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Flashback Friday ~ Christmas Parties at School

This is the
“Late Night Saturday Edition
of Flashback Friday, brought to you by Quilldancer.

Flashback Friday is the brain child of Linda from Mocha With Linda. This is the meme that takes us back in time to the days of our youth. Linda says, This meme’s purpose is to have us take a look back and share about a specific time or event in our lives. It will be fun to see how similar – or different – our experiences have been! This week Linda wants to know:

What was Christmas like at school when you were growing up? Were there parties, programs or other activities? Did students exchange gifts? Did you have a part in a Christmas play? Did teachers decorate their rooms? Was it permissible to refer to the holiday as Christmas? If you attended church, what special things did your church do? Were you or your family involved in any of those programs, cantatas, or activities? Have you ever gone caroling? Did your parents ever host Christmas parties?

When I was a kid it was pretty hard to tell the school Christmas Program and the church Christmas Program apart.  The school play had Christmas Hymns and angels with wings,  and baby Jesus was there in the songs if not in the manger.  I suppose the only major difference was Santa Claus.  I don’t recall ever seeing him at church.

It seems like every year through 4th grade we drew names and exchanged Christmas presents.  I don’t remember anything I received.  I do remember that in 4th grade the girl who drew my name didn’t come to school on that last day — the party was always the last day of school before break — and Mrs. Rasmussen, my teacher, gave me a little bag of marbles.   I liked the marbles so much I was secretly happy my classmate wasn’t there!

I only remember being in two Christmas Plays.  One was for church and I was the angel bearing the good news of Jesus’ birth.  The other was our 6th grade school play and I was Agatha, a news reporter telling about the coming blizzard that would surely stop Christmas from coming.  I don’t remember many details of the play, but I remember that Christmas isn’t stoppable.

We always attended my Aunt’s church on Christmas Eve.  The pastor was a visual artist and he had a huge canvas.  As he told the Christmas story he painted.  He would tell a bit of the story and we would sing a Christmas Hymn, and all the while his paintbrush was busy.  When he finished the story he also finished a full-sized Christmas scene.  every year it was a little different.  The year that dazzled me most he drew an entire Christmas story mural on a 3’x8′ canvas.  What was really cool is the painting had already been sold in an auction that benefited the church food bank.  Every year it was purchased sight unseen before it was ever created!

I don’t recall my Gram or my parents ever hosting a Christmas Party for anyone but family.  I went Christmas caroling almost every year though, and sometimes several times per year.  As a Camp Fire girl we sang at the nursing homes every year.  Sometimes the church youth group did, too.  The youth group often caroled at the homes of church members who were ill or shut-ins, too. And both as a Camp Fire girl and a member of the church youth, we did some sort of service project that provided presents to the forgotten people in the nursing homes or underprivileged children.


  1. Your artistic pastor was ahead of his time! I would have loved to have seen that. Impressive that he could do it. Even more so the fact that he was preaching while he did, not just painting to music like you see the ones on YouTube do today.

    Fun memories!

    1. Linda — it was pretty amazing. He drew through the entire service, so he wasn’t always the one talking. Readers came forward and read scripture, there were songs, but I do remember he would point out something that seemed profound to me (I was a kid) and it always related to whatever thing he was illustrating at that moment. I know once it was the star, and he talked about how far the wise men traveled and how long it must have taken.

  2. I went Christmas caroling a few times between Girl Scouts and my CCD classes. I hated it though. Once we went to the Veteren’s home to sing carols-that was kind of scary.

    School wise, in Elementary school there was always a Christmas show where we had to sing in front of our parents. My best friend always sang a solo of Rocking Around the Christmas tree. She was an amazing singer. Then the day before the break started there was always a Christmas party. At least until 7th grade or so, then usually no “formal” party.

    1. Why was going to the Veteran’s Home to sing scary? I always felt honored and privileged to be able to bring joy to people who had sacrificed so much for their country.

  3. Seems like you have wonderful Christmas memories. Lucky you! When I remember my parents’ parties, I think of the times when I wanted to hide in the closet because I was terrified of singing for my presents. All of the young kids had to do it. I was unbearably shy in those days and it was sheer torture for me. I was miserable.

    1. Gigi — I have a tendency to only repeat the better memories. I prefer not to dwell on things that make me unhappy. I do occasionally, of course, I haven’t forgotten them, but I see no reason to constantly murmurer “woe is me”. It doesn’t win me friends or make me feel better about myself, in fact it does just the opposite.

  4. It’s always fascinating to watch a visual artist in action. I could not talk and paint at the same time and have either activity come out right. What a unique way to celebrate Christmas!

    As you’ve already read, what few Christmas party memories I have are pretty similar otherwise.

  5. I can’t remember that we did something at Christmas in school. Christmas was a family thing and nothing public, some people went to mass at midnight. My parents never went to church on Christmas. Can’t even remember any Christmas decorations on the street. I am talking about the 50th. In Brussels they celebrated more Santa Claus than Christmas. Now it has changed.

  6. I thought I recognized you in those plays. But it must have been someone else playing the coal pile. I dunno…I was young then what the hell did I know back then? LOL Some people are so talented. Painting while singing? Hmmm I can’t even draw a stick figure.

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