Shades of Christmas Programs Past


Dec. 20, 2006
If I hadn’t had to work yesterday, I wouldn’t have been exhausted at my granddaughter’s Christmas program, even if it did go on and on…and on. Because why settle for one rendition of “Jingle Bells” when there are three? And if you’re paying good money for trombone and cymbal lessons, I suppose you want to hear the school band play 10 or 20 tunes with a general holiday flavor. Anyway, it was worth it to hear the kindergartners get through “Elfie the Elf.” Maria was the elf with her hat on backwards, so she was easy to spot. I have no complaints.

Dec. 21, 2007
Went to the always surprising school Christmas program last night. You may remember last year’s event, when the school band played no less than three versions of “Jingle Bells” and Maria distinguished herself by wearing her elf hat backwards with the bell dangling in front. This year I’m happy to report that the band was restricted to playing the overture and Maria not only sang but also attempted to keep the boy next to her on task despite vigorous resistance. This year’s program had a soccer theme – kind of a stretch, I thought, but having the advantage of minimal costuming, since jerseys and shorts took care of almost the entire cast.

So the evening should have been, and probably would have been, straightforward were it not for my other grandchildren – three under the age of four now, and all with no sense whatever of acceptable audience behavior. Christian ate all the candy meant to sustain them for the night in the first five minutes, while Grace never lost her fascination with flip-up auditorium seating. And you might think a three-month-old child somewhat limited – they sleep, they lie there, they cry. Not so. Cosette sings. Infant singing is a sort of unearthly sound that’s hard to describe, but it’s loud and won’t be deterred by some stupid pacifier.

All in all, an entertaining evening, and no more than I expected.

Dec. 29, 2008
Made it through the annual Christmas programs again. The elementary school put on a play about the true meaning of Christmas, which I’m sure inspired every parent and grandparent to rush home and return all those toys in the closet. It took me a long time to figure out what the girl in the bell costume was supposed to be. Until she started ding-donging, I was pretty sure she was a lampshade, but if you think about it, that makes no sense. Maria was in the choir. She is an excellent choir member.

Being an equal-opportunity grandma, I also went to the preschool Christmas program, where you can always count on seeing three- and four-year-olds not follow the script. There’s always one little girl who knows the words and motions to every song, a bunch of little ones who give it a half-hearted try, and a kid who won’t do a thing. I was pretty sure that kid would be Christian, but I was wrong. He sang and he didn’t fall off the steps.

When Christian first started preschool, my daughter Jill was a little alarmed by what you might call his anti-social behavior (I wouldn’t call it that but no one ever sides with me). Anyway, we were all happy when Christian made a friend. Elliot wears glasses and comes about to Christian’s chin. Elliot was the kid who wouldn’t do anything. Not one word, not one finger twitch. Elliot was a statue. I like Elliot.

Dec. 18, 2009
This year’s preschool Christmas program lived up to every expectation, largely due to the boys in the Teddy Bear class, who are three and four years old and have no attention span worth mentioning. My favorite kid this year was the boy who had his back to us for the entire concert. I suppose if you don’t plan on singing anyway, why look at your parents (and grandparents who came all the way from Burnsville) sitting hopefully in the audience?

Then about midway through “Building up a Temple,” another Teddy Bear, who apparently found just being there exhausting, decided to sit down on the step. This caught on quickly, of course, and pretty soon the boys on either side of him were sitting on the step too…until one of them decided to climb the steps to see how the boy who wouldn’t face the audience was doing. At this point Mrs. Olsen, the Teddy Bear teacher and no dummy, went on stage and restored order.

Meanwhile, the girls kept singing. My granddaughter Grace, who has a very small speaking voice, sings really loud, so we had no trouble at all hearing her. She had every word and gesture down too, and after the program Mrs. Olsen very kindly called her “our star,” which I think is pretty much what Gracie sees when she looks into the future.

After the Teddy Bears sat down, it was time for the Frog class to sing. Most of them are five and have been down this road before, so while the girls still carried the load, the boys endured. There was the kid who kept us up to date with announcements between each song (“This is the last one!”), but at least nobody gave up and sat down. Christian is big now. I waved at him like a lunatic and got half a smile. I still gave him lots of kisses afterward and told him how great he did. He didn’t care.

So that was it, and I don’t think you could spend a more enjoyable hour during the holiday season.

December 22, 2010
I went to Maria and Christian’s school Christmas program last night, which is usually one of the happier things I do during the holidays. This year’s performance had everything you’d expect and then some. You haven’t really heard “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” until you’ve heard it played on the recorder by a bunch of fourth graders. And the school band was in fine form, although the lack of a bass drum player meant one of the female flutists had to take over that instrument for “Here Comes Santa Claus.” The girl’s utter disdain for the bass drum was truly impressive. She could barely get out of her folding chair and drag herself over to it. And then you’d think the mallet weighed 50 pounds. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard “Here Comes Santa Claus” played more mournfully.
The bell ringers went on a little too long (four holiday tunes with no verses omitted), but I am loathe to criticize them lest Maria have bell-ringing in her future.
Christian’s kindergarten class did a commendable job, particularly on “Jingle Bells,” where they got to ring the little bells hanging around their necks at all the jingly spots. As they had to wait for their turn a good long while sitting on stage, the bells became objects of great fascination – first you examine your own bell, then you study your neighbor’s bell, then you hang the bell from your ears. 
In the finale, the fourth graders sang. That’s Maria’s class, and while most of the classes looked more resigned than merry, the fourth-grade girls were almost bouncy. They smiled, they knew all the words and they sang loud. I concluded that fourth-grade girls are a good way to wrap up a Christmas program.


3 thoughts on “Shades of Christmas Programs Past

  1. I especially liked reading about the kid who turned completely around during the program. You can’t get entertainment like that just anywhere. LOL!


  2. Heart warming. Especially for those that know the kids. Wondering if the sound Cosette made is the same one we heard tonight from Bret Jr???


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