Echoes of the past: Nativities mean Christmas is on its way!

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It’s always a busy time at school when a holiday is fast approaching. Teachers have so much work to get through before the end of the autumn term.

As far as the school children are concerned the Christmas school holiday is but a few days away and they cannot wait.

But for many young students there are still the school parties and the nativity plays to take place. Hmm, the nativity - now there is a potential problem waiting to happen.

The teachers always have the difficult task of allocating the parts out, which children should have the lead parts, which ones should have the ‘bit’ parts and which should, dare I say, be left out.

Difficult decisions have to be made. You cannot leave anyone out, you know. But you cannot have more than three kings, or can you? Well there were only the three wise men who came bearing gifts. Watch out for triplets in your class. If there are, then you can count yourself out from being a possible candidate as a king. Then there is Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus of course. Blonde haired children are tend to be favourites for those parts. Hmm, not many parts left now but Angel Gabriel - now there is one of the top parts but be prepared you have to learn some lines.

So as the big day gets nearer and costumes have to be made or more often bought, remember you will find plenty of cheap pot towels and some left over summer sandals at a pound shop.

But what do you do with all the children who do not get a part? Well, how many grazing sheep can we have? Then there are trees you can fill out with those and of course you could have a small herd of donkeys. Two children per donkey - that will whittle it down a bit.

I remember reading some months ago that a school in Birmingham had the problem that when all the parts and the creative parts had been allocated there were still a few children without parts. This needed serious thought. Hmm, we got the answer a teacher was reported to have said. And what did they do? The Bethlehem pizza man and his team of deliverymen - cracked it, now everyone got a part.

This group of children are at Castlefields School 23 years ago - it’s party time and judging by the smiles and face paints they are all having a good time.