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Issue No.117
17 December 2018

Extra Resources 107

The Meaning of Christmas


A Christmas dialogue by Tom Peters for use in a variety of situations.


If you are planning to use it within a Carol Service, you might want to set out some props in advance. "Voice 2" may be sitting behind a desk, or in a comfortable chair, with a second chair ready for "Voice 1". There is freedom for either of the actors to move around as space allows. Stage direction has been kept to a minimum.


If you are planning to present the scene outside of a church setting, you may need to adapt it to suit the surroundings.


Voice 1enters:


Voice 1:         Speaks to the congregation

                        I wanted Christmas this year to be somewhat more complete

                        and got myself in such a pickle at the thought of such a feat.

                        I had to seek some help somehow. I had to have a think.

                        I know what I can do, I thought, I'll see my local shrink!


Voice 2:          Come in. Sit down. I'm here to help. For there's no need to doubt it.

                        Sign here, there, here and here - and tell me all about it.


Voice 1:         Sits down

                        Well, Doctor - may I call you that? It's really quite simple you see.

                        I think I need some counseling and a spot of CBT.


Voice 2:          Don't fret yourself: just take a breath, for you may rest assured

                        there's nothing you can't tell me here that I haven't heard before.


Voice 1:          Well ...

            You're not a priest, I know of course, but I feel it's a confession.

                        I must make Christmas more complete, it's a bit of an obsession.


Voice 2:          Indeed, quite so, continue, do.


Voice 1:                                                          Tell all?


Voice 2:                                                                      Please, go to town!


Voice 1:          Right, well, I'll start …


Voice 2:                                              And would you mind if I wrote a few things down?


Voice 1:          Not at all. I've always had this urge, and thought it right and meet

                        but this year more than ever, to make Christmas more complete.

                        So I sat down and made a list of things I'd need for sure:

                        boxes from the attic and from the shops that I'd procure.

                        An oven-ready turkey with sausage meat and frills,

                        mince pies, clotted cream, indigestion pills,

                        Christmas tree and fairy, festive decorations,

                        several bottles of bubbly to add some sparkle to the celebrations.

            Gifts galore, cards and tags, ribbon, tape and wrappings.

            And a coffee friend - who I warned not to get caught in all the trappings.

            Goose fat, pâté, pickled livers, whiskey marmalade.

            And for the glazed lamb cutlets spicy clover marinade.

            My coffee friend said, "Really, dear, it all sounds rather neat

            for one to be so resolute in making Christmas more complete."

                        But doctor am I going mad, do you think me quite absurd?


Voice 2:          Heavens no, statistics show you're sane, I hang on your every word.


Voice 1:          Well …

            I got the words toAuld Lang Syneto sing for old time's sake.

            Tickets for a pantomime. I baked and iced a cake.

            Hung holly from the letter box, in the hall some mistletoe:

            felt sure it was getting colder so I placed a bet on snow.

            Though with all this climate change you never really know.


Voice 2:          Quite so. Pray proceed: no need to be discreet.


Voice 1:          Well, I thought I was well on my way this year

                        to making Christmas more complete,

                        as I joined the festive shopping throng, and kept an eye out for a bargain.

            I'd drop a coin in a tin for some famine abroad,

            then have lunch, for I'd be starving.

            And it's cheaper by the litre to buy wine in by the dozen …


Voice 2:          I've heard it said.


Voice 1:                                  … white or red. A trick learned from my cousin.


Voice 2:         How interesting.


Voice 1:                                  I tell no lies, the truth I'm not embroidering.


Voice 2:          You learnt it from your cousin, eh? It's just that's very Freudian.

                        But no matter. I digress, carry on, keep talking, relax.

            Far be it from me to stop your Christmas story in its tracks.


Voice 1:         (If sitting, stands up)

                        Well …

            I had everything that one would need. A house full of festive décor.

            The season of goodwill was here - I couldn't want for more.


Voice 2:          You couldn't want for more?


Voice 1:                                                          Except I found that I was wishing

                        I had that certainje ne sais quoithat always seems to be missing.


Voice 2:          Elaborate, if you will, the facts must be acquired.


Voice 1:          I thought my Christmas all complete, but all I was tired.

                        Doctor, what if this is one big sleep and really we're all dreaming?


Voice 2:          Go on.


Voice 1:          Well don't you think that Christmas always lacks a bit of meaning?

                        It's not that my belief in Santa Claus begins to wither,

                        but I'm nothing but a gift receiver and a present giver.

                        No more, no less, it gives me stress. Oh, a cure for these Christmas ills!


Voice 2:          It could be Seasonal Dysfunction Disorder. I could pop you on some pills?


Voice 1:          I don't need pills. It's something else. My wits for an answer depend.


Voice 2:          Sit down do, and calm yourself.


Voice 1:         Sits down.

                        I'm troubled by my coffee friend!


Voice 2:          Ah, fresh revelation. The truth will out - here's a box of tissues for tears.


Voice 1:          She's a little rum my friend, you see, and about Christmas has wild ideas.


Voice 2:          Go on.


Voice 1:          She's back on her own two feet now, of course,

                        and to the bottle she's brought a halt;

                        and really most of the things she says one takes with a pinch of salt.


Voice 2:          I see.


Voice 1:          But making Christmas complete, she says, is more about being spare,

            and less about plenty and gratification, for the stable, she says, was bare.

            The twenty-fifth of December, says she, is less of the worship of things,

            And more of a wailing, naked babe, making voiceless angels sing.


Voice 2:          How interesting.


Voice 1:          She's quite a card, but my head, I found it shook.


Voice 2:          She could be a case study for my latest book.


Voice 1:          The season of goodwill, she weeps, amounts to global treason.


Voice 2:          Why?


Voice 1:          Goodwill, so she often said, does not need a season.

            And as for all our churches and the roofs over our heads,

            the places we sing carols or where we're tucked up in our beds.

            We should unlock their doors and then, them wide open fling,

            and let the homeless and the stranger and the outcast in.

            Then, and only then, she sobbed, will heaven and earth meet,

            for the very first Christmas will make your Christmas all complete.

            And with that, she took her hat and left money on my plate,

            and went on her way.


Voice 2:          She's obviously of a fragile mental state.


Voice 1:          So dear doctor, do forget your medicines and their doses

                        and pray tell do, in your professional view, what is your prognosis?


Voice 2:          My medical journals I'll consult, and then as a matter of fact,

                        I'll do some research, speak to colleagues, you have my word on that.

                        But really, now, if I take your sort code, account and name of bank

                        you may return again and again. There lies the cure, to be frank.


Voice 1:         (Stands and speaks to the congregation.)

                        That's such a shame. I must head for the door.

                        I've spent so much this Christmas, as a church mouse, I am poor.


Voice 2:         (Stands and moves towards Voice 1)

                        Then I bid you good day. I'm busy you see but, if you can, be of good cheer.


Voice 1:          So thinking about meaning at Christmas will have to wait until next year.