Putting on a Christmas Show

 

By Jeffrey Moran[1]

Special music by Brent Moran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PRODUCTION NOTES:

 

This Christmas play was written for production at relatively small churches (of course, large churches are encouraged to produce this play, also) and the assumption is that the show will occur in the church sanctuary. It is intended to be as flexible as possible. For example, since the story (for the most part) revolves around a church Christmas play production, it is OK for performers to carry their scripts around; thus, the number of actual rehearsals could be as few as three. The older youth who have speaking parts can be boys or girls (or all of one or the other), the angel choir and the adult choir can rehearse separately from the older youth (except for the last scene: the grand finale that involves everyone). More than 5 older youth can participate if there are youth who do not want a speaking role, or if more youth want to participate, they could replace adults as the Director, Choir Director, and Piano Player. The list of “stuff” the youth are getting for Christmas can be filled in/modified by the youth themselves according to the year or local interests (i.e., different things are popular every year: prior to Christmas 2006, I recall getting hundreds of emails advertising Tickle Me Elmo, Microcopters, and imitation Rolex watches, but a different set of items were being pushed for Christmas 2007). The songs the angel choir and adult choir sing can be done pretty much as if it were the final rehearsal (although they should be polished some since it is the actual show) and can be whatever the choir director chooses to do. The adults named in this script are the ones who actually participated in the premier production; any set of adult names can be used.

 

The final song creates the nativity, and the older youth, angel chorus, and perhaps adults will have to play “roles” in that nativity: Mary/Joseph/Jesus, innkeeper, angels, shepherds, and wise people (animals in the stable if there are enough folks available).

 

 

 

 

 

Putting on a Christmas Show

 

 

Cast:

            5 older youth: Cameron, Kelly, Morgan, Riley, Taylor (can be either boys or girls)

            Director

            Adult choir director

            Children’s choir director

            Piano player

            Adult choir (at least 4 people, one for each of the SATB parts of the songs)

            Angel choir (ages 3 to 10)

            Pastor of the church

 

Setting: The sanctuary of the church.

 

Special items:

·  Large box, with lettering that says “For the Millers”, in which to collect “donations”

·  “Gifts” for the older youth to exchange with each other

· Whatever is needed for the nativity which is created during the finale (e.g., a manger, star, gifts from the wisemen)

 

 

Scene 1:

 

Group of older youth enter back of church sanctuary and begin their dialogue as they move to the front of the sanctuary.

 

CAMERON:  Hey, Kelly. What’s happening?

 

KELLY:  Hey, Cameron. I just gave my Christmas want list to my parents so they can do some shopping while we have rehearsal.

 

MORGAN:  So what are you getting?

 

KELLY:  Well, I asked for an Iphone, some clothes, games for my Play Station, a Wii . . . *

 

MORGAN:  Yeah, but what are you getting?

 

KELLY:  Oh, I guess I’ll get pretty much everything I asked for.

 

RILEY:  Wow, I think all I’m getting is a digital camera, some new shoes, chocolates, Play Station.

 

TAYLOR:  That sounds like an awful lot to me.

 

MORGAN:  Me, too. All I’m getting is . . . a . . . CAR!!!!  Other youths scream with joy, and cry “No way! Yes way! Cool! Mega cool! etc.

 

CAMERON:  So, what are you getting for Christmas, Taylor?

 

TAYLOR:  Not much. All I need is a few clothes.

 

RILEY:  Need? What’s that got to do with getting Christmas presents?

 

TAYLOR:  Well, Riley, you know, we have kind of a small house. And, well, I really don’t want to just accumulate a bunch of stuff, you know. I don’t like a lot of clutter. Silence for a long moment while the other kids give each other puzzled looks. Finally:

 

CAMERON:  Uh, that’s like, uh, kind of weird.

 

MORGAN:  Uh, yeah, stuff’s what it’s all about, you know.

 

RILEY:  Come on, guys. Taylor will get over it as Christmas gets closer.

 

TAYLOR:  I don’t know . . .

 

Show Director, Choir Director, and Piano Player enter at back of church sanctuary and proceed to front of the sanctuary.

 

PIANO PLAYER:  Puts music on piano.  I’ll leave the music here. We’ll go see about the costumes while you rehearse the readings for the show.

 

CHOIR DIRECTOR:  Puts music folder on music stand.  Just yell when you’re ready to practice the songs. Choir Director and Piano Player exit to wherever the costumes are.

 

DIRECTOR: OK, kids. Time to get started. This year’s show will be a traditional reading of the Christmas story from Luke with a few songs tossed in for good measure. Everyone know which passages from Luke they’re reading?

 

ALL KIDS saying different things at the same time:

            CAMERON:    Yeah, yeah . . .

            KELLY:           Sure . . .

            MORGAN:      Duh . . .

            RILEY:            We got them . . .

            TAYLOR:        I’ve got mine . . .

 

DIRECTOR: And what do I always tell you about reading your parts for these shows?

 

ALL KIDS mimicking director: Louder. Slower.

 

DIRECTOR: Goes to back of sanctuary during this speech. OK. Now, I’m going to the back of the sanctuary, and if I can’t hear you or understand you, what am I going to say?

 

ALL KIDS:  Louder. Slower.

 

DIRECTOR:  I can’t hear you.

 

ALL KIDS:   LOUDER.  SLOWWWWERRRRRRR!

 

DIRECTOR:  Good!  OK, first reading.

 

CAMERON: Starts to Read Luke 1: 26 – 33, mumbling.

 

DIRECTOR:  Interrupting. Louder. Slower.

 

CAMERON:  Repeats reading.

 

DIRECTOR: OK, that’s better. Second reader.

 

KELLY: Reads Luke 1: 34 – 38, mumbling .

 

DIRECTOR:    The old ladies on the back row won’t be able to hear you.

 

KELLY: Repeats reading.

 

DIRECTOR:    OK. Who’s next?

 

MORGAN:      Me.

 

DIRECTOR:    Wait a minute. Let me just get this out of the way up front:  louder, slower.

 

MORGAN:      Reads Luke 1: 39 - 45 .

 

DIRECTOR:    Aha! Good job!  OK, next reader.

 

RILEY:            Reads Luke 1: 46 – 50.

 

DIRECTOR:    Great! I didn’t even have to yell at you! Next.

 

TAYLOR:        Reads Luke 1: 51-55 .

 

DIRECTOR:    Louder. Slower.

 

TAYLOR:        Repeats reading .

 

DIRECTOR:    Louder! Slower! Taylor seems frustrated and upset. No, wait a minute. It’s OK, Taylor. Let’s go on to the song. Shouting. Beth, Amanda! We’re ready to practice music.

 

CHOIR DIRECTOR, PIANO PLAYER from wherever they are: We’re coming. Just a sec. They enter and go to their places.

 

DIRECTOR:    We’ll work more on these readings next Saturday morning during the dress rehearsal. Everyone’s voice should be warmed up, so we’ll just jump right on into “Joy to the World” as soon as Beth is ready.  Piano player warms up for a few seconds.

 

CHOIR DIRECTOR:   OK, kids, on the steps here. You’ve all sung “Joy to the World”, so this shouldn’t be too difficult. But part way through the song, the men in the adult choir start singing “O Holy Night”, so it gets a little different there. Let’s just sing the melody with the piano ‘til we get that right. Then we’ll do it with accompaniment. Give us the note.

 

ALL KIDS:  Sing “Joy to the World” (see special music)

 

CHOIR DIRECTOR:   No, no, no. Use your ears. Listen to the notes. Listen to the rhythm. Again.

 

ALL KIDS:  Sing “Joy to the World”

 

CHOIR DIRECTOR:   Measure 8. Listen to the piano. Piano plays a few bars.

 

DIRECTOR:    And you need to be louder. A lot louder. Like you’re yelling at your brother or sister. Louder. And on the right notes would help a lot.  Taylor starts crying quietly. What? What are . . . ? Are you crying? Taylor nods and sobs. Why are you crying? There’s no crying in Christmas!! Just sing louder. And on the right notes. ALL KIDS start crying.  What?  OK, OK, OK. Maybe we’ve done enough for today. KIDS stop crying. Look, just practice reading the Bible passages during the week and we’ll get all the details worked out next Saturday morning during the dress rehearsal. Remember, the show is next Saturday evening, so next Saturday morning is the last time we get to go through it before the show. Oh, and don’t forget, we’ll do our secret pal gift exchange sometime during the dress rehearsal, so bring whatever it is you want to give your secret pal. And wrap whatever you bring in newspaper so they all look the same. Just put your secret pal’s name on the package. I will collect them all as you come in for rehearsal. And remember: a hundred dollar limit on what you buy. KIDS: Wow! Really! Cool! Mega cool!  Just kidding. You know what sarcasm is? ALL KIDS: Nooooooo . . .

 

KIDS get their coats and leave with some more talk about how much stuff they are getting for Christmas, with Taylor admonishing them about wanting so much stuff. Get cell phones out to call parents.

 

MORGAN:  Well, that didn’t take too long.

 

KELLY:  I just hope my parents had time to buy everything on my Christmas list.

 

RILEY:  Me, too. Of course, my list wasn’t quite as long as yours.

 

MORGAN:  Mine, either. But I’m just getting one thing . . . a CAR!!!!!

 

TAYLOR:  You guys really don’t need all that stuff.

 

CAMERON:  I don’t get why you’re always talking about “need” at Christmas time.

 

DIRECTOR:  as ADULTS exit Well, I think that went pretty well . . .

 

 

 

After a few seconds, someone walks across the “stage area” with a sign that says “The Next Saturday Morning”.

 

Scene 2:  Dress rehearsal the next Saturday morning.

 

The adult choir, Angel choir, older youth, show director, choir director, and piano player enter with activity as would be normal for arrival at a choir/show practice. Everyone takes off their coats and puts them on the front pew.

 

CHOIR DIRECTOR: We need to get started. Why don’t you older youth go get into your costumes. Older youth exit to wherever the costumes are. Where’s Rita?

 

ART:  There, she’s coming now.

 

RITA:   Sorry I’m late. There was a fire about two o’clock this morning. The Miller’s place burned almost completely. I went over there to see if I could help.

 

PATTY:  Did they save anything?

 

RITA:   No. They lost pretty near everything. Just got out with a few clothes and stuff they could carry before it went up in flames. It’s going to be a bad Christmas for that family, especially the three kids.

 

ART:  Man, this is the worst time of year for something like that to happen.

 

LUELLA:  Hey, you know we could put a box out to collect some things for the family tonight at the Christmas program. That might help them out some.

 

RITA:  That’s a good idea.

 

ART:  There’s a big box in the back.

 

GARY:  I’ll get it.

 

BARBARA:  We can go over there after practice, you know, take some food and stuff.

 

RITA:  I’ve probably got some extra clothes that would fit Mary.

 

ART:  I’m about the same size as Joe. I’ll see what I have. GARY returns with box and is finishing the lettering: FOR THE MILLERS.

 

PATTY:  Set it here in the front where everyone can see it. We can get the calling tree started and let everyone know to bring something. There should be a good crowd tonight.

 

CHOIR DIRECTOR:   Well, let’s quickly go through the special song we’re singing tonight and then we can all go over there and see if there’s anything we can do to help.

 

ADULT CHOIR sings a special Christmas song.

 

CHOIR DIRECTOR:   Thanks, everybody. Good job. Barbara, go ahead and rehearse with the “angel choir”.

 

ADULTS leave, except for a couple of adults who work with the Angel Choir. Children’s choir director talks to Angel Choir like it is a “real” choir practice. ANGEL CHOIR rehearses “Away in a Manger” or “The Friendly Beasts” or some other appropriate Christmas song.

 

CHILDREN’S CHOIR DIRECTOR:   Good job, kids. Do it just like that tonight during the show and all your parents will be so proud. See you tonight. To Director: I’m going over to the Miller’s to see if there is anything I can do. I’ll see you later.

 

After ANGELS have “practiced”, they exit with the adults who are helping them to go get into their “angel costumes” and the older youth return in costumes (Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wise men, etc.) Taylor is listening to a CD player (or iPOD or MP3 player).

 

DIRCTOR:  OK, I’ll try to get over there later, too. To older youth: Now, let’s finish practicing the reading of the Christmas story from Luke. The show is tonight, so this is the last time through everything. Let’s start where we left off last time. Who’s doing the next reading? TAYLOR raises hand. And how are we doing it?

 

ALL KIDS:  Louder. Slower.

 

TAYLOR:  Reads Luke 2: 1 - 7.

 

CAMERON: Reads Luke 2: 8 - 14.

 

KELLY:  Reads Luke 2: 15 - 20.

 

MORGAN:  Reads Matthew 2: 1 - 6.

 

RILEY:  Reads Matthew 2: 7 - 12.

 

DIRECTOR:  Excellent! Great job! Let’s take a 5 minute break before we practice the grand finale. Why don’t you do your gift exchange while I go get the manger and check on some other stuff. Here’s the box of gifts for your secret pals.

 

KIDS exchange gifts with some screams of joy and TAYLOR shouts “My favorite!” When all is quiet again:

 

TAYLOR:  Say, you know, guys. I heard my mom talking about the Miller family. Their house burned down last night. They have 3 kids that won’t be having much of a Christmas now. Maria is in some of my classes at school.

 

CAMERON:  So?

 

KELLY:  What can we do?

 

TAYLOR:  Well, I was thinking about how much stuff we all already have, and well . . .

 

MORGAN:   Well, what?

 

TAYLOR:  Well, I was thinking, if it’s OK with whoever gave me this great CD, I would just put it in this box for the Miller family so Maria will have something for Christmas.

 

RILEY:   But you said it was your favorite.

 

TAYLOR:  I know. And it is. But what is Christmas all about anyway: what you get, or what you give?

 

CAMERON:  You know, Taylor . . . you’re right.

 

KELLY:  I know. Let’s put everything in the box!

 

ALL KIDS:  Yeah, good idea, let’s do it, OK, etc. Director returns with the manger for the nativity and sees what the kids are doing. Taylor even puts the CD player in the box.

 

TAYLOR:  They need something to play the CD with.

 

Then Morgan puts his/her coat in the box.

 

CAMERON:  What’s that for?

 

MORGAN:  Well, the Bible says that if you have two coats and your brother has none, you should give him one of your coats.

 

KELLY:  Hey, all of us probably have two coats. Puts his/hers in also, as does one of the other kids. Taylor hesitates.

 

RILEY:  What’s the matter?

 

TAYLOR:  Well, I really only have one coat. Pause. But I do have an extra pair of gloves. Puts them in the box.

 

RILEY:  Hey, so do I! Puts gloves in box. And I got this new backpack for my birthday a couple of weeks ago. Dumps contents of backpack on front pew.

 

MORGAN:  A birthday in December? Man, that’s the worst.

 

RILEY:  Yeah. Well, anyway, my old backpack is just fine for me. Puts new backpack in box. Then after looking at the stuff on the pew for a moment (which is mostly pens, pencils, calculator, notebooks, and other school supplies), shrugs shoulders and puts most of that in the box, too.

 

CAMERON:  Say, you know, this has been a lot of fun!

 

DIRECTOR:  What’s going on?

 

RILEY:  Oh, we’re just practicing the true spirit of Christmas.

 

DIRECTOR:  You know what? You kids are the best. Director starts to cry.

 

ALL KIDS: together   Hey, coach! Remember: there’s no crying in Christmas!

 

DIRECTOR: laughing  I think you kids are going to be all right. Group hug, high fives, bumps, pounds, etc. What do you say we put on a show tonight?

 

 

 

Scene 3:  Saturday evening – the actual Christmas program.

 

There are a few moments of hustling about as the adult and angel choirs, the older youth, directors, and piano player finish setting up the stage and take their places. Some of the adults may need to be in costume depending on who is needed to play parts in the nativity. Some adults from the audience can bring things and put them in the “For the Millers” box.

 

Pastor of the church comes forward and welcomes the audience in whatever manner he/she would ordinarily welcome folks to the annual Christmas pageant. The pastor mentions the Miller family and their needs at this time.  

 

Then the musical introduction begins, following which the Nativity is created during this song:

 

 

 

 

 

The Nativity Song

 

Around dark they pulled into Bethlehem, feeling ‘bout half dead.

Said to the innkeeper there, “Where we can lay our weary heads?

My wife, here, as you can see, is about to give birth,

And heavenly angels told Mary that her baby’s gonna save the earth.”

 

The innkeeper, he said, “Sir, that’s an interesting tale.

But you can see we haven’t got any rooms for sale.

So, I’m afraid you’ll have to leave, just ease on down the road.

Sure wish I could help you with your burden. It must be such a heavy load.”

 

“Please, my man, you can see she can’t last another day.

Gotta have a bed, gotta have it now. Come on, whatta you say?

We’ll sleep here, we’ll sleep there, we’ll sleep ‘bout anywhere.

We’re so tired I think we could even sleep upon a cold hard chair.”

 

The innkeeper scratched his head and said, “If that be the case,

I guess you could stay in the stable, if you can make a place.

Just shoo the animals away and make a bed of hay.

Hope you’re not disturbed when horses and donkeys move about or neigh and bray.”

 

So Mary and Joseph went on down to the stable for the night.

They could see what they were doing because a star made a powerful light.

They cleaned up a spot in a cattle stall and lay down for a rest.

And later on when the baby was born, they knew that they were truly blessed.

 

For a heavenly host surrounded them singing “Allelu, Alleluia.

Glory be to God and Peace be unto you. Glory to God. Glory to God”

And then from the fields nearby, some lowly shepherds called

Paying tribute to the baby born in a humble stable stall.

 

And later still a visit paid by wise men from afar.

Who had traveled many days and nights following that star.

Bringing gifts of myrrh, frankincense, and gold, singing “Allelu, Alleluia.”

Now at Christmas time all these stories are retold. Allelu, Alleluia.

 

Segue into:

            Joy to the World/O Holy Night (see special music)

 

 

Pastor gives benediction or whatever “end-of-show” is normal for the church.

 

 

 



[1] Copyright © 2007 by Jeffrey Moran, all rights reserved.

* The “gifts” used in this play are the ones the youth at Millersburg Christian Church described for Christmas 2007. The Director should update gifts by getting their church youth to generate a list appropriate for their year/location.