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Traditions are important. They bring communities together, they reinforce values and allow us to celebrate the things that really matter. Celebrating Christmas is an important tradition in British culture and at Highgate Primary the last couple of weeks of the school year create lasting memories for our children.

Early in my headship, I remember attending a PSA meeting when we discussed whether it was still ok to call the Christmas Fair the Christmas Fair. I have noticed over the years that, increasingly, school Christmas fairs are becoming Winter fairs. I saw this year, that one primary school’s Christmas fair had been rebranded the ‘Winter Cracker’. I understand how this might have happened, but surely crackers are a tradition of Christmas rather than winter?

In a multi-cultural, multi-faith school, it’s important to acknowledge, respect and celebrate a range of festivals throughout the year. Understanding the culture and traditions of the major religions builds tolerance, respect and cohesion within our community. This year, at school we celebrated Sukkot, where the children constructed a Sukkah in the Peace Garden. The idea of calling it a ‘late winter tent’ was never discussed.

So, rather stubbornly, celebrating the traditions of Christmas remains on the curriculum at Highgate Primary.

This year the Christmas Craft Fair was better than ever. It was really well attended, mince pies and mulled wine were served and we even had a visit from the real Santa Claus.

Last Wednesday and Thursday, the Christmas show, ‘Scrooge – a ghost of a chance’, was performed, and it was brilliant, with just about every member of the school community contributing in some way to make this the most memorable celebration of the traditions of Christmas.

On Friday the children in Nursery and Reception performed their version of the Nativity. With nine wise men, at least six shepherds and three Marys, there was some creative license, but what was important was that a tradition that many of us have grown up with was being maintained. Tea towels and dressing gowns were very much in evidence – it could have been 1977 – nothing had changed, which was comforting and brought back the nostalgic warmth of a bygone era.

We’re comfortable celebrating Christmas as Highgate Primary, after all, it’s hard to argue against promoting a message of goodwill to all mankind – unless of course you’re ‘a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous old sinner’.

Bah Humbug!


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