Nativity cringe stories

Nativity scene illustration
Heart-melting occasion? All too often, your child’s performance in their school Christmas play leaves you wishing the ground would swallow you up. These not-so-proud parents shared their shame with Lucy Dimbylow

Shepherd shock

‘Last year, my son was the lead shepherd, and as he was standing at the front of the stage, he chose that precise moment to lift up his robe and show the entire audience his pants. I nearly died!’
Fiona, mum to Adam, five

Bethlehem via A&E

‘My daughter was Mary in the Nativity play, but on the way to school, she trapped her fingers in the car door. I didn’t think it was that serious, so I encouraged her to carry on regardless. She went on stage and said all her lines perfectly. It was only afterwards, when I saw how swollen her hand was, that I thought I’d better take her to A&E – and it turned out that she had three broken fingers. Oops!’
Deby, mum to Aurora, eight

Pole position

‘In Reception, Caspar was cast as one of the sheep in the school play. Walking onto the stage, Caspar, as “number one sheep”, was very insistent that he should be the first in line. The problem was his friend also wanted to be first, and what should have been a gentle walk ended up being like a stock car race, with both of them trying to barge each other out of the way. It turned into a full-on fight, with the other sheep joining in, and only finished when Caspar’s friend took the inside line as they raced around the corner, sending Caspar flying into the audience.’
Sharon, mum to Caspar, seven

Heaven nose

‘Louisa was the shining star in last year’s Nativity, and spent most of the performance standing centre stage, with her finger up her nose. Not my proudest moment ever.’
Miriam, mum to Louisa, five

Not-so-silent night

‘My ex-husband fell asleep in the front row during one year’s Nativity play. All the teachers were laughing at him. Me? Not so much!’
Ruth, mum to Florence, seven

Christmas sneer

‘In his nursery year, Matisse was the only child who refused point-blank to dress up for the Christmas play. We have wonderful video footage of him sitting with the other shepherds wearing his normal clothes, looking utterly fed up and yawning his head off. So much for Christmas cheer!’
Christelle, mum to Matisse, five

Centre stage star

‘On one memorable occasion, Alex’s class was singing Food, Glorious Food in the school show. Alex was word perfect, so his teacher put him right in the middle of the stage. The dress rehearsal went well, but on the day, for some reason, he chose to turn round and sing with his back to the audience. Everyone was in stitches, apart from his poor teacher, who looked as though she was about to weep.’
Elisabeth, mum to Alex, 13

Cattle lowing, cars purring

‘Olly was given the part of an innkeeper in his Nativity play. On the day, for some unknown reason, he decided not to say his proper line, and when asked if there was room at the inn, announced, “There’s no room here; me shed’s got me car parked in it!”’
Charlotte, mum to Oliver, five

Festive face

‘My son pulled a face for the Nativity photo that went in the local paper. Not a little one, but a proper fingers in mouth, tongue sticking out, cross-eyed face. Neither the photographer nor his teachers noticed, but suffice to say all the relatives did when they saw it in print.’
Alicia, mum to Sam, seven

Nativity: the teenage years

'Congratulations to everyone else's children who didn't think it was appropriate during the Nativity play to snog Joseph, lick Joseph, hold the baby Jesus like a mobile phone or stuff it up her dress and simulate childbirth. Nope. Just my child. Just. My. Child. SO PROUD.'
Miranda Davies, mum to Rosalind, five

Ready for the Christmas play yet? Make a no-sew Christmas costume yourself (no crafts ability required) – or save yourself the trouble and go for a no-fuss, shop-bought outfit.