Seasonal Writing

3 Dec

This year I took on a seasonal task that I have avoided for the past few years. No, I never stopped shopping, (though my husband probably wishes I had) nor have I quit baking, decorating, or watching Dr. Seuss’ version of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. What I’ve avoided is writing the Christmas Program for my church.

I have written our program a few times in the past, but for the past several years we’ve bought our scripts. Buying a pre-fab script is not a bad thing, but every year we have to tweak it for our particular setting and group of kids and by the time I’m done doing that, I might as well have spent the time writing it from the beginning.

Last year's whole cast.


So this year I did. It was a blast sitting at my keyboard with the list of kids in our church and my page of hand-written notes, taken when inspiration hit one afternoon in October. I laughed out loud as I gave the silliest part to our silliest boy. I grinned as I pictured one girl performing a line I wrote just for her. I was inspired by their personalities.

In the past when I have written programs people have said to me that I ought to try and get them published, but I never have. Maybe this year I will. I’ll see if I can find the other old scripts (since the old computers they were written on are long gone) and I’ll spend a little time looking them over, rewriting, and rethinking.

At least I will if I get my butt in gear to actually pursue this idea. It will take some research into proper style, publishers, etc, but it will be worth it if it pays off in the end, yes? I give you all permission to bug me in a couple months and ask me if I’ve done anything about it yet!


In the mean time, rehearsals are about to begin for our December 22nd performance. I know that my patience will be tried over the next few weeks and I will ask myself yet again why I ever agreed to direct this pageant – the writing is easy compare to directing – but I know that I too, will love, love, love seeing the kids that night, belting out the songs and shouting out their lines.

I adore Christmas pageants. Here’s my favorite photo of my favorite bored little angel a few years back.

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13 Responses to “Seasonal Writing”

  1. Minnesota Prairie Roots December 3, 2013 at 7:30 am #

    Gretchen, I bet this is one spectacular program. And especially meaningful since you penned specific lines with specific kids in mind. How endearing.

    That said, what’s the title of your play? And could you give us a synopsis? I’d love to hear more. Is this a serious play? Humorous? A mix?

    Oh, yes, I am forever full of questions.

    Congratulations on another script penned. You continue to impress me with the many facets of your writing talent.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell December 3, 2013 at 7:36 am #

      Oh, this went so smoothly that it didn’t feel like talent at all – just penning the flowing thoughts! It’s titled, “Way Beyond Candy Canes” and it’s mostly funny but with a shadow play of the Christmas story in part of it, which makes the older kids happy as they kind of are beyond the Christmas play level so this way they can be in it but not seen (except in shadow) or heard! It’s hard to be creative when you have the exact same material to use each year! The story doesn’t change, you know?!

      • Minnesota Prairie Roots December 3, 2013 at 10:40 am #

        And the story never should change. Thanks for the summary.

        Are you handing out candy canes at the end of the program? As I recall there’s some religious significance to the candy cane. Yes, I just googled it and there’s a story to go along with candy canes.

        • Gretchen O'Donnell December 3, 2013 at 10:55 am #

          Yes, I remember that story. That’s a great idea, Audrey! Thanks! And yes…The Story is perfect as it is.

  2. treadlemusic December 3, 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    I remember that “bored little angel” and she still brings smiles. I am sure that your young participants will find it a bit easier to remember lines that were written with them in mind (fitting their uniqueness). Such a wonderful gift you have! It would be wonderful to have them published!!! Hugs……..

    • Gretchen O'Donnell December 3, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

      Thank you! It’s always stressful to direct and prepare for, but it’s worth it!

      • treadlemusic December 3, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

        I feel the same way when I volunteer to do piano for productions/weddings/etc. It’s a good thing (even though it seems so stressful at the time) to “stretch” ourselves in those areas. You will do very well!!! Hugs……..

  3. Gwen Stephens December 3, 2013 at 3:55 pm #

    What a cool experience. Definitely go for the publication! You’re right – directing is a whole ‘nother story. Why not see if your congregation has a teacher who might be willing to lend a hand? That’s someone with loads of experience in managing big groups of children in a chaotic environment.

    I hope you’ll post on this topic again to let your readers know how it all turned out!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell December 3, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

      I can do that! And as for a teacher, I sure do have a lot of helpers, some of which are teachers, but there’s not a whole lot of us so it kind of falls to the same people ever year…as is often the case in volunteer situations, eh?!

  4. Hotly Spiced December 3, 2013 at 6:32 pm #

    How gorgeous! Every Christmas I look forward to seeing a re-enactment of the nativity and always, it’s at its best when performed by children. I wrote and directed a nativity for 10 years and we had 120 children involved – it was a massive undertaking. My husband would cringe when he heard I’d taken on the task yet again as he knew just how much of my time would be absorbed – but so very worth it! xx

    • Gretchen O'Donnell December 5, 2013 at 10:57 am #

      I have it easy compared to that! Wowza. Good for you, being willing to do that!

  5. Gemma Hawdon December 3, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    How exciting Gretchen. I think playwriting would be so much fun, especially when you know the personalities you’re writing for. Good luck for the 22nd!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell December 5, 2013 at 10:57 am #

      Definitely I’ll have to investigate the proper way of doing things for playwriting and submission, etc. It will require some research for sure.

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