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A Christmas Calamity and the Sainsbury's Christmas Advert 2015

by Alan M. Barker

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To consider what it means to be a good neighbour.

Preparation and materials

  • Familiarize yourself with the story Mog’s Christmas Calamity by Judith Kerr (HarperCollins, 2015). You may like to have a copy to show the children during the assembly. 
  • Have available the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert 2015 and the means to show it during the assembly. It is 3.30 minutes long.


  1. Introduce the assembly by referring to the Sainsbury's Christmas advert 2015, which illustrates the importance of good neighbours. Establish that 'neighbours' are people who live near to one another. A 'good neighbour' is one who is thoughtful and kind.
  2. Refer to the story Mog’s Christmas Calamity. Show the book if you have a copy. Establish that a 'calamity' is an unforeseen disaster. Explain that you are going to show the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert and encourage the children to carefully observe and recall the sequence of events, beginning with Mog’s nightmare. 

    Show the Sainsbury’s Christmas advert 2015.

    Listen to a range of responses.

    Point out that a twitch of Mog’s tail disturbs some Christmas lights, cards topple over and a rolling ball turns on the cooker!  Observe that accidents and disasters do sometimes happen. Remind the children that when someone is seriously hurt or in danger, they should tell a grown-up or dial 999 to contact the emergency services, just as Mog happened to do.
  3. Ask the children to describe the feelings of the Thomas family on seeing the damage to their home. Move on to ask them how they felt when they saw the end of the story.The kindness and help of neighbours meant that everyone could share a happy Christmas together.  

    Ask the children if they can remember the different ways in which the neighbours helped. Listen to a range of their responses.
  4. Reflect that the first Christmas was also almost a calamity. When Mary and Joseph were unable to find anywhere to stay, the kindness of other people meant a great deal. A kind innkeeper offered them the warmth and shelter of a stable and the wise men brought generous gifts for the baby.
  5. Conclude with the thought that the story Mog’s Christmas Calamity reflects the true spirit (or meaning) of Christmas.  The help of friends and neighbours makes an enormous difference when something goes unexpectedly wrong.

Time for reflection

Mog’s Christmas Calamity is a popular book this year. Let’s pause to think about the books that we enjoy. Let’s be thankful for stories to enjoy at Christmas and throughout the year.

Let’s think about our neighbours. How can we help them this Christmas?

Let’s be thankful for good neighbours and the help of friends.

Either spend some time in quiet reflection or say the following prayer.

Dear Lord,
When dreams turn into nightmares and everything goes wrong, help us to share our problems and accept the help of others.
Thank you for the ways in which we can share together and be good neighbours, at Christmas and other times, too!


'Christmas time' (Come and Praise, 127)
'Flickering candles in the night' (Come and Praise, 114)
'Because it's Christmas' (Songs for Every Occasion, Out of the Ark Music, 2002)

Publication date: December 2015   (Vol.17 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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