The Christmas pageants are meant to be fun for everyone while presenting the Christmas story. Each of the pageants is a “play within a play.” There are plays that are silly and humorous for the older youth and adults, but those plays eventually lead into a traditional pageant complete with shepherds, angels, Mary, Joseph, and the animals.
Over the past 15 years I have written many pageants. My approach is ...
You will notice that each pageant has a similar structure. Each is a play within a play. Each play “ends” with a traditional Christmas pageant, complete with angels, shepherds, Mary, Joseph, wise men, the innkeeper, and even the soldier declaring that every one must be enrolled. “Caesar says so!” There is, however, a reason for the story to be told. It may be to give hope to the hopeless ("A Wild West Christmas") or a gift to Mrs. Luther ("A Luther's Christmas").
What happens when a rooster comes to an animal farm where the pigs have a firm grip on power and stirs up trouble? The pigs have ordered that no Christmas story be told, for they know it will give the animals hope, and hope can empower the weak and the lowly. What if someone dares to go against their wishes?
Captain Kirk is deathly ill. His wife, Captain Skirt, is in charge of the ship. They are lost in space and the crew has lost hope. She decides they need a Christmas pageant, but the “space age” director tells her that they must spruce it up for the new age. For instance, the wise men must use a transporter beam, not camels. The angels must use communicators, not their songs. Of course, each thing goes terribly wrong. It is Spock who points out the logic ... that the tale is timeless. Imagine the humor as Spock and Dr. McCoy fight over lines in the traditional Christmas story narration. In the end, Captain Kirk recovers because of the songs and a story told by the children.
The children of a contemporary church struggle to be part of decorating the Chrismon tree and the church. They are pushed aside. Only one kind man takes one child aside, in his sorrow, and tells him a tale. This man is known for his tall stories, but the child agrees to listen. It is the story of the children of Bethlehem, who were also pushed aside that first Christmas, but who witnessed and believed the wonderful story. Imagine the shepherd children, the child of the innkeeper, the children of Roman soldiers, all friends, and all witnessing parts of the story. In the end, they gather around the newborn King of their lives.
A simple yet very enjoyable pageant, this story was inspired by the tale that the hymn "Silent Night" was originally composed because mice chewed through the workings of the organ of the church. Suddenly the congregation needs a simple, quiet piece suitable for the guitar. In this pageant, the mice of the church sabotage the pageant in order that they might be included. After all, they are animals just as were those first animals at the manger! Humorous consequences develop as they strike terror into the heart of the pageant director who maybe has forgotten what the Christmas story is all about!
One man owns the town. He is cruel. He wants more. Even on Christmas Eve he has worked his evil trying to gain the land of a gentle old man. He has the man locked up and accused of stealing. He is to be hung in the morning. The old man's little friend, Cory, a young boy, is distraught, and wonders what he can do. Then it comes to him. We must tell him the Christmas story, right there in jail. In the end, justice is secured. The old man is freed, and the greedy man storms away, vowing revenge.
The simplest of the pageants to stage, this is also possibly one of the best. Martin Luther is accredited with bringing the first Christmas tree into the house. Can you imagine his wife's response? Luther argues with her, and tells her that it is a gift from the children. They then proceed to decorate it. Luther then tells his wife to sit back, that the children have a Christmas gift for her. What is it, she asks? The children of the church and of their home are going to give her the Christmas story.
One of the shorter pageants, this one is very simple to do. It takes place in heaven as the angelic choir practices for a big concert. God has not told them what it is for, but they know it is big. There is one angel in particular who wants to revolt until he finds out more. After all, how can we trust God? Gradually, the angel Gabriel and the others share what they were told to tell Mary and Joseph, and the story unfolds. How could this be true? God’s son, born to a poor virgin, in Bethlehem? How ridiculous!
One of the funniest pageants, this is the story told by one wise “person” about the many wise people who were told to find the baby. However, as they travel along, one by one these wise people fall prey to a variety of temptations. One leaves for fame, another for money… until there are only three left. Oh yes, there is also the one who is telling the story. How did she/he come to know the story if only three arrived in Bethlehem?
Jesus and the holy family were refugees. They fled to Egypt right after Jesus was born. What if there were elves who were fleeing the North Pole? A certain evil factory owner is doing everything he/she can to keep the elves out of town. In the end, maybe they need to hear how, like them, Jesus was a refugee.
Do pirates deserve to hear the Christmas story? Imagine pirates looking for a treasure which has been lost by a certain young boy. What must he do to save his own hide? What is the true treasure of Christmas? This is a very fun pageant complete with pirates and a nasty pirate wife.
We always assume that the animals were just thrilled to give up space in the stable for the holy family. What if they were not too happy about their crowded conditions and the treatment they receive on a daily basis? Now this woman is going to have a baby? There? This pageant can be different, as it allows for people in the audience to each be assigned a different animal and each time they hear the name of their animal, such as "dog", they make the sound for that animal. It makes for a lively production and a lot of fun.
Just in time for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation here is a Christmas pageant about Luther's number one adversary, Satan, trying to destroy Martin Luther's Christmas celebration. He and his little devils mess up the food, the music, the tree and more. However, when the "little devils" are sent to destroy the Christmas pageant, they are in for a surprise. Again, this is easy to do, and incorporates all the traditional children's parts, and audience participation singing!
This is a very very simply pageant with just a few parts outside of the usual Christmas pageant angels and shepherds. It involves Matilda the cow who is unable to get a part in a movie. She feels alone and worthless. She meets Ben a young boy who feels the same due to many things in his life. Comedy and the Christmas story ensue when Matilda gets a part in the church pageant.
This pageant begins at the “feeding of the 5000.” When it was originally written and performed our church did it in conjunction with a dinner. The feeding of the 5000 has taken place. The disciples and others are dealing with the leftovers and the Pharisees who would like to have Jesus “chill” as they say. A reporter from the Jerusalem Times arrives to try and get the scoop on this Jesus character. What is his angle and where did he come from? She interviews Zacheus, “crazy Mary”, and others. Then she interviews Mary, the mother of Jesus. As she does, the first part of the Christmas story is told. She then meets up with a very old Shepherd. He tells the rest of the story, because he was there. The reporter is skeptical but all along she is simply told to go and meet Jesus. Then she will understand.
This play is designed to take place during a lunch/dinner. HOWEVER it can be done without any meal. The changes are simple. There are many things that can be done during the course of this play, including music, hymns and more. There are many opportunities for people to be creative. There can be a “talent show” aspect to it. The basic plot is that the play takes place in dining room of the inn in Bethlehem. It is packed for the census. Many characters come and go, shedding light on the meaning of the Christmas story. There is a Roman soldier, a harlot, a tax collector, and dirty rejected shepherds. Joseph and Mary arrive and are given the “last room”, the maid’s quarters. However, after they arrive a very very old couple shows up. They say that they will die if they sleep out in the barn, which is all that is left. Only Mary and Joseph are willing to give up their room for the couple. They go outside, and through the course of the evening, the baby is born, the shepherds hear the news, and all arrive at the manger, including the inn keeper who says: “well, If I had know the savior was going to be born I would have made room.”
There is a family and mom and dad have decided to cut back on Christmas this year so that they can give money to provide water in Africa. The children are not thrilled about this. Dad decides to tell one of his “crazy tales” to make a point. The children all know it is made up but he tells it none-the-less. In his story at the time of Jesus’ birth, in Bethlehem the Romans had monopolized all the water for use in their hot tub. The Romans are rather comic in this play. The Jewish leaders decide that they must get the water to flow so that they do not have to carry it for miles. Comedy ensues as they try to duplicate the plagues of Egypt. However everything backfires. Nothing works. In the end Mary and Joseph arrive at the inn, but their water must be brought to them as well. The children assume Dad is going to have some miracle occur in the story, such as Angels destroying the hot tub. However, no miracles occur. Dad’s point is that sometimes the miracles take work, and sacrifice. The son says: So, nothing changed? The father says: You tell me, and the play ends with an account of the woman at the well asking for living water.
There is a garbage dump. Of course, the two Sesame Street garbage pail grouches live there and serve as commentators and narrators for the whole play. There are children who pick through the trash to survive. Now “their dump” is going to become an incinerator and they will no longer be allowed to salvage things and make a living. The plant operators give them a deal: Bring us something, anything, of lasting value, from the trash and we’ll let you work the trash before we burn it. They kids try but everything they bring is said to not be of lasting value. Finally the Grouches point out a box of pageant costumes. The kids decide to tell the Christmas story to the plant operators, because the Christmas story is forever.
What happens when a little restaurant owes the local mobster more than it can pay? Unfortunately they opened an “everything Okra” dinner in New York City! The owner tries everything to come up with “da cash” but nothing works. The Health Inspector is on his back. In the end, they decide they will put on a pageant to raise support for the restaurant. What might the outcome be? Is there an offer no one can resist?