Kitty Coin

Kitty Coin
Kitty Coin

A Christmas and Chanukah Play

Narrator: Two friends, Greg and Charlie, meet at a park on a Saturday afternoon. Greg was carrying a basketball.

Greg: Hi, Charlie! Want to shoot some hoops?
Charlie: I really want, Greg, but the court looks crowded right now. How about getting a walk, first?
Greg: Okay.

Narrator: The two boys start walking and Greg dribbles the ball as they go.

Greg: Is the your family in getting ready for Christmas, yet?
Charlie: Well, actually, we celebrate Chanukah. Since it starts in two weeks, this year, my Parents have started shopping for gifts, I'm sure. My sister and I are making it a calendar. Boy, they were surprised when they see the pictures we chose! I can not wait to give it to them.
Greg: I guess we will have more time to get ready for Christmas, Dec. 25. My little brother sister and brother still think Santa brings their presents and leaves them under our tree. Your calendar sounds like a neat idea but I think I'll buy my family some gifts in the mall.
Charlie: For Chanukah, my parents give my sister and me a gift each one of the eight night holiday takes. Some Jewish families give presents at once, as you do.
Greg: Why does Hanukkah last for eight days?
Charlie: Well, you see, the Assyrian Greek King Antiochus IV captured and desecrated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. By the time the Maccabees recaptured it, with enough holy oil to last for only one day. But guess what! It wound up lasting for eight days instead! We light a candle in a menorah, or candelabra, every night. On the first night, we light one, the second night, two, and so on until all the candles lit on the eighth night. The tallest candle is shammash and we use it to light all the others.
Greg: Wow! We light a candle, too, but for other reasons. You know that Christmas is the day Jesus was born. Well, the medieval times, there is a legend that the Christ Child has traveled to the Earth in search of places he was accepted. When we put a candle in our windows or along our walkways, This is to signify that he is welcome in our home. Of course, no one knows how he was dressed so the custom arose that people were not turned away at Christmas.
Charlie: That's interesting. What do you do on Christmas Eve?
Greg: We celebrate Christmas Eve by having a large mass in the church and singing Christmas carols. Do you know the most famous carol service comes from Cambridge in England? It was first performed in 1918 from King's College as a way to celebrate the World War I has ended!
Charlie: Well, for Chanukah, no special services in the temple. We make the party, though, and celebrate with eating festive foods, dancing, playing, and opening presents. All our relatives get together and that makes me happy. Because oil is so important to Chanukah, many foods made to it. My favorite is potato latkes, or pancakes, served with apple sauce ... yum! Do you eat anything special for Christmas?
Greg: Yep! Our family is eating roast turkey! Some of my friends' families eat ham, though. Want to know what I love most? Christmas cookies and apple pie! My grandparents like fruitcake. I love my whole family came over. What else do you do with Hanukkah?
Charlie: My family plays our favorite game, dreidel. A dreidel is a spinning top with four Hebrew letters on it. We play all the nuts and puts in three to kitty to begin. If someone spins and perch to three letters, either do nothing, take half the kitty, or put on three more nuts. The lucky player who lands on Gimmel, though, wins the whole pot! We also like getting chocolate candy wrapped in gold paper to resemble coins. It's called Chanukah gelt gelt because the Hebrew word for money. What is your favorite part of Christmas?
Greg: Hmm. I love so many things about it but I guess I really enjoy how my family came together and decorates our Christmas tree. Everyone hangs his part and crystal ornaments, tinsel, and strung popcorn. And, oh, the singing! All of us are smiling and happy. In By the way, did you know that many Christmas customs we observe today started in Germany? The English Queen, Victoria, visited relatives there and love Prince Albert. After they got married and returned to England, the English people loved their trees and hand-blown glass ornaments. In the U.S., full of tradition probably started with Hessian troops during the American Revolution or the German immigrants. In 1851, a farmer from the Catskill Mountains green of the trees sold in New York City and by 1920, the custom of having a Christmas tree is common. I can not imagine Christmas without one!

Narrator: The boys came on the basketball court, again.

Charlie: Well, we're back where we started! I learned a lot about Christmas. You know, even though we have different religions and celebrate different holidays, we both love getting together with our family in this time of year and enjoy the spirit of exchanging gifts.
Greg: Yeah, it's nice to know that we have something in common besides basketball. Thanks for telling me about Hanukkah. The court's pretty empty, now. Would you still have time to shoot some hoops?
Charlie: You bet!

Narrator: The boys take off for the court and start playing basketball.

Activities for use in this play
1. The top play can be read by three children or used as part of a program with the inclusion of Christmas, Chanukah, and winter songs and dances.
2. With children's attempts at writing a similar play about two other countries' observances.
3. Make a comparison chart for Christmas and Chanukah and include information from the play: religious importance, presents, candles, celebrations, and foods.
4. Do more research other symbols of each holiday.

However you celebrate the season, HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL!

About the Author

Freda J. Glatt, MS, retired from teaching after a 34-year career in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. Her focus, now, is to reach out and help others reinforce reading comprehension and develop a love for reading. Visit her site at Reading is FUNdamental!

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