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Should traditional nativity plays include pop songs and aliens?

The traditional school nativity play is under pressure to modernise the story and remove religious figures, according to users of a parenting website.

Parents on Netmums have given examples of characters such as spacemen, Elvis Presley and footballers being introduced to the nativity story.

There are also claims Christmas plays are being called “winter celebrations”.

They report how the story has been changed, so that rather than simply casting Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wise men and a donkey, there are parts for aliens, punk fairies, Elvis Presley, footballers, a lobster and a drunken spaceman.

Christmas carols have been replaced with Christmas-themed pop songs, report some of the parents.

“While the UK is a diverse and multicultural society and it’s right children learn about all religions and cultures, many parents feel the traditional nativity is being pushed aside.”

What do you think?

Should traditional nativity plays include pop songs and aliens?

659 people have already voted, what's your opinion? Yes No

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Robbinn
10th Dec 2014
3
Thanks for voting!
As mentioned in an earlier post, I was invited to my grand-daughter's Christmas Production today entitled 'It's a Cracker'. This was performed by ages 5, 6 and 7 and is so popular that it is being held on three afternoons with admittance by ticket only.

"This delightful musical brings together the traditional nativity story and a typical contemporary Christmas. As crackers are pulled around the dinner table, the heart of Christmas is also unwrapped"

Every child was able to take part in one guise or another and you could see from their faces, how much they enjoyed it. Everyone I spoke to loved the modern production which showed love and happiness around the dinner table at Christmastime with Grandma and Grandad showing what their early Christmases were like compared to the modern times.

The whole story was centered around the Christmas cracker which was invented in 1847 and which has become a familiar sight today.

A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.
Falkirkscottie
8th Dec 2014
3
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I don't understand the push behind taking all things Christian out of what is essentialy a Christian celebration. Ramadan, Yom Kippur and Diwali never cause an uproar in their "offensiveness" to Christians so why should those people of any faith or none object to the Christian Right to exercise their faith in what used to be a Christian country?
Whataboytjie
7th Dec 2014
3
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Christmas is for Christians or supporters of this faith, therefore it should not be watered down, by humanists or outsiders of this faith.
All of the other faiths and great religions of this world have their own festivities and celebrations, try interfering with these and you will have a war on your hands.

The ones who want to water down the Christian faith in all probability are the same ones who don't see the inside of a church, except for weddings and funerals, therefore have little to say in influencing a Christian activity such as Easter or Christmas.
Not being a devout Christian personally, I still have mega respect for Christianity, as well as the other great religions of this world. Even although they have all contributed to such huge loss of life, wars and sheer misery for many millions of people all over the globe.

Keep Christmas as it is, and teach the young children the intrinsic values and good parts of Christianity.
Robbinn
6th Dec 2014
4
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I have been invited (next Wednesday) to my 5yr old grand-daughter's first 'Christmas Production' at 'big' school; originally called their Nativity Play. This production is so popular that we need to have a ticket to attend. Out of interest and because of the different comments in this thread, I thought I would like to chat to the parents/grand-parents who attend to ask their views on this more modern version of a Christmas Play. I'll follow up after the play with my findings.
SovereignInventory
5th Dec 2014
3
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Unfortunately it is just a watering-down of traditional values. As we become more multi-cultural and move forward as a nation, the nativity may eventually disappear altogether. I am more bothered at the moment about the lack of a 'Merry Christmas' in the majority of shop windows, is this just so we do not upset a small minority of the population with regard to a Christian celebration or something more sinister?
JoyceCS
4th Dec 2014
4
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One of the best Nativities I saw was when the children re-enacted the rehearsal but with them as the teachers & the teachers the naughty pupils
It was so funny but kept to the true story
Baxi
5th Dec 2014
2
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That sound hilarious! great idea.
superbius
4th Dec 2014
3
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I really enjoyed my school nativity play, it was fun to be some 1 else.
Jo Kingham
4th Dec 2014
5
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No! The nativities are ruined because of the twists they put on them these days. The kids don't understand the real story anymore...I dont understand why they can't just leave it alone!
Falkirkscottie
8th Dec 2014
2
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Totally agree. If you are teaching the real meaning if Christmas why complicate it? There are enough myths around Christmas time traditions to amuse and entertain but let's keep the truth of the wonder of Christmas as it is told in the gospels .
2 chord babs
3rd Dec 2014
6
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It's either The Nativity or not.
Archiebald
4th Dec 2014
5
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Got to say I totally agree. When I was a kid (a long time ago!) it was very traditional...maybe some things should stay that way!
Stroppymare
3rd Dec 2014
4
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Tradition - ' long established, long standing'

How can a 'traditional' nativity play include aliens and pop songs? That is a contradiction.

If schools want to have Christmas plays with aliens, celebrities etc then make up a different story!
Baxi
5th Dec 2014
4
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I agree - do Star Wars or something - don't mess around with traditional stories. What would they do with the Brothers Grimm for goodness sake!
nickypsmith
3rd Dec 2014
1
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There is nothing wrong in putting a modern twist to this very old story. Having the yearly task of producing the programme at the infants school where I worked for over 20 years, I looked forward to the different and imaginative ways the audience were entertained, including 'stars' dancing to Abba tracks, 'kangaroos' bouncing across the stage, and the odd spaceman floating in from stage right. Firstly you have to find a way to include a large number of pupils, (there can only be one Joseph and Mary and you can't have 60 shepherds) and then you have to keep those young children interested. A quirky song or character does that but doesn't need to detract from the essential nativity story, which is still being portrayed.
Falkirkscottie
8th Dec 2014
2
Thanks for voting!
I work with pre school and primary children every year and do a traditional nativity play. The shepherds never tire of running around in their haste to get to bethlehem , I've had " cool wise men" who sang about being " the guys with the camels" innkeepers as many as you please, stable animals as many as you please, stars,travellers, a tyrant Herod and every time keeping to the traditional story line. I bring it up to date by using the modern song rhythms but keeping the lyrics close to the traditional story. There are plenty available, it just takes a bit more effort. It depends if your aim is to portray the nativity or to entertain. Choose wisely and then be true to your decision
susikins61
3rd Dec 2014
4
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Whilst i may not be a practicing Christian myself i do believe in the Navity play in Primary Schools especially and intoducing fantasy ideas like aliens is ridiculous and an insult to practicng Christians everywhere and confusing for the children. Keep it simple as it was.
kathieh46
3rd Dec 2014
6
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I am a Christian and the nativity story is very special for me. Take Christ of of Christmas and there is nothing. I love everything about Christmas, the celebrations and family getting together. However I never forget the reason for the season.
jeanniearl
3rd Dec 2014
6
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Just who are these 'netmums'? Will they be re-writing the stories in the bible then? So it's more up to date! Perhaps re-write the Roman history, to bring that up to date as well. Why would you want to put an obese drug addict into the nativity story? I am just so confused! Children love dinosaurs, let's put a few of them in the story as well. This is just too silly for words. It's about the 'birth' of Jesus, son of God. I may not go to church, but I am a Christian. Stop messing about with Christianity.
Baxi
5th Dec 2014
2
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I agree Jeannie - Maybe they could include Noddy and Big Ears next 😉 Seriously though, it's bad enough that so many historical films are cavalier about the true facts of history. Introducing children to this attitude is going to make a nonsense about teaching history. I've heard that many Americans really believe the Steven Spielberg version of events in films!
Wilf
3rd Dec 2014
3
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I totally agree with you as well Jeannie
wiffler
3rd Dec 2014
2
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I am completely in agreement with you, Jeannie. I attended a 'modern' version last year, it was dreadful. I don,t profess to be a Christian but this is what Christmas is about and I think rewriting the story is a dreadful insult to practising Christians everywhere.
Rob60
7th Dec 2014
1
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I find this really sad. I hope you didn't let any of the young actors know how dreadful you found the play they put on for you.

If a Christian has any conviction in their faith why should a group of young actors adapting one of their stories offend them. It shouldn't bother them what others think, only what they believe - surely that's faith?!

If religions don't, or are unwilling to, appeal (through adaptation) to the Zeitgeist, they will be forgotten all together by future generations.
wiffler
8th Dec 2014
2
Thanks for voting!
No Rob, I most certainly did not let the young actors know what I thought, their mothers either, I love them too much to do that. These young actors did not adapt the story, their teacher did. Of course they were not bothered, it's all an adventure for them, fun.
Ian6227
3rd Dec 2014
4
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P C brigade ruining a wonderful tradition.
banjo
2nd Dec 2014
2
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As this was here long before pop songs i am of the opinion that they should not be used.
Wilf
2nd Dec 2014
5
Thanks for voting!
I think in a world that is changing fast the message of Christmas and traditions like the Nativity play should stay the same. Children love it and its a big part of Christmas for them. Why would you want to change it and especially to bring different characters into it like aliens? Strikes me as total madness!
sevy
2nd Dec 2014
5
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The clue is surely in the words traditional and nativity
Peter
2nd Dec 2014
3
Thanks for voting!
I'm all for shaking it up a bit and keeping it interesting. When my children where that age the infants produced a traditional nativity play which was great but when they moved to primary school they had to shake it up a bit - mainly to keep them interested and to give everyone a chance to get on stage.

The plays delivered good positive messages and the kids had a ball dancing and singing for the parents in a wide variety of ridiculous character outfits. Much more fun than the same old boring nativity!! There are only so many shepherds you can fit on stage!

Bring on the aliens!
wiffler
8th Dec 2014
-1
Thanks for voting!
Yes, they wanted to do something different, they wanted everyone to be included and there you have it. They wanted therefore they will get! If that's how they feel then make up a storyline call it something else.
MrFred
2nd Dec 2014
2
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Exactly Peter, It's a fun activity for the kids and should be keyed towards inclusion and a "good positive message"!
MrFred
2nd Dec 2014
3
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Why not. I bet it makes it more fun for the kids and the audience! What is the traditional representation of it anyway? Should we force the roll of all the angels on the little boys? Because the bible always refrences them as masculine.

The nativity play in any sense is far from factual. Even if you believe in the stories the Bible preaches there is no mention in any gospels relating to the nativity of Jesus being born in a stable. No room at the "Inn" itself is a mistranslation of "Kataluma", the closest translation being a place where travellers would rest - quite likely a tent.

The only reason we only celebrate it in December was a Roman attempt to appease a pagan population.

The Bible has been rewritten and mistranslated for political gain since the appearance of the first gospels (60 years after it's final events - so everything it's based on is 60 years of hearsay and folklore muddled together), so why shouldn't one of the stories played out in schools across our multicultural society be, once again, rewritten and mistranslated in the name of fun and acceptance.

If you want the story in the way the church wants to represent it you could always go and consume it in a church. Let the kids have some fun being creative.
wiffler
8th Dec 2014
1
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Good Lord, a bit heavy!
jacklad
2nd Dec 2014
4
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Why do people have to change the history of life, we teach one road and some so called teacher thinks its better to say Mary played on her iPad with Joseph while they waited for a bed in the hospitalthen everyone wants to know why our children are falling behind the rest of the world
Robbinn
2nd Dec 2014
3
Thanks for voting!
I believe we have to keep up with our changing times. Considering over half the population follow no religion, and only 6% of the population are regular church-goers, then the traditional nativity play is becoming outdated to many people who do not believe in Jesus - the nativity play of course being the story of Jesus.
Updating the story so that the majority enjoy it seems, to me, to be the right way to go although I know this will upset many people.
wiffler
8th Dec 2014
1
Thanks for voting!
Why must you update it, just do something else.
Rob60
2nd Dec 2014
4
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Very wise words, Robbinn. Schools should promote inclusion. As long as they are performing a play with a positive message, and having fun with there creativity, they're doing good in my book.
ronnieboy
2nd Dec 2014
4
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traditional carols for me always,not a deeply religious person, the true meaning of christmas is being lost.
mrsfox
2nd Dec 2014
4
Thanks for voting!
I think for very small children the Nativity should be as the bible story, when they are old enough to understand that that is the true meaning of Christmas then maybe a few quirky twists to the story can be added later.
Bazeley
2nd Dec 2014
3
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I think it's fine in moderation. As a grandparent of a child who is a little quiet its great that he is allowed to dress up in his favourite Buzz Lightyear outfit and still take part in the telling of a story - otherwise he would probably be a sheep every year! At his school the children do learn christmas carols as well so I think it's a nice mix.
Baxi
2nd Dec 2014
4
Thanks for voting!
Good grief! Whatever next. I think this is "PC" gone mad. Why can't the traditional Christmas story stay the same. Teachers are meant to teach not to rewrite history.
Wilf
2nd Dec 2014
3
Thanks for voting!
I totally agree Baxi!!!

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