A great way to get into the holiday spirit and let everyone get involved is to put on a short Christmas play. The plays, based on old folktales, are suitable for all ages and can be performed by older children and/or adults. Once you download the scripts using Adobe, make copies for everyone involved.
The Thirteenth Cookie
In this play, which is based on an old Dutch New York folktale that tells how a "baker's dozen" came to be, the baker and his cat are happy to make money during the holidays. One Christmas Eve, an old woman comes to visit and demands more than a dozen cookies, but wants to pay for only twelve. The baker refuses to share and insults the woman, who curses him. Soon, everything goes wrong, and the baker is near despair when he remembers the spirit of the season and calls on Saint Nicholas for help. The baker - and his cat - learn a lesson in giving and sharing. The play has three characters and can be performed by older children or adults.
The Sole of Christmas
Learn about giving help to others in this play, based on The Elves and the Shoemaker tale. A poor shoemaker and his wife are about to lose their home when three elves turn up to help secretly. Each night, the elves make wonderful new shoes, and each day, the shoemaker wonders where his good fortune comes from. Will the shoemaker be able to succeed without help? And will he learn how to share his good fortune with the magical beings? There are up to eight characters in this play although roles can be doubled as needed. The roles can be performed by children and adults.
Resources for Short Christmas Plays
Helpful resources for plays abound online.
Companies often charge for the scripts, and require royalties for performing the plays, which can add up quickly:
- Pioneer Drama offers a number of plays for adults to perform to celebrate the holiday season. All are one hour or less in length.
- Playscripts, Inc. has many plays for children and adults, and the website is easy to explore.
- The Twelve Plays of Christmas, available from Amazon.com, is an intriguing collection of classic Christmas plays by noted writers such as Dylan Thomas, Charles Dickens, Thornton Wilder, and Langston Hughes. These are not simple plays to perform, but they are very popular with audiences.
- Theatrefolk has short plays for Christmas, many based on folktales.
- The English site Playstage Junior sells scripts for unusual holiday plays as well as pantos (a very English and fun holiday tradition).
Get festive and fun free plays without any royalty fees or script payments by checking out these options:
- Free Christmas Comedy Plays - Get two fun plays, one about a cookie problem and one about holiday office antics, that are sure to bring a grin.
- Christmas Church Plays - Two versions of the Nativity are available: one for kids and one for teens and adults.
- Children's Christmas Plays - Kids will enjoy these options geared towards children - one is about the holiday spirit and the other features a Christmas puppy.
Writing Your Own Play
Although there are online resources offering scripts for Christmas plays, you may want to consider writing your own play if you can't find what you need. This will make it easier to accommodate the number of actors you have available, the limitations of your performance space, and any specific costume requirements you might have.
If you don't want to create a play entirely from scratch, start by adapting your favorite Christmas poem, book, or movie.
- You can visit the Playwriting 101 site for tips on how to write a play that will be enjoyable for your audience.
- The Playwrights' Center has excellent guidelines for writing a short play.
- For tips about writing plays that kids will love, you'll find Writer's Digest has some great suggestions.
Start Staging Your Holiday Play
Theatre can be challenging, but holiday theatre gives back much more than it takes to organize. Try a short play to start, and you'll be staging full-length shows in no time.