UK Schools have gotten creative with the traditional Christmas Play with some casting roles for aliens, fairies, and even Elvis Presley. Parents are upset.
With secularism growing in general, UK schools have moved to more secular versions of the Christmas play. The plays are typically no longer referred to as a Christmas play, either, but have taken on more inclusive names like “Winter Celebration.” A growing number of changes are being made to the traditional nativity story that tells of the birth of Christ, and many of the stories have been the subject of quite a lot of artistic license including the presence of Elvis and punk fairies. Some productions feature such memorable characters as a lobster and a napkin. According to a survey conducted online, only about a third of schools in the UK now have a traditional Christmas play.
For some parents, like some users at Netmums, the trend of moving away from religiously based plays presents a big problem. Siobhan Freegard, a co-founder for the site, expressed concern, stating that parents were afraid traditional aspects of Christmas were getting “pushed aside.” Evangelical Alliance representative Don Horrocks warns that the changes are the result of “extreme political correctness or perhaps it reflects a nation too embarrassed to face up to its Christian heritage,” or it may be “a sign of collective guilt amidst national commercial frenzy.” His concern centers on “the younger generation who are being misled regarding their spiritual heritage.”
An online survey also tested the waters of parental response to the loss of the traditional Christmas play, and the findings were not unsurprising. About 65% of parents surveyed said they wanted their children to be in a traditional Christmas play, rather than a more secular version. Almost 50% of UK schools have begun to produce a modern nativity, while about 12% produce plays with no religious references at all.