Nativity Plays & How to Survive and Enjoy Those Oh So Special Moments
Nativity season is upon us, scripts will be going out to the parents, to help us help our little children learn those all important, short and wonderful lines, but often some of us can get caught up in making it all too perfect and perfect at the infants stage is really not so perfect in my mind. It is the imperfections and little mistakes, the sniffing, fidgeting, forgetting lines,whispering to the child next to them, the ad libs and the random costumes that can really make it so memorable and if we can have a giggle and shed a little tear at the same time, thats perfect isn’t it?
We all love our children running out of the classroom, in full excitement during the festive season to tell us so proudly, that they are the sausage, Christmas present, sprout or the donkey in the school nativity! It is an exciting moment of casting, occasionally we might get the ‘ I am Mary Mummy!’, or ‘I am the Innkeeper’ but more often than not, we are told that our precious little ones are something obscure and then automatically we realize that we have to find a costume for that unusual part!
Of course sourcing and making a costume is easy for some, as they have that creative streak and some that I have known in the past were talented dress makers for real, so that ticks all the boxes. However, if you are like me, I don’t sew too well, I don’t use my sewing machine as I should, so I am looking for a quick cheap fix, as in using glue, Velcro, cut outs and ways to hold an outfit together without the aid of a sewing machine!
Don’t sweat, don’t beat yourself up, often the cutest outfits, are literally thrown together, half made, odd concoctions and of course the Donkey or the Broccoli part always gets the laugh and applause.
I was the letter ‘K’ once in a school play and I so wanted to be Alice! It has not traumatised me and my friend and I still giggle about it today.
I remember some years ago, in a particular school car park, trying to get my daughter Lily into the car, she was four at the time, it was her first Nativity at that school, and as I remember, they took it all very seriously. So, this Mummy, of a child in my daughters class, came running up to me, she was beside herself with excitement, she went on to tell me how her son had been given the part of the King in the Nativity, and how the outfit she had been given for him to wear was perfect for him and how he would look so gorgeous, and of course he was just perfect for the part! I smiled and nodded and listened to her politely, as you do, describing the outfit etc etc, just before she rushed off to another Mum in the car park to share her good news, she glanced back and asked me quite loudly what Lily was in the Nativity and I replied proudly ‘Shes an Egg!’ …
So, our children don’t always get the part they want, many don’t actually care, which is great, but often it does matter and they won’t always make that known to the teachers, but us Mums get all the upset, so here are my top tips on how to survive Nativity Plays and truly enjoy the moments, as they will be gone all too soon.
My Top Ten Tips:-
- Always love the part your child has been given and tell them that they can be the best Sprout that there has ever been – help them to enjoy their little part.
- Don’t get stressed over the costume, the funniest and most adorable costumes are those that are too big, cute, funny, pretty, or, put together in a random way etc – perfect is for professionals, not for an Infant Nativity. But make sure that even if the costume is ill fitting, that it stays on, as that can upset your gorgeous little actors debut performance.
- Don’t make the performance into a big deal, as this can make them a little nervous on the day, you don’t want them to feel under pressure, to perform perfectly at this age, as it really can be over whelming.
- Help them with the songs in the play if you can, as this can be a fun experience and to see their little faces and hear their tiny cartoon voices on mass, is often totally moving. If the opening scene has a song and they know it well, it sets them up confidently for the rest of the play.
- Don’t worry about sitting at the front – unless you want to get the best filming/photo opportunity, but do make sure that the school allows a good view for all and that you are permitted to video. I would look for a seat on the outside edge of the aisles, so that you can possibly stand up, film and not get in anyone’s way. If you are not allowed to film, do make sure the school is filming the play itself.
- Taking photos- make sure that you are not constantly clicking away, as this can be irritating and distracting, accept you will have orange and dark images at times, as flashes are mostly not permitted.
- Don’t get your child there too late – as this will only increase those children that are already anxious.
- Give them confidence – let them love the experience and help them to love the costume, if it is a comic costume, try to show them examples of how comedy and making people laugh is a very special thing indeed.
- Enjoy – Enjoy, relax, smile and enjoy the performance, it is a huge thing for the children and they want you to be so proud, don’t forget to and remember as much as you can as undoubtedly, your child will ask you if you noticed such and such!
- Allow your child to be themselves – this is just the beginning…
My daughter was actually The Angel too, but what I loved the most about this school nativity play was that there was some comedy in the script, some clever but random fun performances with those welcome, emotional, thought provoking moments.
I would love to hear your experiences and any tips that you have to pass on