It wasn’t Christmas until all of these 17 things happened at primary school

Still holding a grudge that I never got cast as Mary

Whether you still believe in Santa or not, Christmas is a magical time. Whilst Christmas as a student consists of crying over your bank balance realising you’ve got to buy presents for the entire family, three secret Santas, and contribute to house Christmas dinner fund all for £60, as a child Christmas tended to be a bit more exciting.

It didn’t really get more exciting than at primary school, where no advent calendars were needed as the increasingly louder squeals of 30 kids as it got days closer to the big day was a give-away. Christmas was officially coming when these 17 things happened:

1. The stage went up in anticipation of the Nativity

Okay, by the time it got to my year we’d been downgraded to a curtain, but that feeling when you filed in for assembly and saw it hanging there is an adrenaline high I’m still chasing to this day.

2. Making paper snowflakes

There was always one smug kid in class who knew how to do it, confidently showing off their scissoring prowess whilst the rest of us randomly jabbed at folded paper, hoping it would have the same effect. Still, any day where you can make decorations instead of actual lessons is a good one. Bringing us on to…

3. Anything Paper Mache

There was always one kid who was a complete liability, and at least one casualty involving a body part and some rouge glueing.

4. The whirlwind of emotion that was finding out your roles for the Nativity

No, it wasn’t applications for Drama school (although some parents may have acted otherwise), but nonetheless it was a tense emotion that invariably triggered both trauma, tantrums and excitement. And of course, the awkward moment when the school realised they had 40 kids and nine roles, meaning that the whole of reception had to be angels and a few extra roles had to be thrown in; Emma Thompson in Love Actually and her infamous lobster – need I say more?

5. Singing Christmas carols in assembly

Cue Away in a Manger sung very out of tune, high pitched and breathily.

6. Getting told you had to go outdoors for playtime no matter how cold it was

God forbid you didn’t have any gloves.

7. Someone getting told off for wearing something Christmassy

Whether it was a little Christmas hair bobble, the one girl who had her ear pierced coming in with dangling novelty Christmas puds, or someone with more audacity than Matt Hancock coming to school in a full blown Christmas jumper – there was always one angry teacher enforcing the school dress code every year.

8. A letter going out to the parents reminding them to make sure children had hats, scarves and gloves for playtime

Along with a passive aggressive PS at the bottom, reminding them that all Christmas accessories are strictly forbidden.

9. The shoebox appeal

I don’t think a bigger parenting challenge exists than trying to wrap multiple shoeboxes with Christmas paper in a way that still allows the lid to open and shut – especially surrounded by enthusiastic five-year-olds who are trying to “help.”

10. The Christmas fair

The ultimate chance to spend all your pocket money on some Christmas Brownies (aka regular brownies covered in icing sugar), and hot squash – oh, and a trip to Santa’s grotto of course.

11. The tree going up

Adorned with multiple (slightly shabby) paper snowflakes obviously.

12. Having a class advent calendar and it being your turn to open it

The absolute strut up to the little window and subsequently showing off your underwhelming prize.

13. The teacher in charge of the Nativity finally having a breakdown

Usually complete with screams that no-one has learnt their lines, the wise men keep coming in from the wrong side, and the angels keep pushing one another off the stage.

14. You have an outfit which is trimmed with real tinsel

Doesn’t matter if you were an angel, a sheep, or a narrator – in my school, every single outfit had tinsel round the wrists and ankles, much to the disappointment and questionable sewing skills of the parents.

15. Another letter going out to the parents informing them what they need to contribute to the Christmas party food

Just to make sure the party food doesn’t end up being a selection of either pink wafers or party rings.

16. Your mum freaking out because she’s forgotten to get your teacher a non-alcoholic present

You know it’s Christmas when 40 seven-year-olds jingle their way up the school path with clinking bottle bags.

17. Santa* visits the school

*It wasn’t Santa, it was in fact the headteacher’s husband or grumpy year five teacher dressed up in the local fancy dress shop’s finest.

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