This week was James’ school nativity. This isn’t my first rodeo. I’ve watched all of James’ and Georgia’s too, and my word, they are shit.
Gone are the years of some Christmas Carols with the ‘Christmas Story’ intertwined within. There’s no longer a barebones cast of Mary, Joseph, an Inn Keeper, 3 Kings and some cattle. They have become an all-inclusive extravaganza, with a cast of the entire year group (or two!). Carols have been all but phased out, replaced by all new songs, and a ‘modern twist’ on the Christmas Story. I’ve seen Aliens, Strictly Come Dancing, and Health and Safety themed Christmas tales. No matter how it’s presented – let’s face it, it will still be dreadful.
Half the time the lines are impossible to hear or comprehend, and the rest of the time, they are screamed at the audience with far too much confidence. There’s a myriad of costumes, from the parents that have spent hours hunched over a sewing machine, others that have run down the costume aisle of Tesco, the rest have just let the school cobble something together. One of the kids will invariably cry, and no doubt you’ll have a parent in front of you filming the whole damn thing on their phone. Shuffling around, with their phone in the air, ensuring every millisecond of ‘Shepherd No. 7’ is committed to the Camera Roll.
You’ll have to wait for seemingly hours to hear your kids say their lines. Only to have it interrupted by some bellend parent who hasn’t bothered to set their phone on silent. Then it’s all over for another year.
Yes, school nativities are a bit shit – but I’m going to miss them.
James will be in Juniors before I know it, Georgia is nearly done with school. I won’t have any more children, so realistically I’m in my final years of nativity watching, and it’s a little depressing. I won’t have those extreme moments of pride as they deliver their lines (naturally they are MUCH better than anyone else’s kids). Soon, Christmases will pass by without the retelling of the Christmas Story, with added Aliens, or Craig Revel Horwood impressions. I won’t have to sit through other people’s kids, just to see my own shine. I won’t have to mime along to the inevitable chorus of ‘Away in a Manger’ (the only song that seems to have survived the cull).
I suppose the nativities will give way to other things, presentation evenings, school performances, graduations etc. All moments of extreme happiness and pride at my little folk smashing their way through something with brilliance.
However, I’m going to miss the weird, wonderful, and occasionally baffling ways Mary, Joseph and the little baby Jesus are crowbarred into increasingly modern situations. In a world where we’re losing traditions, I like that the humble nativity is still around. Nativities have always been a bit shit, even back in the day when I was a wearing a tea-towel on my head, strapped on with a dressing gown cord, crying and screaming because I wanted to be an angel with my big sister.
However, they are all moments that pass so quickly, and will soon be over. If you’ve got any coming up, enjoy them while they last, and think about the people behind when you’re filming.