. Respect to you teachers for going through the nativitys each and every year! #BloggerPinParty

  • Nativities are the best – how funny! I went to one and the innkeeper let Mary and Joseph in – defeated the point really! #bloggerpinparty

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