Last year we shared some Christmas Calamities with you involving the Hastam team. Due to popular demand, we are back with more tales of when things went wrong. This year we have stories from Nativities, a dog who got a double Christmas treat and a heart-warming tale of coming home for Christmas.

We hope that you enjoy these memories and please feel free to add your own in the comments.

The School Play

One festive event which bonds the nation is the school play, whether the traditional story or a more modern tale. Small children are dressed up and placed onto stage with often comic consequences.

The Hastam team share some of their memories:

Mark Cooper starts:

”I was at a play in an inclusive school, during the performance a hearing-impaired girl in the play started signing to her friends in the audience over the heads of the disapproving teachers. Not just a quick hello but having a full on chat ignoring everyone else! Much to the amusement of everyone else”

Liz has not only her story but also 2 from the perspective of being the parent.

“At the grand old age of 7 I was chosen out of the whole school to be Mary – such a responsibility!  I had to sing a solo – I did this quite a bit so not a problem!  I had to hold hands with Joseph – ok, a bit awkward but I was willing to give it a go.  However on the night Joseph decided he didn’t like showing affection in public so with the whole audience looking at us he promptly crossed his arms across his chest and stuck out his bottom lip!  From that point on Mary and Joseph were headed for divorce as I glared at him and he continued to sulk!  My best friend Sarah had got the part of Angel Gabriel and had to stand behind Mary and Joseph on a gym bench.  Half way through the audience started to grin and point.  When I turned around to see what the problem was Sarah was curled up on the bench sound asleep!  With sulky Joseph, glarey Mary and sleepy Gabriel I don’t think we managed to capture the story very accurately but it did give a few poor parents a bit of a giggle.

My eldest son was in the school choir for his Christmas concert when he was 6.   Everything was going well until a child on the front row stepped forward and puked all over the floor!  The poor teacher spent the next few songs trying to get the children to stop staring at the sick and remember their singing voices while the caretaker got out the sand and paper towels!  All the parents politely ignored the clearing up and tried to listen to the music but every so often we were assaulted with the smell of vomit and tried to stifle the gagging that resulted from this.  Eventually the clear up operation was completed and the kids got back into the singing … all except my son who suddenly decided it was more interesting to watch everyone else singing and turned around with his back to the audience to listen to everyone else!  Oh dear!

My younger son is not into acting or being on show so it was no surprise when he announced he was being a ‘townsperson’ for his nativity.  On the morning of the nativity my husband and I trouped into the hall and were immediately accosted by his teacher.  My immediate thought was ‘what has he done?’ however the teacher went on to explain that ‘Joseph’ had had a bit of wobble that morning and my son was taking his place!  Sure enough he walked into the hall and went to sit in the stable.  He suddenly became aware of all the parents watching. He promptly stood up, picked up his seat and turned it around to the face the wall and sat down again!  You can imagine how things went on from there ….”

Lorraine shares her story of what happens when a 5 year old doesn’t get her own way.

“With my ego still inflated from being cast as Mary the previous year, my 5-year-old self was very miffed at being given the role of rabbit number 2.  My mission was to convince the teachers that I would make a much better rabbit number 1 and spent most of the rehearsals pointing out his errors and correcting him. On the night of the play, (still as rabbit number 2),  I joined all the other rabbits on the stage for what was the big moment of the night. Rabbit number 1 started his speech and got his words wrong. I jumped up and in my loudest voice shouted ‘NO JAMIE THAT’S WRONG!’ Only instead of the smug you should have picked my vibes I gave to the teachers during rehearsal. I became very aware of the eyes of all the parents on me and the fact that I had just ruined the play.  Jamie started to cry because I had told him off, I got pulled off stage and given a very stern talking too. All the other rabbits sat there because they had no clue what to do.

Coming Home

Steve Fletcher writes about his mammoth effort to get home for Christmas while serving in the HM forces.

“During the early nineties while serving in HM Forces I was deployed to Bosnia Herzegovina as part of a UN peacekeeping force between October and February. I was fortunate in being allowed home, Rest and Recuperation (R&R), over the Christmas period for 5 days and started my journey home on the 23 Dec, travelling to Split in Croatia. I was due to fly home on Christmas Eve and everything was on track until I was told there was thick fog in the UK and that flights had been delayed, no panic at this point as I was told it would likely clear and the flight would be rescheduled later in the day…….. later in the day, all flights cancelled, PANIC!! At this point I started process of getting myself home from Split in Croatia at mid afternoon on Christmas Eve, this involved attempting to hire a car, no chance, getting a train, no chance. Even being able to get to the English Channel to catch a ferry, Euro tunnel, everything fully booked, now desperate! Having saved a reasonable amount of money over the previous 2 1/2 months my only concern was getting home to see my family, so, I got a lift to the nearest airport and started talking and pleading with all the local airlines, ultimately sourcing a seat on a flight back to the UK using most of the money I’d saved………..but getting Home for Christmas, so nearly a disaster but ultimately magical to be with my family at Christmas”

Christmas Day

It’s not just on the stage things can go wrong. Paul Mahoney has some stories from the big day itself including

“My sister will never live this down as this story is told every year. It was back in the 70’s and my  sister had gone on and on about a pram for her tiny tears doll. The big day comes, as ever I was up first (being a Christmas baby it all or nothing). Little sister comes half way down the stairs leans over the bannister sees a push chair instead says ‘thats not what I wanted!’ Turns around flicks her hair in Miss Piggy fashion and was not seen again for a few hours.

Another 70’s story my dad worked for Safeways in their freezer warehouse in Kent. Staff were told they could have a turkey for Christmas. Dad brought home a turkey ok, but he woke mum up as he dragged it up the alley. It was that big mum had to put it in the bath to wash it and what I remember it fed us all well into the next year as mum froze it. It transpires that dad had brought home the managers turkey.

Being an independent little so and so at times, especially in the kitchen. I love cooking at Christmas because it is like a medieval banquet as being the host it good to show off. I put the meat in on Christmas evening and it cooks perfectly, two impressive joints. It now time to get them out (they have been in the oven for a few hours slowly roasting). I got the first joint out proud as it glowed, unaware that I was losing grip in my bad hand and it went all over the floor, lucky the natural hoover (the dog) licked juices up. Half hour later all proud that the second joint was ready, I repeated the same mistake, but at least the dog had an early Christmas treat. No wonder they are man’s best friend.”

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