Surely every household has that proverbial drawer full of tea towels? You open it and before your eyes, there they are; plain, patterned, and all carefully folded in a nice neat little flat pile or two, smoothly serene, and blissfully unaware that Christmas 2020 could be their year in the family home.
But it’s true. It really could be. The time to raid the family tea towel drawer has never become so urgent, with the sorry but unsurprising news that perhaps half of schools in England alone are cancelling nativity plays due to Covid-19. The tea towel may be about to have its long-awaited moment of home glory.
Because, sad though it is that children, teachers, parents, grandparents, family and friends may well miss out on the inimitable traditional nativity, celebrated in the school hall, local church or community centre, all is not lost! The household tea towel drawer can rise to the occasion, and allow all those family members, who’ve ever wanted to don the occupants of its drawer, to do so – with a home-grown family production of a traditional school musical!
Just think of all the family bonding in the production process – and, rather more seriously, the joy you will give to absent loved ones on Christmas day through a recording or live-streaming of your very own nativity play. And you really don’t need to be family Von Trapp to succeed!
Tempted? Need convincing? Fancy having a go? Here are a few ideas to help you on your way.
Firstly, choose a musical that appeals. Here I can really only speak for Grumpy Sheep Music nativities, of which there are lots to choose from. Entwined with the traditional Christmas story, your nativity could encompass the wit of hopeless camels with no sense of direction, stroppy angels who need taking down a peg or two, or over-excitable snowmen with atendency to explode. If preferable, a simple traditional nativity play could be your production, too.
Then the exciting bit, the family fun (or free for all!) of choosing your character(s) to be in the now chosen nativity play. Draw lots, discuss democratically, even, around the tea towel drawer or kitchen table. This could be the chance of a lifetime to have the part you’ve always wished for – but which has never come your way; perhaps you’ve always had a burning desire to take the part of a sheep, or an angel, an innkeeper or a kitchen tea towel donning shepherd? Go for it! And don’t forget to choose your narrator(s). Who’s going to read the (very engaging) story? Mum, dad or older children? Wearing a tea towel of course!
Now with all those decisions made, get that CD out which accompanies the nativity, or play the download of all the (very catchy!) songs. You are about to pick them up very easily, I promise! Play the songs around the house; the whole family will absorb them in no time at all. And then, after a while, comes the great moment everyone has been waiting for – when you can safely be released to sing al fresco against backing tracks only. Drum roll, please!
Next, if you so desire, it’s time to check out those costumes. You don’t have to dress up, of course. Your home-grown nativity will be equally appealing performed in jeans. But if you do dip into the dressing-up box, get creative – and enjoy the fun. (Please note, if you don’t, dress up, those tea towels just can’t be let down. Remember, this is their Christmas. Just think of their disappointment. Someone in the family absolutely has to be adorned with one.)
And finally, you’ve reached that most fulfilling point in time, when your family nativity is as polished as you want it to be. It’s time for lights, camera, action – and tea towels of course! All you have to do now, is gather together all family members – dressed up or otherwise attired – press that record button on your phone or camera, and go! This can be done in advance of Christmas or live-streamed on Christmas day itself, or at any time over the Christmas period. Read, sing, and dance if you will. But most importantly of all, share your home-grown family nativity with all those you love and who sadly can’t be with you this Christmas. Your personal family production, however simple or professional, will give so much joy over Christmas time to grandparents, friends or family members. Your family will have had laughter and fun along the way (and quite possibly a few other emotions too!) and will have created memories, never to be forgotten. True bonding.
And then there’s the tea towels. We can’t forget the tea towels. This is their year, after all!