Traditions across Europe-an eTwinning project

“Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, TRADITION and myth frame our response.” (Arthur Schlesinger Jr.)

Our preparations for Christmas December 20, 2008

Filed under: Christmas — philjohnson @ 3:07 pm

I want to tell you about our way to spent the last days before Christmas through a kind of diary about our preparations for this festivity in  this last week:


15-12- 2008

The children have made beautiful shiny (silver, gold) Christmas cards for their parents. I asked the children to think of THREE things to thank their parents for (not just material things but also those which cannot be bought with money – care, attention, love, etc.) and also ONE thing they would promise to do for their parents next year. (tidy their bedroom, look after a younger brother / sister or even a pet)


xmasc4Some of our Christmas cards


Then this afternoon we were invited to the local high school to see a performance of Dick Whitington. (a pantomime, where the audience are expected to join in and sing and shout things !) It is set in the middle ages and a young, poor boy travels to London to find work. He finds love with Alice but first he has to fight off some cruel people who are selfish and intending to rob the people Dick works for. The cast sang a song from High School Musical and they even mentioned me ! “That guy in the audience with the long hair !”

xmasc12A scene of a Pantomime we saw

When we returned to school, (and after the children had gone home) we had our first proper staff rehearsal of Cinderella. It is – yet again – a pantomime. The Prince cannot find a bride and so his mother and father, the King and Queen, organise a ball (large party) for him to meet – hopefully – a beautiful lady. It all turns out happily for him in the end, the rehearsals are very funny because we are all quite hopeless as actors and giggle too much ! The show takes place Thursday morning


16 – 12 – 2008

here’s today’s instalment of Christmas preparations :
a local church have sent cards for all the children,
the violin group (for Year 3 children – aged 7,8) are preparing for a concert for parents.
The choir over the next couple of days will be visiting an old persons’ (pensioners) retirement home across the road from the school. They will sing to the residents and also will be visiting a hospital about one mile from us (nearly two kilometres) from us and will sing to one of the wards there.
A second rehearsal takes place tonight (after school) for our staff who will perform ‘Cinderella’ on Thursday morning.


17 – 12 – 2008

today’s stuff :
the kids have brought in CD’s and they will decide the music for our dance party, yes I know it sounds like TOO much fun really but at least they’re keeping fit !
Their favourites seem to be :
High School Musical
Pussycat Dolls
Girls Aloud
 and we have a DVD showing party dance moves which they can copy from the screen, they are :
Cha Cha Slide
The Ketchup Song
It’s A Tragedy
Saturday Night
Achy Breaky Heart

Then we will finish the Nativity Story covering the Anunciation from Angel gabriel, the journey to Bethlehem, staying at the inn, the shepherds visited by the angel, fleeing Herod’s men.
Tonight is the final rehearsal of the Staff Band – yes there is a band !
1 piano, 1 keyboards, 3 flutes, 3 African drums and maybe 3 or 4 singers.


18 12-2008

I’ll just tell you about tomorrow our last day of the year at school.
We start with ‘Wake Up Shake Up’, this happens every day from 8:30 – 8:50, 20 minutes exercise to music for those pupils who choose to participate. Just after 9:00 the pantomime will start, it is very silly and supposed to be funny – the audience are encouraged to shout things at the actors. Then the staff “Band” will play 5 songs which the children will join in with.
Oh Little Drummer Boy
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
Jingle Bells
Rudolf The Red Nosed Reindeer
Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

Later my class will have a little party in the class with pop, crisps, biscuits, some chocolate, this would be the ONLY day they would be allowed sweet things to eat during school time , at the end of the day they might be shown a film (or part of a film) as a treat such as Scrooge, Home Alone, Christmas with the Muppets, in other words a film with a Christmas theme.
By the way, tonight our primary school choir sing with other local primary schools at the local trinity Church. (It is Church of England)

So, I hope I have given you a flavour of what we do at Christmas.


One of our song with our Christmas tree and our Christmas cards

Phil and Class 4 -Churchfields Primary School-Chesterton, Newcastle-under-Lyme -England – UK



3 Responses to “Our preparations for Christmas”

  1. Liliana Says:

    Wonderful idea, Phil! Well done! We really enjoyed reading your diary entries for these days.
    My pupils and I would also be interested in your traditional meals and Christmas carols. Also they asked about your folk costumes; they usually wear theirs for special occasions here, especially in the countryside. What about you, do you still wear them?
    All the best!
    Liliana&the kids

  2. philjohnson Says:

    hiya Liliana,
    (thanks to Gina for placing my info. on the Traditions website)
    folk costumes ? This does not really happen in UK schools, which is sad considering our long history, but no !
    Meals : virtually every UK family on Christmas Day will have turkey (a little bit like Americans on their thansgiving day) although recently people have been more adventurous and try duck or goose. They will have usual vegetables : potatoes, parsnips, peas, carrots but with a few extra ones – such as brussel sprouts – which they might not really have at other times of the year. 1 or 2 extras such as cranberry sauce will be included on the table (again, possibly copying off American thanksgiving ?) Christmas pudding or Christmas cake will be taken after the meal, this contains a lot of fruit, raisins, and also alcohol , perhaps brandy, red wine some people even use rum.
    Songs ?
    These range from the traditional hymns , hundreds of years old, to much more recent popular music where rock or soul singers have put together their own version of a trad. song or even made their own up. Here are a few examples (you can find them easily on youtube) They play them at parties and in shops , but when you’ve heard them HUNDREDS of times they are considered by many to be a little annoying !
    Santa Claus Is Coming to Town – Bruce Springsteen
    All I Want for Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
    Fairytale of New York – The Pogues and Kirsty MacColl
    Driving Home for Christmas -Chris Rea
    Snow Is Falling – Shakin’ Stevens
    Step Into Christmas – Elton John
    So Here It Is Merry Christmas (Everybody’s having fun) – Slade
    I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day – Roy Wood’s Wizzard

  3. ivasil Says:

    It sounds like you had a lot of fun (and some serious work, too!) preparing and doing all that! I sort of envy you. I enjoyed reading your diary very much. Merry Christmas!

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