With Christmas approaching we share the excitement felt by the adults and children at St Ebenezer’s School (song – Going Crackers). However, it soon becomes clear that someone isn’t happy. Headteacher, Mr Humbug, hates Christmas at school because it gets in the way of doing ‘proper’ work, wastes time and costs money! And so he bans it (song – Christmas Is Banned), much to the distress of everyone, in particular Miss Palette the Art teacher, the school cooks, and a little girl who wants to do nothing more than offer him the season’s best wishes! Whilst pouring over paperwork at his desk that evening he is visited by the ghost of his old deputy headteacher, Miss Penny Pincher, who met a sticky end whilst telling children off for having fun (song – Old Miss Pincher)! She warns him that if he doesn’t change his ways and embrace the true spirit of a school Christmas, he will, like her, spend eternity suffering. She warns him that three more spirits will be visiting him to really ‘ram this message home’.
Dismissing this weird encounter as the result of a dodgy school lunch, Mr Humbug returns to his paperwork, only to be scared witless by the arrival in his office of the Spirit of School-Christmas-Past. The two take a journey back to Mr Humbug’s own school days, when Christmas was celebrated in style. We see children filled with festive mirth, and enjoying the prospect of roast turkey, the infant nativity, making hats and decorating the classroom (song – This Time Of Year). Any warm feelings this brought back to Mr Humbug soon disappear as he returns to his desk in his cold office.
Next up is the rather ‘jolly’ Spirit of School-Christmas-Present, who shows the headteacher just how miserable the children and adults at St Ebenezer’s really are, now that Christmas has been banned. It’s wet playtime and the children discuss how to smuggle out Christmas cards from school, while in the staffroom everyone considers resigning (song – We’ve Had A Belly-full). Mr Humbug is shocked at the bad feelings towards him, and we see signs that maybe changes are afoot.
The sinister Spirit of School-Christmas-Yet-To-Come finally arrives and transports Mr Humbug to a time where teachers are on the scrap heap, and their classrooms are now run by robots. They enslave children at computers for fifteen hours a day, and any child who steps out of line is taken to the ‘lab’! Art, PE and Music are no more, and Christmas is very much a thing of the past. Mr Humbug is horrified to discover that this terrible situation is all his fault (song – Why Did Everything Go So Horribly Wrong). We are told that he had become an MP, and soon after Prime Minister! He had introduced harsh measures that resulted in the sad state of affairs we now witness. He begs the spirit to change this future, but is told that any changes must begin with him.
Mr Humbug wakes next morning at his desk, just in time for assembly. He is a new man. Having seen the error of his ways he addresses the school in an unusually pleasant tone. He expresses sorrow and apologises for his behaviour, then stuns everyone by declaring that no expense will be spared, and this will be the best Christmas St Ebenezer’s has ever seen! (song – He’s Seen The Light)