Josie, Jake and the Paper Chains
Thinking about family at Christmas
by Janice Ross
Suitable for Reception / Key Stage 1
To consider the idea of family at Christmas.
Preparation and materials
A bright paper chain made with nine named links to fit with point 3 below.
1. Gather the children together to hear the story.
2. Tell the story.
Josie, Jake and the paper chains
Josie and Jake were friends. They had been friends in toddler group when they were just two years old and they had been friends at nursery when they were three and four years old. Now they were big, grown up and in primary school, and they were still good friends.
The children in Mrs Donaldson’s class had just finished a topic about families. They had learned all about the different families in their class. Some children had brothers and sisters; some didn’t have any. Some lived with their mummy, some with their daddy, and some with both. Other children lived with grandparents whilst others were cared for in different ways. There were all sorts of different families who loved and cared for one another.
Now, children,’ said Mrs Donaldson. ‘It is getting near to Christmas. Christmas is all about another family.’
‘It’s all about Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus,’ said Josie.
‘You are quite right, Josie,’ smiled Mrs Donaldson.
‘Baby Jesus had a mummy and a daddy. God had asked them to look after him.’
‘And he was born in a poor stable,’ offered Jake.
‘That’s right, Jake: there was no room anywhere else for him to be born. And that night other people came to visit. Shepherds and wise men.’
‘And sheep and camels too,’ interrupted Josie.
‘And don’t forget about the donkey and the cows and the mouse,’ added Jake.
‘There wasn’t a mouse!’ shrieked Josie, making Mrs Donaldson laugh.
‘Oh, there probably would have been mice in the stable too,’ she explained. ‘There were certainly lots of visitors to that first home.’
‘This Christmas time we may have many people sharing our homes too,’ Mrs Donaldson continued. 'Christmas is a special time when people want to be together to celebrate.’
‘My grandma always comes on Christmas Day for her dinner,’ said Jake’s friend Aaron.
‘So does mine, and my grandpa,’ added Sophie.
‘I’d like to show you who spends Christmas with me,’ Mrs Donaldson continued.
Show the completed paper chain and, pointing to each link, name each person as follows.
‘This chain is for my husband, these ones are for my three children, then this one is for gran, granddad, Aunt Bessie, and Mrs Stewart, my neighbour, and of course me too! Christmas is all about enjoying being family. How many links would there be in a paper chain for your family, Josie?’
‘I’d need four,’ said Josie.
‘I’d need seven for mine,’ said Sophie.
‘I’d need three, added Zeke.’
‘Paper chains remind me of family,’ Mrs Donaldson continued. ‘People who are joined by their love for one another.’
Mrs Donaldson looked serious. ‘Do you think there might be people on their own at Christmas?’ she asked.
‘No,’ said Jake. ‘Of course not.'
‘Well, sadly there are.’ Mrs Donaldson replied. ‘Sometimes there are old people who live on their own and can’t travel to be with their family. Sometimes there are people from other countries who have no family here, and sometimes there are people who don’t even have a place to call home.'
‘That’s so sad,’ said Josie.
‘Yes it is, Josie,’ nodded Mrs Donaldson. 'That’s why we need to think about a bigger family gathering, a place where anyone can come. In many places there is a very big family called the church family. A church family is made up of all sorts of people - old people, young people, children, and people from different countries. Many church families have big gatherings at Christmas so that no one is left out. Anyone is welcome to come and enjoy food and fun and friendship.'
‘That’s a good idea,’ said Jake. ‘Then everyone can have a happy Christmas.’
‘Can we make a paper chain for the stable family?’ asked Josie.
‘That’s a very good idea,’ Mrs Donaldson said with a smile.
‘And don’t forget the mouse,’ laughed Jake.
Time for reflection
Do we know people who might be on their own at Christmas? How could we help?
Thank you for our families and the good time we have together.
Please help people who are on their own this Christmas to find others who will share the happy day with them.
Thank you for churches and communities who are aware of lonely people and who provide a way of celebrating together.
Any Christmas song