Punk fairies, spacemen and aliens are featuring in updated versions of the nativity story and in many schools it’s being replaced altogether with ‘winter celebrations’. Only a third of schools now stage a traditional nativity play and one in 14 banishes Christianity in favour of a fully secular event with a neutral title like ‘Seasonal Play’, the Telegraph reports.
Even schools which keep a religious theme tend to opt for a modernised nativity story, often featuring elaborate twists – one school based it on the story of The Apprentice. Others have taken out the traditional baby Jesus to make room for everything from Elvis to the ingredients in a Christmas lunch including carrots, sprouts and even pumpkins.
The survey of more than 2,000 parents from Netmums also revealed that some of them admitted to feeling aggrieved that their child had not been cast as a major character such as Mary or Joseph, and believing that other parents try to pressurise teachers to give their child a bigger part.
“Do they know it’s Christmas? At some schools, it seems not,” Siobhan Freegard, co-founder of Netmums, said. “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. This study shows many parents who aren’t religious look to the nativity as a comforting part of the Christmas celebrations and want their school to embrace and celebrate it, rather than make up a version with less resonance for kids.”
Does your school stage a traditional nativity play or celebrate the occasion with something different? Which do you think is better? Share your views with the Eteach community!