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The Four Gifts Of Christmas

Four stories about Christmas with greate messages.

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The Four Gifts Of Christmas

Four stories about Christmas with greate messages.


Author:    Delvyn Case

Synopsis:

This is a set of four different Christmas stories.

The Four Gifts Of Christmas


THE FOUR GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS

A Christmas Play In Four Acts

by

Delvyn C. Case, Jr.


  The Four Gifts Of Christmas
 Copyright 2000  
by  Delvyn C. Case Jr.
All Rights Reserved
CAUTION: Professionals and amateurs are hereby warned that THE FOUR GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS is subject to a royalty.  It is fully protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America, the British Commonwealth, including Canada, and all other countries of the Copyright Union.  All rights, including professional, amateur, motion picture, recitation, lecturing, public reading, radio broadcasting, television, and the rights of translation into foreign language are strictly reserved.
    The amateur live stage performance rights to THE FOUR GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS are controlled exclusively by Drama Source and royalty arrangements and licenses must be secured well in advance of presentation.  PLEASE NOTE that amateur royalty fees are set upon application in accordance with your producing circumstances.  When applying for a royalty quotation and license please give us the number of performances intended and dates of production.  Royalties are payable one week before the opening performance of the play to Drama Source Co., 1588 E. 361 N., St. Anthony, Idaho 83445, unless other arrangements are made.      
    Royalty of the required amount must be paid whether the play is presented for charity or gain, and whether or not admission is charged.  For all other rights than those stipulated above, apply to Drama Source Company, 1588 E. 361 N. St. Anthony, Idaho 83445.
    Copying from this book in whole or in part is strictly forbidden by law, and the right of performance is not transferable.
    Whenever the play is produced, the following notice must appear on all programs, printing and advertising for the play, “Produced by special arrangement with Drama Source Co.”
    Due authorship credit must be given on all programs, printing and advertising for the play.

No one shall commit or authorize any act or omission by which the copyright or the rights to copyright of this play may be impaired.

No one shall make changes in this play for the purpose of production without written permission.

Publication of this play does not imply availability for performance.    Both amateurs and professionals considering a production are strongly advised in their own interests to apply to Drama Source Company for written permission before starting rehearsals, advertising, or booking a theatre.

No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form, by any means, now known or yet to be invented, including mechanical, electronic, photocopying, recording, videotaping or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher. TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHARACTERS………………………………………………………………ii

SCENES………………………………………………………………………..iii

SYNOPSES……………………………………………………………………iii

GENERAL PRODUCTION NOTES…………………………………………iv

PROLOGUE…………………………………………………………………….1

ACT I…………………………………………………………………………………….3

ACT II…………………………………………………………………………………..8

ACT III…………………………………………………………………………………15

ACT IV………………………………………………………………………………..24

EPILOGUE……………………………………………………………………36

SCENERY PLOT…………………………………………………………………..A

PROPERTY PLOT…………………………………………………………………A

COSTUME PLOT…………………………………………………………………….C



CHARACTERS
(in order of appearance)

PROLOGUE

            CHOIR

            CHOIR DIRECTOR

            NARRATOR

ACT I

            SHOPPERS–MOM, DAD, JESSIE, TERRI, and NICK from

ACT IV

            SHOPPER #1

            MARCIA, 30’s–40’s

            MICHAEL, her uncle

ACT II

         SHOPPERS–KATHY, CLAIRE, and MARTHA from ACT III

          SHOPPER #1

          MAN, a homeless veteran

          MOTHER

          DAUGHTER, teenage child of MOTHER

ACT III

            KATHY, a mother with pre-teen daughter

            CLAIRE, friend of KATHY

            MARTHA, friend of KATHY

ACT IV

            JESSIE, oldest child, teenager

            TERRI, middle child, pre-teen

            NICK, youngest child, 5-10 years old

            MOM

            DAD

EPILOGUE

            NARRATOR


SCENES

            ACT I:  The mall.  The first week of December.

            ACT II:  A sidewalk in the city.  The second week of December.

            ACT III:  Kathy’s house.  The third week of December.

            ACT IV:  Mom and Dad’s house.  Christmas eve.


SYNOPSES

            ACT I:  Marcia, exhausted by Christmas shopping, stops for a rest.  She meets her uncle who helps her bring back the joy of Christmas into her Christmas season.

            ACT II:  A Mother and Daughter meet a homeless man as they are shopping.  The Daughter gives him a touch of love, a Christmas gift he has not had.

            ACT III:  Claire and Martha have come to Kathy’s house to help her wrap Christmas presents.  Inadvertently they discover an envelope that contains a gift from Diane, Kathy’s daughter, to her mother.  The gift offers a way to restore peace in the family.
 
            ACT IV:  Three children come to the living room late Christmas eve.  They discover that the tree has only been partially decorated and there are no presents.  The children finish decorating the tree and put their presents under the tree.  As they sit enjoying the tree, they read the nativity section of the gospel of Luke.  After the children return to their bedrooms, the Mom and Dad come to the living room and find the Christmas tree decorated by the children.  They finish reading the nativity section of Luke.  The Christmas story provides hope for changes the family needs.

 
GENERAL PRODUCTION NOTES

            Choir:  The choir may be dressed in holiday clothes or for caroling.  A         small group for caroling can be used.

            Slides:  Slides will be shown of scenes at the mall (Act I), in-town Portland (Act II), outsides of homes decorated for Christmas (Act III), and living rooms of homes decorated with Christmas trees (Act IV).                            

            Costumes:  The Narrator and actors will be in contemporary dress for winter and Christmas.  Outer clothes will be used for Acts I-III.  Stylish dress clothes for Act III.  The Man in Act II should be dressed as a homeless individual.  The children and adults in Act IV are dressed in pajamas an bathrobes.

            Scenery:  Sets of the mall (Act I), in-town Portland (Act II), and insides of houses (Acts III and IV).  Each set should have Christmas decorations.




The Four Gifts Of Christmas



PROLOGUE

[House lights on]

[Stage lights on]

[Instrumental music as audience enters]

[Stage lights out as music ends]

[House lights out as music ends]

            

            Scene.  The stage is bare.

(CHOIR and CHOIR DIRECTOR enter.)

[Lights up and spots on CHOIR]

[Song]

[Lights and spots off CHOIR]

[Spot on NARRATOR as enters from stage right]

(The NARRATOR enters from stage right and crosses to the edge of the stage right stairs.  The NARRATOR is dressed in winter coat for the PROLOGUE and ACT I.  THE NARRATOR also has a scarf and gloves for ACT II.  The NARRATOR is attired in a suit/dress for ACT III.  The NARRATOR is attired in a sweater and skirt/pants for ACT IV and EPILOGUE.)               

            NARRATOR:  Welcome to our Christmas By The Bay production of… “The Gifts Of Christmas”.  Tonight/this afternoon we’ll experience four different sketches in drama and music of gift giving at Christmas.  You have already heard our choir (Points back to the choir) begin our presentation.

            (Turns toward left side of audience) Of course, gift giving started long ago after the birth of Jesus.  Wisemen from the East came to Bethlehem led by the star bringing gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh to the newborn King.  These were the first Christmas gifts.  

            In the third century a pastor in Asia Minor named Nicholas, later Saint Nicholas, brought attention to Christmas giving by providing money during the holiday season to three young sisters each in need of a dowry.  These girls came from a family of limited means.  In those days if a girl’s family couldn’t provide a sum of money to a prospective husband and his family, that girl wouldn’t be considered acceptable for marriage.   

            (Turns to right side of audience) Since then the practice of Christmas giving has spread around the world and has continued up to the present time.  Earlier, gifts were often simple consisting of little cakes or candies.  Often the decorations of these delicacies were of different colors to symbolize  Christ’s attributes such as white for his sinlessness.  Later gifts were more substantial and were tailored to people’s needs or…whims.  Today (Hands in the air), anything goes.

            (Turns to center audience) Together let’s enjoy these sketches of Christmas giving of today.  Each episode takes place one week apart leading up to Christmas….    

[Slides of the Mall]

[Spots on CHOIR]

[Song under NARRATOR]

(SHOPPERS dressed in coats carrying bags full of gifts cross the stage in groups and singly.  They enter from stage right and left.  They exit stage left and right.)

            …We begin at the mall early in the Christmas season just after Thanksgiving.  Who’s been at the mall this week?  Raise your hands (Narrator raises a hand)….

[Mall scenery for Act I is set up]

            …Don’t be shy!  (Looks around for raised hands) That’s it. (NARRATOR lowers hand) I was there, too.  (Earnestly) Wasn’t it crowded, even during the week?   A lot’s happening there.  It’s fun.  (Enthusiastically) Kinda get’s you into the Christmas spirit.  (Looks around at the scenery and points toward it.)  We’re ready to start.

(NARRATOR exits stage right.)

[Spot off NARRATOR as exits]

[Song ends]

[Spot off CHOIR]


ACT I


            Scene.  There are two chairs center stage.  

[Lights up on Stage]

[SFX:  Christmas mall music, mall sounds]

(SHOPPERS enter from stage right, cross to stage left, and exit.)

[Spots on MARCIA, SHOPPER #1, and MICHAEL as they enter]

(MARCIA enters from stage left with several large shopping bags and packages in each arm and hand.  She holds a small package in her teeth.–

the look is comical.  She staggers toward the chairs and reaches them.)

(SHOPPER #1 enters from stage right carrying a shopping bag.  The SHOPPER crosses to the chairs.  The SHOPPER  stops to watch MARCIA staggering with the bags.  The SHOPPER is amused.)

            SHOPPER #1:  Gotta a match?

            MARCIA:  (Garbled)  I don’t smoke….

            SHOPPER #1:  …I’ve always wanted to say that.  (Points with right hand) At least you’re (Emphasis)  going to have a Merry Christmas.

            MARCIA:  (Garbled) I don’t know.

(SHOPPER #1 crosses to stage left exit as Marcia begins to speak and exits.)

(MARCIA watches SHOPPER #1 exit and shakes her head.  MARCIA puts down some of the packages and collapses into the stage left chair.  She lets the rest of the packages fall to the ground.  She acts relieved to be sitting down.  She takes the package out of her mouth, looks at it, and puts it down in front of her.  MICHAEL enters from the stage right and watches her struggle with the packages.  He is carrying one bag.  He is amused at the sight of MARCIA struggling.  He shakes his head in amazement.  He crosses toward the chairs.)  

            MARCIA:  (To herself) What a relief!  (She takes off her shoes and rubs her feet.)

(MICHAEL reaches her.)

            MICHAEL:  Marcia!

            MARCIA:  (She recognizes him) Uncle Michael!  Great to see you!  Christmas shopping?

            MICHAEL:  Yep.  But the mall’s a bit too crowded for my tastes.

            MARCIA:  Seems like almost everyone’s here today.  And it’ll only get busier the next three weeks.

            MICHAEL:  I suppose.  (He motions to the chair)  Can I join you?

            MARCIA:  Of course.  It’s probably the last empty chair in the whole mall!

            MICHAEL:  Thanks (He sits down on stage right chair).  

(MARCIA sights deeply.  She takes a long list from her pocketbook and looks at it intently.)

            MICHAEL:  Busy season.

            MARCIA:  Busy?  Look!…  

(He looks at the packages and list.)

            MARCIA:  …And I’m nowhere done.  (She looks at the list and says anxiously) I’m not even half-finished with the kids.  And I’VE yet to get anything for Dave.  His parents (She shakes her head) ?  Whatever!  And you know his sister–she’s very particular; I’VE got to get exactly what she wants.  And here (She takes out another list from her pocketbook), I’VE got to send out all these Christmas cards (She adds this list to the list in her right hand).  But voila (She takes out two boxes of cards from a bag), I bought the cards today!  (Right hand up pumping) Yes!  Now I’VE to find  stamps…

            MICHAEL: … (Points toward right side of audience) I think they’ve got them down there…

(MARCIA looks at right side of audience.)

            MARCIA:  …Right. (Looks back at MICHAEL) (Speeds up)  And the tree–I don’t know when we can squeeze in a little time in the schedule for all of us to shop for one. (Disappointed)  I’LL probably have go on my own next week to buy it.  I’VE decorated some of the house; but the kids want me to pull out all of the decorations I had up last year–some are still stuck way back in the attic.  (Faster)  And the week after that I’LL have to start cooking (Takes out another list from her pocketbook and puts in her right hand)–I’LL freeze everything I make–that’ll help.  The week of Christmas will be, of course,  nonstop.  The presents will have to be wrapped.  Pies made. Cranberry sauce, stuffing, salad, etc. etc. Look (Takes out another list from her pocketbook and puts in her right hand.  Now she has a fistful of lists.).  Christmas day will be a total blur.  And then, of course, there’s the…

            MICHAEL:  …(Hands down to slow MARCIA down) Whoa!

            MARCIA;  Oh (She sighs and shakes her head) !   (Leans toward him and puts her head on his shoulder for a moment)  I’M sorry.  I got carried away.   (In almost in a whisper)  Is it awful to admit that I almost wish Christmas were over (She sighs deeply) ?

            MICHAEL:  (Chuckles) No. I think your reaction’s just about typical for this time in the season.

            MARCIA:  What have I done wrong?

            MICHAEL:  (Shakes his head)  Nothing really.  But I think you’re missing the joy of Christmas.

            MARCIA:  Oh don’t get me wrong, uncle.  I’m happy.  I am.

            MICHAEL:  No, I mean the joy.  Remember what the angel said to the shepherd on the night Jesus was born, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people”?  One thing that so many people miss at Christmas is the very excitement of that message.

            MARCIA:  Who has time for joy?  I just want to make it through Christmas, alive!  

            MICHAEL:  (He looks at her hands)  Let me see your hands.

            MARCIA:  My hands? (She holds out her hands.)

            MICHAEL:  See, look….

(She looks at her hands.)

            MICHAEL:  …Your right hand–look at all those lists of things to buy and things to do….

(She looks.)

            MICHAEL:  …And your left…

(She looks at her left hand.)

            MICHAEL: …empty.  If we’re not careful, the hustle and bustle can rob us of the joy.  If we’re not careful, our many events, deadlines, or demands can keep us from the good news of great joy.

            MARCIA:  Huh?

            MICHAEL:  If you’ve not stopped to sing a simple Christmas carol, you’ve missed the joy.

            MARCIA:  (Scratches her head with her left hand) I don’t have time to…

            MICHAEL:  …How about dinner?

            MARCIA:  (Throws hands up in the air) Dinner?  (Hurriedly) Why, the kids come home late from school because of track practice.  Then we wolf down dinner.  From soup to nuts, I’d figure about ten minutes flat.  How’m I doing?

            MICHAEL:  (Right index finger up to make a point) I’M…

            MARCIA:  …Then they’re up to their rooms to study.  And that’s it for the night, unless they’re on the phone for an hour–my daughter, anyway.

            MICHAEL:  I’M exhausted just listening to you.

            MARCIA:  I need a break (Leans back).

            MICHAEL:  Do you say “Grace”?

            MARCIA:  (Sheepishly) Most of the time, yeah.  The short version.

            MICHAEL:  The short version(Smiles).   How about reading one or two…

(MARCIA looks hassled.)

            MICHAEL:  …OK one of the Old Testament prophecies during dinner each evening until Christmas?…  

(MARCIA looks relieved.)

            MICHAEL:  …It’ll help you pause to bring that sense of joy into your life (He points to her empty left hand).

            Marcia:  (Sits forward) (With interest)  Maybe.  (Thinking) And I could ask my pastor for some suggestions, though I know some verses from Isaiah myself, anyway.  (She smiles) In one of our old Bibles, the Messianic prophecies have a star at the end of each verse.  That makes it easy to find them.  

(He nods.)

            MICHAEL:  That was your mother’s Bible.

            MARCIA:  It was (She smiles).  (Thinking)  We co

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