The Not-so-nativity Play

jesus christ

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It’s traditional in many schools across the UK to perform their own rendition of the nativity play around Christmas time, but is it time to broaden our horizons when it comes to celebrating the ‘most wonderful time of the year’? In primary school during the winter seasons, the ultimate goal was to play Mary or Joseph in the nativity, and if you were picked to be one of the villagers you were a nobody. With this in mind, maybe it’s time to expand on the characters we play in the hopes that everyone has a special part to play. There are a vast range of Christmas ideas that can be replicated into a modernised nativity performance and you may not have to stray too far from the original story to find your new plotline. TeacherBoards Community have explored various alternatives to the traditional play to cater for schools that are looking to re-imagine their Christmas story.


It is said that around around two thirds of primary schools have begun to alter their Christmas nativities in a whole range of weird and wonderful ways. Due to the sheer impact of this change – it is interesting to find out why and it can be perceived as a step forward.

Spruce Up and Add Sparkle

You could say that although the nativity play is a traditional characteristic of a British Christmas, many parents loathe the day they have to sit and spend around 90 minutes watching the same performance annually. However, it may not be that the classic nativity is completely thrown out of the water, but is performed every couple of years or so to leave room for something more contemporary. This  leads to teachers and students being more imaginative and creative when it comes to scripting their annual winter performance. For the younger students it can teach them important life skills such as organisation, punctuality and can strengthen their ability to work together in groups. The older students, on the other hand, are able to express themselves in an environment that can be both professional and fun. It is said that as we grow older, our imaginations and creativity are dampened, it is essential that we let the younger generation pursue their wonderful and unique minds.

Alternatively, you could always create more roles within the story. This is so parents aren’t disappointed when all they can hear from their child is same incessant whaling of ‘silent night’ that has been coming from their child’s bedroom for the past few weeks. Drama and acting is good for young children and their social skills. By adding a few extra lines or subplots to the story it can help many pupils build their confidence and make them more motivated to be involved in such a co-dependant production.

Exploring Alternates

Another primary reason that many people think the nativity should be included in schools is that it helps express traditional British culture and teaches the values of Christianity. As Britain is renowned for its multicultural and diverse society, it is also important to explore other cultures and religion as a way of including every child and their families. Creating an alternate nativity performance based around the ideologies of diversity could be to re-enact what children in other countries might do as a traditional part of Christmas. For example; in France, children leave their shoes beside the fireplace so they can be filled with gifts. This type of content could be easily replicated as part of a school production and there are so many different countries, histories or cultures to explore. This picture found on Kidlutions shows a couple of examples of what the Christmas holidays are like across the world.

Christmas infographic exploring cultures for education
Source: Kidlutions

Random Acts of Kindness

The Christmas production rehearsals give teachers and support staff an opening to explore modern thinking and to teach morals and ethics that may stick with their students forever. With this in mind, it would be useful to explore acts of kindness and morality and the effects it can have on other, less fortunate people. You can create infinite characters for your school students to portray, meaning you have no boundaries to what the story will be about as long as you stick with Christmas theme.

To Be or Not to Be?

We can all appreciate that many innovative or modern changes that happen in schools can be for the greater good, we must also consider the memorable times many of us have encountered when being involved in the Christmas nativity. Many parents and partakers can argue that the nativity production has been worn out, but traditionalism of this magnitude is hard to follow. Although many people tend to complain about the classical nativity and all that it brings, you could argue that it is a love-hate scenario that is too challenging to replicate. We could never get rid of brussel sprouts either.

If you are considering sprucing up your showcase why not opt for alternative titles such as ‘Christmas across the World’ or ‘The Future of Christmas’. There are so many wonderful ways of expressing your love for Christmas and you can get more students involved when you begin to think outside the box. We’d love to know what you’re plans for the school show are this Christmas, why not tweet us by using @TeacherBoards followed by a fun photo or tagline.


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