This past week in Nájera has been filled with Christmas festivities! I didn’t have class at all with infantíl because they were preparing for their class Christmas play… Which were all adorable. It made this week pretty laid back. With the rest of my classes I used the time to present over the story of Santa Claus, have the younger ones write letters to Santa, and watch “Mickey Mouse’s Once Upon A Christmas.” Another activity they really liked was a game I used to play with my soccer team at our Christmas party. I bought two little gifts and gave them to students on opposite sides of the circle, then read the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Each time I said the word “a” they had to pass the gift to the right, and each time I said “the” they passed the gift to the left. Whoever ended up holding the gift at the end of the poem got to open and keep it. It was a hit!
I felt a bit bad about centering my lessons so much on the tradition of Santa Claus because my school in Nájera is very religious and likes to keep the idea of Christmas centered over Christ and giving to others. Which I completely agree with, but I think they liked hearing about Santa because that little guy is slowly gaining more and more popularity in Spain each year. I love doing Christmas crafts, and thankfully, so do the kids. Here are some snaps of my favorites.
During my last day Wednesday, I had to promise everyone that I would come back on Friday to see el Belen. This is a really interesting Spanish tradition where they recreate the town of Bethlehem and the students act out the biblical story of the birth of Jesus Christ. All of the students, many parents, and the teachers themselves dress up in robes. They even brought an outfit for me… And I knew I had to be a part of the experience.
So when Friday rolled around, I dragged along Jay and we went with another teacher from Logroño to Nájera. The playlot was completely transformed into a market, in, town square, and all kinds of other places I couldn’t recognize. We were shooed into the teachers lounge for chocolate and wine drinking before all of the teachers got dressed. They were so into it! I could tell this was a favorite tradition for some. The kids were all really excited as well, and I was impressed with how well they did with their speaking parts and dancing. When they saw Jay was with me they somehow found robes for him to wear, too, and he reluctantly obliged. Haha!
Like the photos? I’m not going to act like I knew what was going on the whole time, because that definitely wasn’t the case. It mostly consisted of Charo leading us around from location to location as the play went on, but I really loved seeing the kids have fun with it. They were happy I was there and it was fun to see them and the other teachers kind of away from the typical school setting and just having fun. Even the nuns at the school dressed up! My second graders in the “market place” were making their own bread dough and giving samples of delicious pound cake out to the spectators. The whole thing is a memory I think I will really cherish. After about an hour, we rushed back to Logroño because we were meeting Jay’s brother Matt and his girlfriend Kristen at the bus station! We’re with them for the next two weeks to help them explore La Rioja and then take our winter break trip to Belgium and Germany! Stay tuned for my next post about Christmas traditions in Logroño.