How Christmas Came To Be
By Andrew Oxspring & Ian Faraday
Nativity/Christmas musical for the whole school (ages 6-11)
Running time approx: 60 minutes
Take a musical journey through the ages and discover how the Christmas we know and love came to be. With plenty of comedy moments and catchy songs in a variety of styles, we travel from Ancient Rome right up to the 21st century, meeting some weird, wonderful, familiar and not-so-familiar characters on our journey! As we learn about old customs and see how they have shaped our modern Christmas, we are reminded that one message has always been at its heart… a little goodwill goes a long, long way!
Informative and hugely entertaining, with scenes and songs that can be rehearsed independently by separate classes then brought together for performance, this musical is ideal for busy schools during a busy term!
The audience is warmly welcomed by our five hosts, each of them either a famous Christmas character, or someone from a period in history which had an influence on our modern-day Christmas. Through them, and the scenes and songs they introduce, we get a fascinating and thoroughly entertaining insight into how Christmas developed through the ages into the festival we know and love today. (song – A Time To Celebrate)
Firstly, we are taken back to ancient Rome during the festival of ‘Saturnalia’, when the winter solstice was celebrated in quite an unusual way. An old grandfather, Senilius, is bewildered by the bizarre antics of his family who enthusiastically embrace the festival’s practice of social-role reversal! This could explain why the household slave, Lavatoria, is wearing expensive clothes and is refusing to do as she’s told! (song – Saturnalia)
Next, we join the Norsemen of northern Europe during their festival of Yule. As Olaf prepares to light the Yule log and tap open his barrels of home-brewed ale, can he escape the advances of his wife, Astrid, who is stalking him round their homestead with a sprig of mistletoe? (song – Banish The Winter Blues)
We then learn how, once Christianity became widespread in the 4th century, the Festival of the Nativity was introduced and December 25th became the official date to celebrate the birth of Jesus. While the feasting, the giving of gifts and other customs carried on from the existing winter festivals, the reason for doing these things had now changed forever – Christmas had arrived! As a Nativity tableau is presented, the audience is entertained with a rousing bit of gospel music! (song – Hallelujah!)
After hearing how things developed through the middle ages and Tudor times, the mid-17th century is our next stop, as we encounter the Puritan ban on all things Christmassy! As three soldiers try to enforce this ban by confiscating food, drink and presents from festive revellers, not all goes according to plan and one lucky individual finds a way to keep the party going! (song – No More Christmas)
In so many ways the Victorian age saw Christmas becoming more like the festival we recognise today. In our next scene, as an excited Prince Albert brings home the first Christmas tree, Queen Victoria is definitely ‘not amused’ at having to sweep up pine needles from the palace floor! (song – The Victorians)
Our final destination is the North Pole, where we meet the biggest icon of our modern Christmas. After learning how the early persona of Santa Claus developed over the centuries, we meet him right in the middle of an image crisis! With some expert professional help, this crisis is averted and he settles on a look (and a catchphrase) that will forever capture the imagination of children everywhere! (song – Ho! Ho! Ho!)
And now, with Santa’s use of the internet allowing children to track his progress around the globe on Christmas Eve, our journey is brought bang up to date. As our hosts wish us well for the festive season, we are reminded that one message above any other should be kept at the heart of Christmas – goodwill to one and all! (song – Roll On Christmas Day)
37 Speaking parts in order of appearance For larger schools, extra speaking characters can be added to scenes and the existing lines shared out between them, or new lines created. For smaller schools, as most characters only appear in one scene, multiple parts (including ensemble characters) can be played by a single actor.
*Click on the Line count/Costumes tab for more details
Rudolph – a red-nosed reindeer
Gabriel – a well-known angel
Charles Dickens – a prominent Norsewoman
Erika Winterbörn – a pagan Norsewoman
Festivius Maximus – a Roman citizen
Celebrating the Roman festival of Saturnalia:
Senilius – a doddery grandfather
Tipsius – his merry son, husband to…
Violentia – a mother and part-time female gladiator
Bratius & Moodica – their son & daughter
Lavatoria – a slave
Celebrating the festival of Yule:
Olaf – a Norseman
Astrid – his mistletoe-carrying wife
3 Cows – aware of their impending doom
The nativity tableau:
A Wise Man
Suffering a Puritan Christmas:
Enjoying a Victorian Christmas:
3 Children – excited by his tree
Queen Victoria – ‘not amused’ by his tree
Making preparations at the North Pole:
Santa – having an image crisis
Mrs Santa – his supportive wife
Wok Ho – fashion advisor to the stars
Ensemble characters for featured songs and scenes
Poor and wealthy Romans
Norsemen and women
Traditional Nativity characters
Puritans and Revellers
A team of Reindeer
What do you get?
This musical production is available to buy in 3 different formats. When ordering, simply choose the option (details below) which best suits your requirements.
- Option 1 – Book & Audio CD.
A wire-bound book containing the full script with detailed stage directions, character information, tips and suggestions for costumes, props and scenery, and a piano score for all songs. An audio CD of all songs (backing tracks & vocal tracks) plus continuity/incidental music and sound effects where required.
- Option 2 – CD-ROM & Audio CD.
A CD-ROM containing both a PDF and an editable MS Word document of the full script, with detailed stage directions, character information, tips and suggestions for costumes, props and scenery, and a PDF of the piano score for all songs. An audio CD of all songs (backing tracks & vocal tracks) plus continuity/incidental music and sound effects where required. A shorter, simplified script is also included.
- Option 3 – Digital download.
All the PDF and MS Word files from Option 2 above, all audio tracks as MP3 files, plus JPEG files of cover artwork for use in making posters or other promotional material. Upon completion of your order, a link will be automatically sent to the email address you provided, from which all the files can be downloaded.
Any order containing a digital download option must be paid for online at the point of ordering. Any order containing a digital download which is not accompanied by payment will not be processed.
UK schools can order Book & Audio CD and CD-ROM & Audio CD options with an invoice to be paid within 30 days. Non-UK schools and private individuals (not ordering on behalf of a school) are required to pay for these at the point of ordering.