Tag Archives: Christmas

Merry Christmas!

So we’ve finally reached Christmas Day. In previous years the choir has been required to sing at the 9:30am service on Christmas morning, so we have sung at that, and then gone up to my parents after that. However this year the choir aren’t required, so our final Christmas service was the Midnight service last night/early this morning.

Yesterday was pretty busy. We both sang at the 2pm Christingle service, and then Beth went home to phone her family in Canada, and I waited around to see if I was needed at 4pm, and also to provide moral support to Matt who had been struggling with the broadband at the Parish Centre for two days.

The Christingle services were well attended as usual, although we had produced 200 tickets for each service (one at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm) we don’t check tickets on the way in, so numbers wise we had almost 700 people between the three services. Next year we’re probably going to have to revise up the number of Christingles we make too, as with increased numbers of children at the 2pm and 4pm, despite Steve Clayton making a Christmas Eve dash to Tesco, and a team making more Christingles during the 4pm service, we still ran out at 6pm.

The Midnight service was also packed out, with people standing in the north aisle, and also a large group of people who stood in the vestry during most of the service. Rev Richard, preached a pretty good sermon challenging many of the non-regulars who turned up to maybe come along a bit more often. For all the Christmas services this year he had had special information sheets prepared, in the case of the Christingle focusing on our Family Services, and for Midnight on the Church community, with a tear off slip to sign people up on our mailing list. It will be interesting to see if we get an increase in numbers as a result.

Anyway, the choir now gets a week off, which we’re looking forward too. By the end of the service last night my voice was starting to go, with me just not able to get the bottom bass notes in some places.

Beth and myself would like to wish everybody a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.

Final Rehearsal

Tonight was the last Youth Group session of the term, and the last chance for a proper rehearsal for the Youth Group Christmas performance, aside from a quick run through on the stage just before the village concert on Wednesday.

This time Beth and myself were with the older group, who are doing a play in modern dress, with Mary and Joseph in Reading. We had a fifty percent success rate with lines, in that half the cast, mainly the girls, had learnt their lines, whilst the boys kept resorting to the script. One memorably said ‘this is like a wedding’ when Beth had prompted him an entire speech line by line.

The other quite amusing moment was as a result of the young gentleman playing Joseph being at the not wanting to touch a girl stage – which as the script calls for him to kiss Mary at one point proved somewhat of a problem. Needless to say in a year or two we’ll probably have the opposite problem, with him being unable to keep his hands off! Anyway, some quick thinking on Beth’s part, has resulted in a script tweak, so he goes to kiss Mary, but before he actually has to get too close, she goes into labour…

Anyway, the big nativity sketch that the other group is doing seems be going well, we’ll have to keep our fingers crossed that it will be all right on the night!

Christmas Complications

Reading regularjen.com today, Jen was blogging about the problems of giving and recieving Christmas presents to and from the other side of the pond, something that Beth and myself have discovered over the past few years. I guess it’s one of the things that doesn’t really come up in those living abroad guides – but maybe it should.

Ourselves and our Canadian relations have tried various different things when it comes to Christmas and birthdays. On one occasion Beth bought presents for Canadian friends and relations over here, but then ended up spending almost as much again in postage. On another occasion a Christmas present from Canada has been three times over the Atlantic when the post office in Canada made a mistake on the parcel, and the British Post Office sent it back return-to-sender, by sea. We eventually got it just before Easter!

The method that worked best was of course the year we went to Canada for New Year, so we packed all the presents in the suitcase. However, second best is using the wonders of Internet shopping. We have accounts on a selection of big Canadian online retailers, all of whom are quite happy to take our UK credit card.

The key thing to remember though is to use the local site for the destination, so in our case amazon.ca for sending to Canadian relations.

Traditional Christmas

One of the great things about Christmas at St James is all the traditions. I’m not talking here about the ‘traditional’ Christmas, it’s the fact that every year we do much the same thing.

One of the traditions, is the annual struggle to get the Youth Group through their contribution to the Christmas Concert, that is held in the village hall a few days before Christmas. As usual there is an initial lack of enthusiasm from the teenagers, balanced against the fact that usually everybody else in the Church actually quite enjoys their contribution when it is all done.

Having said that, it is usually a pretty high stress exercise from the point of view of us Youth Leaders, plus the fact that in quite a few cases we – from the young peoples point of view are asking them to do what they regard as slightly bizarre things. It’s only on the night when it gets a laugh from the audience that the realise why.

We’ve had it all over the years, including cast members learning their lines in the wings, a scene with Mary and Joseph crossing the border into Egypt – having forgotten to pick up the baby Jesus prop, wardrobe malfunctions everything.

This year we have rapping angels, who are having great difficulty dropping out of their well spoken Berkshire accents. We also have a possible line modification that we came up with tonight – that the youth group young people won’t get, but we think will probably get a good laugh. The scene is three shepherds grumbling about life, and one of them says: “You know, I never wanted to be a shepherd…” – now we really think that what would get a good laugh will be adding “I wanted to be a lumberjack” after that, before carrying on…

Anyway, only two more rehearsals to go – and do they know their lines? Of course not – they’ll be learning them on the day as usual! Just another Finchampstead Christmas tradition.