Friday, December 19, 2008

Canvas for Christmas: Day 5

Well, it looks like we are going to have more than enough snow here for Santa to land his sleigh... they are predicting "thunder snow" that could leave us with 13 inches of snow overnight into Friday morning, with more storm fronts coming in through the weekend! Anyone in the South want to trade places? :)

On to the winner of yesterday's canvas...

Sharleen! She has a blog, ironically, named: Choose Joy! chose your entry:
For as long as I can remember my Mom's side of the family has always gotten together for Christmas. We actually just had our Christmas get-together this past Sunday.
There is my grandmother, who was widowed in 1968. My mom is one of 5 children. I am one of the 11 grandkids,and there are currently 9 great grandkids. As the years have gone on you can imagine how our numbers have grown. We used to do a gift exchange where we would pick names, but we no longer do that. A couple years ago we tried doing a "dirty Santa" gift exchange...I've heard it called other names as well. It's the one where you get to steal gifts from one another if you like the other person's gift better. Well that got a little ugly so we have not done it since. LOL
Right now it's just about getting together with one another and food of course. We have started a new tradition over the past few years where my mother makes a birthday cake and we sing "Happy Birthday" to Jesus. I know this tradition has really helped my 4 yr old son have a tangible impression of why we celebrate Christmas. Any time I ask him why we celebrate Christmas he confidently replies...."because it's Jesus' birthday!"
Congratulations!!! Email me at with your mailing address and I'll get your canvas sent to you!

Christmas Canvas Giveaway

Here's today's final canvas: IMG_3755

If I had to choose my absolute favorite part of our family Christmases, it would hands-down be our yearly Nativity play.

We have a beautiful baby Jesus that came from a church's nativity scene after it had closed. It used to sit in our curio cabinet, and was so pretty with the lights shining on it that it became awfully tempting to open the glass doors just to touch it every once in awhile. I remember walking into the room more than once to see one of the grandkids gently holding the precious treasure that was supposed to be left alone.

When my nieces and nephews were little, dad built a small manger to hold the baby Jesus... and while mom read the Christmas story from the bible the little ones would each have a role and act out the story. The first year, my oldest nephew Alex had the big job of carrying in the baby Jesus at the appropriate time and laying him in the manger filled with hay. As years went on and the role of carrying in Jesus went to the next in line according to age, the plays became a little more detailed.

Costumes were made and the acting sometimes became more dramatic, with little kings kneeling prostrate on the floor (with no prompting from the adults, mind you... maybe a few chuckles but no prompting). It became a very big deal and often during the year there would be mention of who was in charge of the baby Jesus that Christmas... a few even took it upon themselves to practice at home ahead of time.

The scrapbook page below is from 2002, and shows the kids opening gifts on the left and the nativity play on the right. It was Becca's turn to be an angel and carry in Jesus that year, and she was the cutest angel I'd ever seen. My favorite photo is of Alex being Joseph and Anna being Mary... notice he's holding her arm and gently helping her into Bethlehem. So cute.

[click to enlarge]scrap page 16

As time went on and the kids got older it was difficult to keep the older ones going... but they were good sports for awhile and stuck it out until all of the grandkids had their big moment of carrying Jesus in the procession. Instead of making costumes we eventually let the kids raid Grandma's closet and come up with their own outfit concoctions... which I have to say were actually much more festive than anything we ever did.

As you can see on the page below, Alex and Thomas look more like terrorists than kings with Grandma's scarves...

[click to enlarge]

A few of the younger ones took part last year, and it's hard to believe that soon there will be no one left still excited about the idea of the play... but all those years of their excitement and commitment to their roles will never diminish in my memories.

Answer this question in the comment section to win today's canvas: 
Do you have a favorite Christmas play/program memory?

I will have a special Saturday post this week to announce the winner for today's canvas giveaway, so be sure to check back in!


  1. When my daughter and son were 5 and 2, respectively, my daughter had the part of Mary in a Christmas pageant at the church where she attended pre-school. My husband and I took my son to the play. He was enthralled with the whole experience.

    At the point that Mary and Joseph entered the program, Scotty got so excited he yelled climbed up on my husband so he could see better and yelled at the top of his little lungs, "That's not Mary -- that's my sister, Chel Chel!" The audience burst into laughter and my daughter wanted to kill her little brother--and that wasn't the first or the last time she would experience that feeling. LOL

    I still chuckle when I think about it and I've attended many since. Very few go off flawlessly and amusing moments are some of the best parts of a children's program.

  2. I remember being in a Christmas program in first grade...I played Raggedy Ann, one of the toys...I was amazed that all the people were there to watch us. And everything seemed so BIG! Wow.

  3. First of all I have to the picture of the "terrorists" as kings.

    Now our extended family lets the children read the Christmas Story from the Bible AFTER they have helped set up the nativity. They each take their favorite pieces and help to tell the story. There have obviously been some very interesting and funny moments. We have never thought of dressing the kids up though. (wonder how my 16 year old son would feel about that??)

  4. The terrorist kings are the best!
    I love today's canvas! Great thought.
    Okay, I'm feeling a little ... ummm anti-American or non- Christian or something...I have nothing in the memory box in my head about Christmas programs...not with me. Not with my kids. Not with my pups! Nothing!
    I do love the ones on movies though! Like the one in The Preachers Wife! Feeling very lame, but there was no way I wasn't commenting...with the canvas up for grabs and all!
    ps...Picture this...
    Me. Jumping up and down. Hand in the air, waving like I just don't care! Screaming..."Me, Me! I'll trade places with you Gitz! The temp here right now is 65*!!! It's humid and feels nothing like I'll trade!"
    Love to you~

  5. Oh I really loved being the angel in my Christmas play years ago!!!

  6. I can't remember ever being a part of a Christmas play or program, but for the last three years our church has had a music-filled evening called "Winter's Eve" with the choir and amazing praise. It's one of my favorite times. The last three years have been profound. God choosing songs that so spoke to my heart. In 2006, it was about God's faithfulness in the journey we were on toward restoration in our family. In 2007, it was the last Christmas we would share with our beloved Poppie. Our family was restored and we were celebrating and my parents and hubby's parents were there and daughters were singing in part of the choir. It was awesome. This year what touched me most, was the joy of knowing God is so great and dancing in His presence. I love when the Spirit comes down and meets you and lifts you up on eagles wings. Praise God for the birth of His son, Jesus, to save us all and give us life and life abundantly!

    Thanks for doing these canvas give aways. It's been so fun to be a part of this. Love the one for this time, too.

    Merry Christmas Gitz!

  7. Oh my gosh, I was JUST talking about this to one of my coworkers a few minutes ago. We were talking about the fun things her kids are doing at school, and I said Christmas is such a fun time for kids and that I have so many memories, one of them being a play our charming small town school would put on every year.
    Ah, the memories! The school itself was built in the 1920's. My parents went to school there. This has nothing to do with the story, but it is a fun fact nonetheless. It was a 2 room school holding K-3rd grade kids. We would all walk a little ways down the road to the Town Hall, where we would practice the play and eventually perform it in front of our families. We would perform our little hearts out. We did the Nutcracker one year, and I remember I was a snowflake, complete with a large cutout snowflake worn on the front and back, all glittered and sparkly. Have you seen that Target commercial of the little school children doing a play? That is exactly what it was like. Singing, dancing, the whole bit.
    Gosh, I could go on and on about this, it really is one of my fondest memories.
    Thanks for letting me revisit this for the second time today Gitz!

  8. The only play that stands out in my mind was a Christmas luau that we had to do in 2nd grade. I don't remember much about it besides singing a hawaiian song and making leis out of red and green paper.
    (one would that that out of 13 years of Catholic education, I would have memories of a pagent involving the baby Jesus but no...I only remember a Christmas luau!!)
    Thanks so much for doing this Sara. I hope you have had as much fun reading our thoughts as we all have had in sharing them. I have been so excited each morning to log on to see your next creative work of art.

  9. I'm with everyone else, " the terrorist kings" thats a good one! And no, I'm not entering again, I thought of that last night after I commented yesterday.

    I love your scrapbook pages! They're beautifully done. What an important role to play in your family... chief documenter!

    Christmas 2002, Colton was asked to play baby Jesus and Rick and I were Mary and Joseph! Colton was an angel and played along perfectly. It was such an honor to be chosen and I treasure that memory.

  10. While in Jr High we always put on the Best Christmas Play play. It was so much fun to be on stage for that show and to also work behind the scenes. It was also the only play that my Dad saw me in...that makes it pretty special.

  11. Years ago when our children were young they made up most of the Children's Nativity at Church. They looked so very sweet.

    They have all been involved in chorus and orchestra, so there were many, many wonderful concerts.

    Christmas Music is my favorite. I listen to it round the clock starting on Thanksgiving Day.

  12. My sisters and I would love to put on plays for my parents. My oldest sister was always Mary and my youngest always played baby Jesus. As she got older she began to protest her part, so we started taking turns, and eventually the play turned into a concert. We had a lot of fun performing for our parents and friends.

  13. When I was a teenager, I went to Handel's Messiah for the first time. I was so taken by it and thought it was absolutely beautiful. I've loved it ever since and even if I don't get a chance to see it, I listen to the CD's. But there is nothing like it in person.

  14. When my son was young he decided he wanted some entertainment for Christmas but couldn't figure out how to get all of us "stick in the mud" adults to join in. We were too interested in dessert and coffee to stop for a show.

    Finally he came up with the idea to draw talents. Instead of drawing names, he put different talents on a piece of paper -- draw a picture, sing a song, write a poem... At Thanksgiving we were to draw our talent and then present it at the annual Christmas Peformance. It was spectacular!

    My dad is an artist, but he had to write a poem. My brother-in-law is an engineer but he had to draw a picture. It made for some delightful memories and some of the most creative presentations, for you see, we're all performers at heart and we could not imagine getting in front of each other without having our "talent" honed.

    It lasted about four years. Our motivator became a teenager and didn't really want to participate anymore. It's too bad no one else to the reins, but we still do laugh about it...LOTS!

  15. I remember my first Christmas program for school. We sang the classics - Away in a Manger and Jingle Bells. Then we went to sit with our classes until the program was over. Unfortunately, I was sick and did not feel good AT ALL! I kept asking to go sit with my mom, but my teacher wouldn't let me. Finally all the elementary classes were done singing and I could go home and collapse. Turns out I had strep throat :-)

    Ok .... so maybe that wasn't very cheery, but it's my most memorable for sure!

  16. Mine is actually my most memorable Christmas program memory but not necessarily my favorite. :) I was maybe 7 years old and was an angel for the Christmas Eve program at our old church. My white dress was made of flannel and I told my mom that it was itchy. She told me to stand still and not squirm. I was a good girl and stood there through the program, sang, etc. in my angel dress and wings..despite how much it itched. After the program was done I told my mom how itchy it was so when we got home she looked at my back and I had the chicken pox! My whole body had become covered in the course of a few hours! Now they knew why I was squirming and itching. :)

  17. When I was 3, I was Mary in our church Christmas program. The boy that played Joseph is still a friend and we tease about our time together! When I got married, his mother gave me a beautiful wooden carving of Mary and Joseph.

    I have to give a shout out to the movie the Best Christmas Pageant Ever. This is the best movie!

  18. Just stopping by to say hello and thanks... again for being such a good friend. It means so much Sara.


  19. Sara...what a great week and I wasn't going to enter till today-what was my favorite program/memory. I just needed to share this with you and your friends.

    Well, with the wars of today,(be it the war in Iraq-war of loneliness-war of poverty-war of abuse-war of illness) it brought back memories of when we as a family visited the Nativity Scene made by the prisoners of World War II, here in our hometown. This life-size scene made me realize that not everyone was/is together for Christmas, but as prisoners they made a Nativity Scene that not only touched their lives, but many now who travel from afar to see. With Silent Night playing softly in the background and the story of how lonely the prisoners and guards were...the true meaning of Christmas is what they/we hold in our hearts....the birth of Jesus.

    This Season let us all remember the men and women who can't be home for Christmas, that Christmas can be a peaceful time for them and for all of us who are fighting some type of hardship.

    Merry Christmas, Sara!
    Blessings, Ruth

  20. I love reading your family stories, your blog is going on the top of my list to read everyday.

    I can't contribute anything. I was never part of any Christmas, or other, program.

  21. When I was a little girl (preschool/early elementary age) I loved going by the church in our neighborhood that had an outdoor, live Nativity scene. It would be really cold and dark (felt late, but it probably was only around 6pm) and we'd have to park a couple of blocks away and walk to be able to see it.

    Thank you for this week of canvases. I appreciate your blog and am always glad when Monday rolls around again.

  22. I can not remember being in a Christmas play at all. But both my kids were at Catholic School every year. I loved the one play they did called WEE THREE KINGS. All the kids were animals, it was so sweet.

    Merry Christmas!

  23. My favorite Christmas programs were my children's 5th grade holiday band concerts. Fifth grade is the year for beginning band in our school district, so when you go to the holiday concert, the kids have only been playing their instruments for about 2 months. It's completely charming to see them all up on the stage, dressed in their concert best, squeaking and squawking away on their horns and clarinets, drummers barely able to keep the beat, while trying to give "Good King Wenceslas" their best. Then you attend their holiday concert just 4 years later and find they have evolved into real musicians. Never fails to touch me, even though I've been through it now 5 times.

  24. Now I just realized that my kids have never been in a Christmas production. They've been in oodles of plays and musicals, etc. but nothing Christmasy. So I don't have any memories to share. :(

  25. All is well tonight about some stars. VEry cute children's play our kids put on at church!! jamie