Tidbits - the written word

Snowy December

Flossie in the snow
Some of us like it!

December has arrived and with it has come the snow. Winter has hit us early this year it seems.

As we hurtle towards another Christmas I find I am once again excited with a brand new little member of the family to buy for. Yet it barely seems five minutes since my own children were small and I was traipsing off to the round of nativity plays and pantomimes in which they each starred.

Oh those were indeed the days. I recall sitting almost doubled up with mirth as baby Jesus was lobbed into the audience from Mary’s lap during a particularly enthusiastic rendition of  ‘Away in a Manger’. In the same scene a disorientated Mary tumbled from her perch in a cloud of blue chiffon and King Herod’s Guards yawned and resorted to doing unmentionable things to their noses while their mothers hissed at them from the wings.

I have seen Angels run off in tears and baby Jesus literally lose his head only to have it kicked into touch by a helpful shepherd.

I have witnessed my middle daughter dressed as the most reluctant shepherd you have ever seen because there were no more spaces for angels. (She so wanted to be an angel.)

The Reluctant Shepherd
but I wanted to be an angel...

I have been overcome with motherly pride as my youngest daughter led the singing of “We will Rock You” with gusto, nudging those children next to her with her elbows when she thought they weren’t performing and making their wire halos wobble in a most alarming fashion.

I’ve coaxed my eldest son into wearing red tights so that he can play Herod’s page and cajoled the youngest into staying awake long enough to carry the letter ‘C’ onto the stage where the class of two and three year olds were spelling out ‘Christmas’. He did this with all the aplomb a two year old can muster before putting his thumb in his mouth, sliding beneath the Christmas tree and falling asleep. (I think he was coming down with something!)

My eldest daughter once led the narration for her nativity play. The school had had the innovative idea of producing a play that had no script. As my daughter narrated, the actors ad-libbed their parts. This was working very well considering the age of the actors which averaged four and a half years.

The story reached the part where the Three Wise Men reach the stable. My daughter confidently narrated:

“The Three Wise Men arrived at the stable and knelt down to give Baby Jesus their gifts,”

On cue, the three wise men dropped to their knees and threw their gifts into the manger. It was evident that they were then to stand and talk amongst themselves for a bit. The ensuing silence was broken only by the sound of an over enthusiastic Shepherd making a premature entrance and being shooed off stage by helpful cast members.

As we waited expectantly, the bravest of the three wise men took the show in hand, piping up in a small gruff voice,

 “Well, it was worf comin’ all this way then were’n it?”

His ad-lib stole the show.

That’s a little how I feel as we approach the festive season and I look back on those long gone days and forward to Christmases that are to come.

It has definitely been worth coming all this way!

I am an Author, wife to one, mother to five and grandmother to six. I live in the English countryside in Hampshire, UK, with my husband and two dogs and am a non exec Director for Glow www.theglowstudio.com.


  • Andrea Carlisle

    Oh this was so, so funny, Deborah! I’d have given anything to there for any of these moments. I’m so happy there are more to come for you. You document them so well. The shepherd’s quote is priceless!
    Let it snow!

  • Patricia

    Love how you got your blog snowing today! I wish I knew how to do those things – I think it makes it fun.

    We attend a rather alternative church and the parents, now most in their 60s, did not want their children’s heads and hearts filled with mythologies that did not allow for them to think and figure things out. We had a winter celebration, along with the schools which could no longer do religious events.

    What became most important for my children was reading Robinson’s THE BEST CHRISTMAS PAGEANT ever. We still read this aloud at home and then go for Dances of Universal Peace at midnight.

    I love the remembering the pageant days, although my sister was Mary 3 years in a row, my brother a wise man and I just sang in the choir – no highlights. Right after the service we would drive the 6 hours to Canada and attend Christmas Services at one of my uncle’s churches.

    The house is full of music still, and a tree, good food from summer ( black berry pie) and then everyone goes cross country skiing – they love the snow. We play games and really connect.

    Not so many pageant stories, no gifts in shiny paper, but lots of communication and connection.

    Thank you for sharing your story, it connects me with my own childhood. Oh my there is the sunshine breaking through the fog! Wonder if we will have snow?
    Lovely writing – a joy to read

  • Hilary

    Hi Deborah .. we’ve certainly had our fair share of snow – not sure where you are .. I’m in Eastbourne .. but to have a snowing blog – that doesn’t stack up is pretty good!! Pretty too . the blue is just right.

    Love the stories of times gone by .. and the little ones – not having any I’ve joined in with many others over the years .. proudly watching parents burst with delight!!

    Enjoy the build up .. happy days … Hilary

    • Deborah Barker

      Hi Hilary – We are near neighbours – I am in a village about 30 minutes from Winchester, just outside Bishops Waltham. Glad you enjoyed the stories – I hope my ‘children’ will enjoy them too.
      Good to hear you didn’t miss out on the traditional Christmas events – nothing quite like sitting on a tiny plastic chair with an aching back, in a crowded hall, trying to spot a child you know is looking out for you – especially important for a reluctant shepherd!

      Happy days indeed! 🙂 Debbie

  • Hilary

    Hi Debbie .. I’m not sure I’d call Winchester nearby! but not that far I agree .. ah but you’re further south towards Fareham .. now that bit I know – years of going up and down to Cornwall!

    As you say in cold/warm hall .. cramped up with tiny little ones more keen to spot their parents & nears and dears in the audience .. I love the little chaps comment – such fun .. ‘worf it’ .. brilliant!!

    Cheers – & happy days as you say .. Hilary

  • Deb

    This was so sweet. It made me think of my favorite Christmas book, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. If you haven’t read it, you need to do yourself that favor. It will make you feel even more in the mood. It’s lovely to see Flossie, too. Toby loves the snow.

  • Nari

    Some very heart-warming memories, Deb 🙂 I haven’t seen a Nativity play for absolutely years. I remember being an angel once, and all I had to do was stand there for the entirety of the play with my arms out. My arms ached but I got told off for putting them down. Ah the good old days.

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