If ever there was a moment to make a mother (or father, of course) shed a tear, it's got to be your little one's first Christmas concert or nativity play.
I've written about this before and I stand by what I said then:
"The world can be roughly divided into two kinds of parents; those whose offspring consistently land the starring role in the school Nativity play every year without fail, and those whose little darlings are routinely relegated to the part of 'crowd member', back-end of the donkey or - worst of all - bale of hay. (Yes, I actually know someone whose child was cast as a hay bale in the school Christmas play...)
This year both my lads landed juicy roles in their school Christmas plays and I couldn't be more chuffed BUT in the past they've been everything from sheep and mice to travellers (that's people travelling to Bethlehem, um, obviously...) and - my personal favourite - aliens.
(You should have seen Granny's face when she asked my son what part he would be playing in the school Nativity play and he tried explaining that one to her...)
Personally, I am a total sucker for Nativity plays and Christmas concerts. They're one of my absolute favourite things about being a parent. Nothing else can make me swell with pride, sob as if my heart is breaking, or feel more brimful of festive thankfulness all within one hour.
Last year in the Playpennies office we were laughing over this piece in the Telegraphabout the tantrums and drama that the school Christmas play can cause - and that's just among the parents, never mind the kids.
I just love this comment for its pure absurdity:
"In extreme cases, parents have been known to take their grievances direct to rival parents, as one mum recounts: "My daughter was picked quite out of the blue as the main part in a school play. One of the mums whose child normally got the main role came up to me and said, 'I don't understand why your daughter has got the part. There isn't anything special about her.' " Practise your hard stare in advance."
From teachers issuing beyond-ridiculous instructions for the Christmas concert costumes which parents must provide, to the extreme lengths some parents go to in order to land their child the lead role in the Christmas play, it seems many of us lose our marbles a little when it comes to our children's Christmas performances. And don't get me started on the whole ban on photographing or videoing your child's Christmas concert - fortunately our school organises a recording of the concert but I always feel a little sad that I can't snap my little sheep / mouse / traveller / alien in action.
We'd love to hear what part your little one is playing in their Christmas play - and how you feel about shepherds and angels being steadily replaced by aliens and travellers - when it comes to unconventional Nativity plays. And of course if you've got a funny or cringe-worthy story about the Christmas concert, we'd love to hear all about it over on our Facebook page.