The Christmas spider
To remind children of the true spirit of Christmas.
by Jan Edmunds
Suitable for Key Stage 1
To remind children of the true spirit of Christmas.
Preparation and materials
The material is intended as a framework for a short presentation that teachers can adapt for themselves.
- Simple mime can be performed as the teacher or narrators tell the story. More dialogue could be added. For very young children the teacher can narrate the story. Good clear voices and action are essential.
- Choose characters for the mother, father, up to five narrators, up to five children, a spider, a fairy, Father Christmas, Mary, Joseph and as many characters that you want in the nativity scene, e.g. angels, shepherds, kings etc., so that the whole class can be involved.
- Small Christmas tree (easily moveable in light-weight pot), tinsel and some form of decoration like ‘angel hair’, to resemble spiders’ webs, for draping over the tree.
- Costumes and props can be as simple or extravagant as required.
- Suitable Christmas music and carols can be played before and during the scenes.
- If there are curtains, they can open to reveal the family in their cottage; if not, the family can come on stage as the narrator speaks.
Narrator 1: Here lives a poor peasant family. They have no shoes, they have tattered clothes and very little to eat.
(Enter father carrying small tree. Children show delight. The tree is positioned on stage slightly to one side.)
Narrator 2: It is the night before Christmas and father has dug up a small tree from the forest. The children are very excited and only wish they could get some presents to put under it.
Narrator 3: As they gather round admiring the little tree, they see a large spider crawling towards it. It begins to leave some silken threads on the branches.
(Spider approaches the tree, dances around it and drapes some ‘angel hair’ over the branches. Children watch and show response. Suitable music plays.)
Child 1: Ugh! That spider is spoiling our tree! Let’s shoo it away.
(The children begin to chase the spider.)
Mother: Stop that at once! That’s no way to behave. The spider is one of God’s creatures – leave it alone.
(The spider scuttles away.)
(One of the children points to the tree.)
Child 2: Look, the spider has spun its threads all over our tree!
Child 3. It’s made it look very pretty!
Father: There you are, you see the spider meant no harm.
Mother: Come on children, time for bed. Tomorrow is a very special day and we must not forget the true meaning of Christmas.
Child 4: Tell us about it before we go to bed.
(They all gather near the tree.)
(Everyone sings the carol ‘The Virgin Mary had a baby boy’.)
(One character (preferably one of the parents) could sing solo for the first verse. Everyone can join in to sing the chorus. As each verse is sung, the characters mentioned can assemble on stage to form a Nativity tableau, so that by the end of the carol everyone mentioned in it is on stage. Joseph with Mary carrying ‘baby Jesus’ can be seated centre stage; the angels can enter and gather behind them; the shepherds can bring in their ‘lambs’, bow and present them; the kings can do likewise and present their gifts. Placing and timing are very important here.)
Child 5: What a wonderful story! Mary and Joseph must have been poor like us for their baby to have been born in a stable.
Mother: Yes, I think they were, but come on, time for bed. (All exit stage.)
(End of scene 1, curtains, or play music while characters exit in an orderly fashion.)
(The stage is in darkness, music plays, and the spider reappears and drapes silver tinsel over the branches of the Christmas tree. Exit spider.)
Narrator 4. Someone else comes to visit the tree.
(Enter Father Christmas with a fairy. They place presents under the tree; soft music can be played as they do so.)
Fairy. Tomorrow will be a new beginning for this family.
(She waves her wand. Spot lighting, if possible, can be focused on the tree to make it really shine. Exit both characters.)
Scene 3: Christmas morning
(Enter the children. They are so excited to see all the presents and the silver tree.)
Children: Mother! Father! Come and look – a miracle has happened!
(Enter their parents. Father goes up to the tree to examine the silver threads.)
Father: My goodness these threads are of real silver, and where have all these presents come from? What has happened here? It’s a miracle!
Mother: We are no longer poor! We can sell the silver to buy food and clothes. How wonderful!
Children: This is the best Christmas ever!
(The children dance around the tree as everyone sings ‘Christmas time is here’. All characters can assemble on stage in a well-rehearsed and orderly fashion as the carol is sung.
Last of all, enter the spider, who comes to the front of the stage and gives a big thumbs up and a wink.)
Narrator 5: So the family were no longer poor. They had not harmed the spider and their kindness had been rewarded. Happy Christmas to all of you!
Whole class: Happy Christmas everyone! (Curtain or exit as music plays.)
‘The Virgin Mary had a baby boy’ (Come and Praise, 121)
‘Christmas time is here’ (Come and Praise, 127)