Mary Medlicott, Storyteller and Author - Storyworks

Going to see Father Christmas

It’s Anniversary time. Believe it or not – and I find it amazing – this is my 500th blog. Sometimes it’s a bit of a headache deciding what to put into it. But I’m always glad when I’ve done it. To celebrate, I want to say two huge thank-yous.  One is to you reading it now. The other is to Paul, my amazingly kind and patient husband who deals with all technical issues and cheers me up if I get a bit stuck.

Appropriately enough in this Anniversary week, I’ve been given a lesson in not taking things for granted. Lockdown? Lazy? While I’ve been doing my blog each week, I’ve not actually taken a look at my main website for a while now. I’ve just taken it for granted and week by week carried on writing my blog which, of course, is associated with the website but can be read quite independently.

Then the other day I got an email from a patient person who’d been trying to locate my Christmas action chant for children, Going to See Father Christmas. This is basically a Christmas version of the well-known Going on a Bear Hunt which claims to be on my main website – but it isn’t!

Paul has not yet managed to correct that but he found a way to put it in today’s blog so you can listen to Going to See Father ChristmasAnd may I say that whenever I’ve used it with big or small groups of children at this time of year, it has gone down incredibly well. Of course, for religious or other reasons, Christmas is not an acceptable festival to everyone. Where it is, Going to See Father Christmas is enormous fun. So here are a few thoughts on how to proceed if you decide to introduce it to any children you know.

First of all, it should be obvious that chants like this should be done with verve. So please remember to make it feel very active. Hands tapping on lap to suggest the walking. Voice varying in loudness and tone to convey awe and excitement at the prospect of actually seeing Father Christmas. Hands tapping the lap with increased speed to suggest the running away. It’s the verve that makes it fun and that gets children asking to do it again and again. So do please remember that, even if they get a bit over-enthusiastic in the process of joining in, they are expressing their enjoyment.

So there we are. Also do please remember that to be successful over time with children or adults, storytelling has to be versatile both in content and style of delivery. So if any related little stories come to mind, don’t forget to tell them.  One personal one which I love is a memory of one Christmas when Paul and I were on our way to spend Christmas in my beloved Pembrokeshire where I grew up. Late at night, we were nearly at our village when – yes, truly – we saw Father Christmas, crossing the small country road in front of us in his chariot and in full regalia. He was obviously on his way home for a glass of Christmas cheer after an evening’s work!

PS: A version of Going to See Father Christmas was included in a collection of my children’s stories first published in 2004 by Featherstone Press as Cooking Up a Story. It was subsequently republished as Telling Up a Story with a CD of me doing the telling up with some lovely musical accompaniment and sound effects by Bill Roberts.

Thanks to Paul who has done the technical transfer, you can listen to Going to see Father Christmas here just by clicking the > below.

Whoopee!

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