Christmas in Iceland
A Christmas story from another culture.
by Jude Scrutton
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To present a Christmas story from another culture.
Preparation and materials
- This assembly consists of a play to be rehearsed in advance.
- Characters: Narrator (could be taken by a teacher or split between a number of children); Lucy; Mother; Father; Elves (mimed): Candle Beggar, Feet Blower, Meat Hooker, Sausage Snatcher, Door Slammer, Pot Scraper, Yogurt Gobbler, Window Peeper.
- Props: a candle; a sausage; a noisy metal bowl and spoon; a sack.
Introduce the play. Stress that it is a story, a bit like a fairy story - it is not real and the characters in it are just made up.
Narrator: In Iceland, it is said that in the 13 days before Christmas Eve the elves visit children. A different elf will visit each day, until the last one visits on the morning of Christmas Eve. The elves include: Candle Beggar, Feet Blower, Meat Hooker, Sausage Snatcher, Door Slammer, Pot Scraper, Yogurt Gobbler, Window Peeper. As the names suggest, as the elves visit the children, they play tricks on them.
Mother: Goodnight, Lucy, don't forget to hide your candles and close your curtains.
Lucy: OK, Mum, I wonder which elf will come tonight.
Narrator: Lucy, with mixed feelings of excitement and worry, climbed the stairs. She got into bed and after counting 20 sheep, fell asleep.
(Lucy lies down to sleep. She should be raised up if possible so that she can be seen. In walks Candle Beggar, creeping into the room and looking at Lucy, sniggers and then takes the candles and runs off.)
When Lucy woke up she realized that her candles were missing. She went to tell her parents.
Mother: But I told you to hide your candles, Lucy - you've probably just forgotten where you hid them!
Narrator: The next night, Lucy worried about which elf would come. She took longer to get to sleep. But after counting 40 sheep her eyelids became heavy and soon she was dreaming of sitting by a warm fire, opening her presents on Christmas Day.
(In walks Feet Blower, who creeps in sniggering to himself. He walks up to Lucy and stands at the foot of the bed, he starts blowing loudly at her feet. Lucy wakes up screaming and runs off stage. Feet Blower turns to the audience, bows and walks off.)
The next night Lucy, still shaken up by the previous night's scare, managed to convince her mother to let her sleep in her parents' bed.
Mother: OK, but only for tonight. You shouldn't let these old folktales scare you.
Lucy: Thanks, Mum.
Narrator: Still feeling scared, but happy to be sleeping with her parents, Lucy managed to fall asleep after counting 60 sheep. However, her sleep was broken by the sound of banging and crashing coming from the kitchen.
(Sounds of banging and crashing offstage.)
Meat Hooker was busy in the kitchen, shoving the Christmas roast into his sack. Lucy woke up and went downstairs to investigate. She saw Meat Hooker running off with the roast in his sack. She ran screaming to her parents.
(Meat Hooker runs across the stage with a sack.)
Lucy's Mum and Dad did not believe Lucy and sent her off to her own bed. For the next 9 nights, Lucy was visited by a different mischievous elf. The Sausage Snatcher stole all of their sausages.
(Sausage Snatcher runs across the stage, could be munching a sausage.)
The Door Slammer woke the whole household by slamming the door.
(Door Slammer slams the door shut.)
The Pot Scraper scared the living daylights out of Lucy by scraping a pot right by her ear.
(Pot Scraper scrapes pot - Lucy jumps up.)
The Yogurt Gobbler came and gobbled all of the yogurt, then mischievously flicked some all over Lucy. (Yogurt Gobbler mimes flicking yogurt at Lucy.)
The Window Peeper gave Lucy the biggest fright of all.
(Window Peeper appears behind Lucy but ducks down when she turns to look.)
And just when Lucy thought she couldn't take any more, it was Christmas Eve.
Father: Time for bed now.
Mother: Don't forget to put your shoes on the windowsill and if you've been a good girl this year then you might have lots of lovely presents in the morning.
Narrator: That night Lucy slept peacefully. All the elves did visit Lucy that night but they didn't play any tricks on her because she had been a good person. Even though there were times when she had forgotten to do the right thing, she had always tried to make up for it by saying sorry and promising to try harder next time.
(All the elves creep into the area around Lucy. They hold fingers to their mouths to signal to each other to be quiet. They take a bow together and creep off. Lucy and the other characters then take a bow to end the play.)
Time for reflection
Thank you for stories from all around the world.
Thank you that you love us, whoever we are and whatever we do,
and that Christmas shows your love.
'I want to see your baby boy' (Come and Praise, 117)