By Marjorie Kennedy
Five trees discuss whether they will be chosen by children for Christmas decorations. When one is left behind, an angel shows how it can display the true gifts of Christmas.
Angela (an angel)
Some children (five with speaking parts, five with brief fines)
(The numbers or children and angels can vary according to your resources)
This play was written to be performed by children ranging from preschool to junior high school. We used about 30 childrey but this could easily be adapted for fewer or more children.
The older children played the parts of the trees and Angela. The youngest children played the parts of the angels. Five of the angels had attractively decorated boxes, each with a label on it. The labels read: "Love", "Forgiveness", "Abundant Life", 'Peace ", and "Eternal Life". Inside the boxes were cards with these same words on them, enough for everyone in the congregation. The "in betweens" were the children.
During the play the angels were seated on a mat in front of the stage area and they went up from there when it was time for their part. This meant that they were able to sit and watch the rest of the play.
For the trees we cut out cardboard tree shapes and decorated them with fringed crepe paper. Polly Poplar was bigger and had holes with Christmay lights poked through and at the appropriate time these were turned on and off from the stage. The evergreen trees had their tree shapes hung around their necks but Polly Poplar had a hole in the middle of the poplar shape for her head to poke through. For their second appearance the trees (apart from Polly Poplar) require tatty decorations.
The play opens at a plant-hire nursery. The trees are on stage with Polly Poplar in the middle.
Note: Further suggestions for costuming (as performed by another church) can be found at the end of the script.
READER: Our play is called "Is It Really Christmas?" and that is the question
it is asking us. Is it really Christmas at my house? Is it really Christmas at your house?
Because if it is really Christmas, Jesus Christ will be the one who is being honoured.
after all, he is the one whose birthday we are celebrating.
We all like to give and receive gifts at Christmas time. Our play is about gifts, the special gifts that God has for us, gifts that help us to understand why Christmas is so important.
Christmas trees wonder about these things, too, especially those at the plant nursery.
SUSIE SPRUCE: Oh, I am excited. I heard the man on TV. say that today is Christmas Eve, and we know what that means. Today the children will come in looking to buy nicely shaped evergreens like us to use as Christmas trees. I was too small last year but this year I'm the right size and I'm absolutely gorgeous. I know that someone will want me to be their Christmas tree. I can hardly wait.
PENNY PINE: You can't wait. What about me" Look at my long branches. People need branches like mine to put their gifts on. When they see me and my magnificent branches they won't be able to resist me.
JENNY JUNIPER: You two are nothing compared to me. I heard an elderly gentleman say only yesterday that that the juniper is the most beautiful tree in the whole forest, and he was looking at me when he said it. No one will want you two when they see how lovely I am.
EVA EVERGREEN (moving her arms up and down): See how strong my branches are. I've been exercising them all year ready to be a Christmas tree.
POLLY POPLAR (timidly): I hope that I can be a Christmas tree too, but I am very tall. I don't know what is wrong with me. I don't seem to be the right shape.
SUSIE SPRUCE: Silly, Polly Poplar. How can you be a Christmas tree? You are not even an evergreen. All your leaves fell off in the autumn.
POLLY POPLAR: That is not my fault. I tried very hard to hold on to my leaves. But one night a really strong wind came. I shut my eyes and hid my face and when I looked at myself next morning I was all bare. But (brightly) my leaves are all grown again now. They are quite nice. Look!
JENNY JUNIPER: But, look at your shape Polly. Your branches all point upwards. How could you hold gifts in them? Be sensible.
POLLY POPLAR: I know that my branches point upwards. I've tried to make them point outwards but it just makes me tired. And when I relax they just shoot upwards again.
EVA EVERGREEN: Even if you could make your branches grow outwards, you would still be too tall for a Christmas tree. (Pause) Listen. I think I can hear someone coming.
SUSIE SPRUCE: It's them. It's the children. They are coming to choose their Christmas trees.
PENNY PINE: I'm so excited. My leaves are trembling. Keep still pine needles. I want to look real cool.
JENNY JUNIPER: I'll just arrange myself so that they see my best side first. Then I will be irresistible.
EVA EVERGREEN: Shhh all of you. The children are here.
(There is silence as the children enter).
IST CHILD: (walking around looking carefully at each tree): There are not many trees left to choose from.... now let's see ... perhaps this one would be best. (Chooses Susie Spruce)
2ND CHILD: I think I'll take this one. (Chooses Eva Evergreen) It looks big and strong. I'm hoping for some mighty big gifts this Christmas.
3RD CHILD: This one will do me. It will look great with our new set of lights on it. (Chooses Jenny Juniper)
4TH CHILD: I'll take this one. It is a fine looking tree. (Chooses Penny Pine).
5TH CHILD: Hey, what about the rest of us? You've taken all the proper Christmas trees. I'm not having that funny looking one over there. (Points to Polly Poplar). We would have to make a hole in our roof to get that one into our house. Oh well, never mind. We will just have to go to another tree nursery. Come on.
(The children leave with their trees. Polly Poplar is left all alone).
POLLY POPLAR: (sighs): I feel awful. I don't like being left behind. It's not fair. I don't want to be a poplar. I want to be a spruce or a pine. (She starts to cry).
ANGELA (pauses to listen): What was that?
POLLY POPLAR: Sob, sob.
ANGELA: It's coming from this tree.
POLLY POPLAR: Sob, sob.
ANGELA: You are crying. What a funny tree. Trees don't usually cry. What on earth can a tree have to cry about?
POLLY POPLAR (Sobbing): I'm crying because I want to be a Christmas tree and I'm the wrong shape. My branches all point upwards instead of outwards. I'm no use at all.
ANGELA: There, there. (She pats the tree) You are a lovely tree. I'm sure we can find a use for you. You say that you want to be a Christmas tree?
POLLY POPLAR: Yes, I do. I saw a picture of a Christmas tree once. It was covered with bright lights and it had pretty parcels on it. I want to be just like that.
ANGELA: Let's see what we can do, then. I'll just get some of my friends to help me. (She rings a little bell and the angels enter and skip around the tree. When they have spaced themselves evenly around the tree they stop and clap their hands. As they do so the lights on the tree come on. The angels sing a suitable chorus.)
POLLY POPLAR: Oh, I feel better already. I like that song your friends sang. But what about gifts? I can't be a Christmas tree without gifts.
ANGELA: Stop worrying. We've got gifts for you. They are the best gifts in the world.
POLLY POPLAR: Oh, wonderful. I heard a little girl say that a Barbie doll was the best gift in the world. I'll bet you have got a Barbie doll for me.
ANGELA: No, not a Barbie doll, or a teddy bear, or a new computer game. Not anything like that. Those gifts will wear out. The gifts we bring are gifts that last forever.
POLLY POPLAR: I didn't know that any gifts would last forever. I can't wait to see them.
ANGELA: We bring special gifts from our Master, Jesus. It is good that a tree should display his gifts because Jesus is sometimes called the tree of life. He brings a new and better kind of life to evervone who knows him. You look as if you know him because all your branches point upwards like people's arms sometimes do when they are praising him. Come little helpers, bring Jesus' special gifts to the tree.
(The first angel comes forward)
FIRST ANGEL: I bring the gift of love.
POLLY POPLAR: Love! Tell me about this love.
ANGELA: This i sGod's love for us all, shown by Jesus' death on a cross to set us free.(The first Angel places a gift wrapped box labelled "love" at the foot of the tree. The second angel comes forward.)
2ND ANGEL: I bring the gift of forgiveness.
POLLY POPLAR: Forgiveness. Why do people need the gift of forgiveness?
ANGELA: Because they keep doing things that God does not want them to do. But if they realise that what they have done is wrong and ask God to forgive them, he will if they are truly sorry.
(The second angel places her gift by the tree and the third angel comes forward.)
3RD ANGEL: I bring the gift of peace.
POLLY POPLAR: Peace! The people I've seen don't seem to know much about peace.
ANGELA: No, to have this gift you must give your life to Jesus and then you will receive God's peace.
(The 3rd angel places her gift by the tree and the fourth angel comes.forward.)
4TH ANGEL: I bring the gift of abundant life.
POLLY POPLAR: Life, I know what that means. But abundant, that's a big word.
ANGELA: Knowing Jesus makes life full and exciting. That's what we mean by abundant.
(The fourth angel places her gift by the tree and the fifth angel enters.)
5TH ANGEL: I bring God's gift of eternal life.
POLLY POPLAR: I like the sound of that gift.
ANGELA: All these gifts are available to those who believe in Jesus.
POLLY POPLAR: I've never known gifts like these. (pauses) Listen........ I think the other trees are coming back.
ANGELA: Quick, let's hide.
(Ihe angels rush off stage and sit on the mat again. The four Christmas trees stagger itn trailing torn crepe paper and tinsel.)
SUSIE SPRUCE: I'm bushed. I can't go another step. I ache all over. And look at my tinsel. It's a mess.
PENNY PINE (with an arm drooping): If that is what it is like to be a Christmas tree, I hope I don't have to do that again. Would you believe this. A silly child tied a video recorder onto my best branch, and now, look at me, I'm permanently disabled.
JENNY JUNIPER (sadly): I used to be so beautiful. I'll never be the same again. Those kids. They just grabbed and snatched and pulled great chunks out of me when they took their gifts. I'll be mottly forever.
EVA EVERGREEN: You think that you've had a hard time ... what about me? My lot cut me down to quarter size and put me in a camper van. And when they had finished with me they forgot that they were supposed to bring me back. They just threw me out with their rubbish. If the caretaker hadn't seen my label and rescued me I'd have been done for.
SUSIE SPRUCE: I wonder what use Christmas is when people go on like that!
PENNY PINE (Rubbing the drooping arm): Christmas is supposed to have love in it. I couldn't see any love where I was.
JENNY JUNIPER: Where I was I only saw grab, grab, grab.
EVA EVERGREEN: Christmas must be meant to be better than this. I wish someone would show us what it should be like.
POLLY POPLAR: Excuse me
(The trees turn and notice Polly Poplar for the first time).
SUSIE SPRUCE: Look at Polly Poplar!
PENNY PINE: She's a Christmas tree.
JENNY JUNIPER: She is beautiful.
EVA EVERGREEN: What happened Polly?
POLLY POPLAR: It was very exciting. I am a real Christmas tree now. Some dear little angels came and brought me these gifts from God. There is the gift of love, the gift of forgiveness, the gift of peace, the gift of abundant life and the gift of eternal life. The angels said these gifts are for everyone. I only hope someone wants them.
SUSIE SPRUCE: They are better gifts than the ones they tied on me.
PENNY PINE: Yes, those gifts are real.
JENNY JUNIPER: They are the best gifts.
EVA EVERGREEN: But will people want them? From what I've seen they are too busy getting all they can for themselves.
POLLY POPLAR: Listen, I can hear singing.
(The congregation sings the first verse of "Away in a Manger", or similar.)
POLLY POPLAR: Those people out there are singing about Jesus. I wonder if they would like some of my gifts. I wish those angels were here.
(The angels come back onto the stage).
ANGELA: Let's see if anyone out there wants these gifts. Helpers, collect your gifts.
(The angels who placed the gifts collect the boxes, open them and stand facing the congregation).
IST ANGEL: Who wants God's gift of love?
(The first Angel waits until congregation indicate by show of hands their desire for that gift and then each of these.folk are given a card from the box bearing that word. This same procedure is followed by each of the angels holding a box).
2ND ANGEL: Who would like God's forgiveness?
3RD ANGEL: Who would like the gift of peace?
4TH ANGEL: Who would like to live God's way and have abundant life.
5TH ANGEL: Who would like to belong to God forever and have eternal life" (Hopefully by now each member of the congregation will have at least one card).
ANGELA: Thank you little helpers. (Faces the congregation). This is only a play, The gifts have run out and the tree is bare. God's gifts don't run out. Love, peace, forgiveness, eternal life - these gifts are all ours through Jesus. Let's pray to him now.
Dear Heavenlv Father, Thank you for your love in giving us Jesus, the greatest gift of all. Thank you that you forgive us when we turn to you with sorry hearts. Thank you for the peace that comes when we give our lives to you. Thank you that through knowing you, our lives become real and fiill of good things. And thank you that you are willing that all who love you can be with you for ever. Help us Lord, to accept these gifts and to truly be your people. In Jesus' name. Amen
(The congregation sings a suitable song).
READER: Don't throw your cards away. Take them home and thread them with cotton and put them on your Christmas tree. Parents, remind your children about these gifts and about Jesus. Children, remind your parents about these gifts and about Jesus. And everyone - make sure that it really is Christmas at your house this year.
Further costuming ideas: Just wanted to let you know that our church, Hidden Valley Community Church, Decatur, Illinois used your skit, "Is It Really Christmas". The evergreen trees I made from 72" wide green felt. Used baling wire (we have horses) to make the bottom stand out in a large round circle. I took Christmas greenery cut into 5 to 6 inch pieces, used florist wire and wired onto the felt (used about 10 pieces per tree) This greenery made it very easy to decorate the trees for their second entrance. We used real garbage for the tree that had been thrown away. These trees had pointed hats so all that showed was the face. I did not use a pattern just 1 and 1/3 yard of materal, folded in 1/4, cut hole for head and used elastic to secure neck...folded in half, starting about 7 inches down from fold, I sewed in about 12 to 13 inches depending on child for arm, from there I sewed to the outer corners at the bottom, making a triangle...rounded the bottom off and sewed casing for wire. It only took about 30 minutes to sew a tree. Putting on the garland took about 30 to 45 minutes.
Now the poplar was really stressing me out. However...he too, looked great. I used brown felt from shoulders to ankles so that the body was the trunk of the tree. Again we used wire about 4 inches under the arms and again about 12 inches below that. We slit the back half way down (so he could get in on by stepping into it) and fixed the wire so that once the child was in the suit it could be hooked together. My husband went to the creek and cut fresh small branches off...approximately 3 to 4 feet in length...he drilled holes in the branches about 1 inch from the bottom and then 12 inches up. Again we wired the branches on both the front and the back of the costume. We attached 150 white Christmas lights. When in costume this young man could hardly be seen. He held a switch in his hand so there was no moving around when the lights came on...it was really great. For the gifts...the children came forward with the package Christmas ornaments, also purchased at the Dollar store, in various colors (red, green, gold, & silver) Because we used so many children the tree was covered and really looked pretty.
All of our younger children 4 and up were in wings and halos. These were purchased at a local Dollar General at Halloween time. Wings were yellow bug wings that we coved with glitter (using spray glue...it's great stuff). When the wings were purchased they also had a headband with two antennas. We cut off the little fussy ball...used glitter pipe cord and made their halos...super easy and the kids were adorable.
We modified the skit so that the children had more to do...after each gift the angel choir sang a song in reference to the gift. After the lighting of the tree..."This Little Light of Mine" Love..."Praise Him, Praise Him" Forgiveness..."Thy Word Have I Hid in my Heart" Peace..."Down in my Heart" Abundant Life...The children did a chant and after each item said...Father, we Thank Thee for Eternal Life..."Alive, Alive."
© Marjorie Kennedy
All rights reserved
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged.
In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed.
She may be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org