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Special Gifts

Donít judge a gift by its wrapping

by K. J. Lacey

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To encourage us to say thank you for our Christmas gifts, including the gift of baby Jesus.

Preparation and materials

  • You will need two tables for ‘wrapping stations’. On one table, there should be Christmas wrapping paper, sticky tape, a ribbon, a bow and an empty box of chocolates. On the other table, there should be some sheets of newspaper, sticky tape and a full box of chocolates.

  • During the assembly, you will be asking for two volunteers to come and wrap the boxes. You may wish to preselect the volunteers so that they dont comment on the fact that one box is much lighter than the other.

  • Have available the following YouTube videos and the means to show them during the assembly:

    - ‘How to wrap a basic box’ (3.06 minutes long), available at: https://youtu.be/5Xc6nK9xTTo
    - ‘Away in a manger with lyrics - Christmas carols’ (2.35 minutes long), available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-VAke_WpwM

  • Optional: you may wish to include prizes in the assembly.

  • Optional: you may wish to light an Advent candle during the Time for reflection part of the assembly.

Assembly

  1. As the children enter the room, play the YouTube video ‘How to wrap a basic box’, available at: https://youtu.be/5Xc6nK9xTTo

  2. Ask if any of the children have ever taken so long when wrapping a present! Point out that although the person in the video seems to take forever wrapping the perfect parcel, most of us love getting a gift that is beautifully wrapped. It is special to think that someone has taken so much care about a present for us.

  3. Explain that, as we move closer to Christmas, we may start thinking about what presents to buy our families and friends. Wrapping these gifts is important. It shows that someone has put in time and effort, and it makes the present look even more attractive.

  4. Tell the children that you want to see how quickly two of them can wrap a present. Ask two volunteers to come forward and stand behind each wrapping station.

  5. Give the children two minutes to wrap their box of chocolates. Teachers can help them if necessary.

  6. When the wrapping is finished, invite two further volunteers to the front. Ask the children which present looks the most attractive and which they would prefer to be waiting for them on Christmas morning. Ask one of the new volunteers which present looks more appealing (hopefully, they will pick the one in Christmas wrapping). Give that present to them and give the other present to the second volunteer.

  7. Ask the volunteers to open their presents one at a time, starting with the present wrapped in Christmas paper.

  8. Point out that one present looked more attractive, but on the inside, it was disappointing. However, the one that was wrapped in newspaper contained a very pleasant surprise!

Time for reflection

It is special to receive presents at Christmas. However, presents are not the only things that are important at Christmastime.

Christians believe that Jesus was a gift that God gave to the world at Christmas. Many people expected that God would send a great king to earth. They thought that the king would be rich, surrounded by other royalty and born in a palace. However, God sent Jesus as a tiny baby, born in a smelly stable, visited by even smellier shepherds and lying in a manger that was usually used to feed animals.

Christians believe that although Jesus came as a baby, he really was the king that everyone was waiting for. He was the perfect gift at Christmas!

If available, light the Advent candle and remind the children that the baby in the manger grew up to be the light of the world.

Prayer
Dear God,
Thank you for Christmastime and all the joy that it brings.
Thank you for decorations, parties and presents!
Thank you most of all that Christmas is a time to remember the arrival of baby Jesus.
Please help us to spend time this year thinking about the things that make Christmas so special.
Amen.

Song/music

‘Away in a manger with lyrics - Christmas carols’, available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-VAke_WpwM

Publication date: December 2017   (Vol.19 No.12)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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