Summary: Young parents find out that both sets of their parents are coming to visit for Christmas, to be there for the baby’s first Christmas. One set is staid and conservative, the other is ex-hippie and charismatic.
Style: Dramatic, with light touches. Duration: 30min (approx)
Actors: 4M, 3F
Justin – young husband
Kelli – young wife
Lisa – Justin’s mother
Loren – Justin’s father
Frank – Kelli’s father
Michelle – Kelli’s mother
Jason – Kelli’s uncle
Setting: All scenes take place in young couple’s living room.
(Kelli is setting up the Christmas tree while Christmas music plays in the background, enter Justin.)
Justin - Hey honey, what are you doing?
Kelli - Setting up the Christmas tree.
JUSTIN - I see that, why? It’s only November 2nd.
KELLI - I’m just so excited for Evan’s first Christmas.
JUSTIN - He’s only going to be 3 months old, I’m pretty sure he won’t remember it.
KELLI - But I will and I want it to be special, just the 3 of us (mumbles under her breath) and my parents.
JUSTIN - What was that?
KELLI – Oh, I said that I will remember his first Christmas and that it will be so special. We’ll have to take lots of pictures.
JUSTIN - Not that, the other part. It sounded an awful like “and my parents”.
KELLI - Oh honey, my mom called today and they want to come and stay with us for Christmas. Christmas was always so much fun growing up and I want Evan to have those same memories. And…. well…. I just couldn’t tell her no.
JUSTIN - Uh, when are they thinking of coming?
KELLI - They booked their flight to come in the 23rd and they will go home on the 27th.
JUSTIN - They booked their flight?!?
KELLI – Well, she might have already booked it before she called.
JUSTIN - That is the problem with your parents, they never check and make sure it’s ok before they make decisions. They just run around doing whatever they want, hoping it will all work out. How can people live like that? Vacations need to be planned out months in advance, talk with the host and make sure the dates will suit them. I might have to work some of those days and then what will they do? Did they watch the airlines and for the good price on tickets, they probably didn’t even think about what days of the week they will be traveling. Don’t they know that they get the best rates leaving or returning on a Tuesday. Did they make sure that the weather will cooperate. You shouldn’t travel in December, what if they get stuck in a snowstorm in Chicago or Duluth?
KELLI - Honey just relax. What is the big deal?
JUSTIN - What is the big deal? Your parents just run around willy nilly doing whatever they want and mess everything up.
KELLI - That’s not fair. Just because they are free spirits and adventurous, doesn’t mean they mess everything up. What are they messing up with Christmas? Are you upset because you wanted it to just be the 3 of us?
JUSTIN - Your parents will probably find a way to turn Evan’s first Christmas into a circus. After all, they do display a clown with their nativity set on the front lawn.
KELLI - I’ve told you the story behind that.
JUSTIN - You have, but that doesn’t make it any better.
KELLI - You know they just have it there for Uncle Jason, and by the way, he might be coming too….
JUSTIN - What??? That is just too much. He is crazy. Don’t you remember how he caught the centerpiece on fire at our wedding? He almost burned the whole church down.
KELLI - It was an accident. But he can’t stay at home at Christmas alone.
JUSTIN - So they are going to bring him here and jeopardize our son’s life?
KELLI - It will be ok, they’ll keep an eye on him and we just won’t have any candles burning.
JUSTIN - But you have to have candles for advent.
KELLI - Advent? Since when do we celebrate advent in our house? Church maybe, but not at home.
JUSTIN - Well, I was going to tell you earlier, but a good opportunity to talk about it never presented itself. My parents called and they are flying here for Christmas.
KELLI - What? How long have you known?
JUSTIN - A week.
KELLI - A week! And you are just now telling me this? How long were you going to keep it a secret? Until the day they showed up? Surprise my parents are here. When are they coming?
JUSTIN - 23rd through the 27th.
KELLI - Great, just great. You know we can’t have them both here at the same time. Don’t you remember the fiasco at the wedding?
JUSTIN - I do, but what am I suppose to do about it? My parents already booked the flight and they really want to be here for Evan’s first Christmas. Besides my parents asked first and yours are the ones budging in.
KELLI - Thanks to you, mine didn’t even know that they were budging in. And what happened to planning months in advance and checking with the host?
JUSTIN - Well…. I’m sorry... honey, I shouldn’t have said all that stuff about your parents. It’s not fair to pick on them. I was just upset knowing that my parents were going to be here also.
KELLI - What are we going to do?
JUSTIN - We’ll figure it out. It’s Christmas, the time for peace on earth and goodwill.
KELLI - Ha, peace for the rest of the earth might be easier than peace between our parents.
JUSTIN - The bottom line is they both want to be here for Evan’s first Christmas. They’ll just have to call a truce of some kind. And remember, it’s all about the baby.
(Kelli and Justin are talking on the phone to their parents simultaneously)
KELLI - Hi Mom… We’re doing good…. I know, we’re excited too…
JUSTIN - Hello Mother.
KELLI - I’m sure it will be good memories with Evan…..
JUSTIN - Sorry I called too late, I know it’s almost your dinner time.
KELLI - Actually, I wanted to talk to you about that.
JUSTIN - I don’t want to keep you long...
KELLI - I don’t know if we can do a pinata this year. I know Dad enjoys making them… There will be other years for Dad to make one for Evan.
JUSTIN - ...I just wanted to let you know that there is slight wrinkle in your plans to come spend Christmas with us.
KELLI - I’m sure he’ll be disappointed.
JUSTIN - Oh, no, you are still invited to come.
KELLI - I was hoping you would understand.
JUSTIN - Oh, nothing like that.
KELLI - Well actually, the reason is that, well, um, Justin’s parents will be here also…. I know...
JUSTIN - Um, it’s just, Kelli’s parents are coming too….(hold phone away from ear) Yes, I know how you feel about them.
KELLI – Yes, I remember the wedding also….. but…. I know Mom…. I….. but Mom….
JUSTIN - Yes, I remember the wedding drama.
KELLI - Wait, wait, wait... Mom just hear me out. They are Evan’s grandparents too, and they really want to be here and spend his first Christmas with him also.
JUSTIN - Yes, they do do things differently.
KELLI - Yes, I know they have some old fashion traditions.
JUSTIN - Yes, I know it can be hard to understand.
KELLI - Singing carols on Christmas Eve is not so bad… Mom, maybe they think our Christmas celebrations are strange too…
JUSTIN - Yes, I’m sure we will be able to keep a few of our traditions.
KELLI - Maybe a treasure hunt to find your present is a little different than what they are use to, but maybe we can skip it just this once…
JUSTIN - But maybe we should try a few of theirs too….
KELLI - Yes, we will probably have to skip the reenactment of Scrooge...I know that Uncle Jason has all the parts memorized and does different voices…
JUSTIN - No, probably not the pinata...I’m not sure Dad should be allowed in the same room with them while holding a bat.
KELLI - I know…. but...Mom, it’s Christmas, can’t you just try and get along… I know….
JUSTIN - Yes, I know... but Mother can you just keep in mind that it’s all about the baby.
KELLI - Mom, if you don’t want to come and see Evan, that’s fine, but after all you are the ones who really wanted to be here for his first Christmas and…. Yes! It is all about the baby.
JUSTIN - That would be great...Thank you...
KELLI - Good… Thank you!...Ok, I’ll tell Justin.
JUSTIN - Ok, I will let you go eat supper.
KELLI - Alright, well I need to go. It’s almost time to start supper.
JUSTIN - We will see you soon. Tell Father hello.
KELLI - Ok, I’ll talk to you later, tell Dad I said hi.
JUSTIN – Goodbye.
KELLI - Ok, bye.
(December 23rd - Kelli is on stage. Justin, Loren and Lisa enter in from outside.)
JUSTIN - Kelli, my parents are here.
KELLI – Hello, Loren & Lisa. Here, let me take your coats.
LISA - That’s ok dear, it’s cashmere. I’ll take care of it.
KELLI - Oh, um, ok. Does it need a special hanger?
LISA - Oh, haha, you are so funny.
KELLI - Oh, ok, um... so how was the flight?
LOREN - It was so loud and long. I tell you what, what is it with people traveling with little children who cry. In my day you just stayed at home and kept those children quiet. Now people just drag their children all over and disturb the rest of us with their wailing. And the turbulence. I think the pilot must have been flying for the first time. I almost spilled my drink. And then there was the stewardess, flight attendant... who knows what they want to be called these days. We had a man and he…
JUSTIN - Father, may I get you something to drink? It sounds like you’ve had a rough day.
LOREN - Oh that would be great, but let Kelli get it. You just sit down and talk with us.
JUSTIN - That’s ok, Father, I can get you something. What would you like?
LOREN - I’ll take coffee. But just the ladies get it.
KELLI - It’s ok Justin, I can get it. You just sit and catch up with your parents.
JUSTIN – Thanks, honey. I just know how hard you’ve been working to get ready and take care of Evan.
KELLI - Lisa would you like a drink too?
LISA - Do you have water? Bottled of course, I can’t drink your tap water, it’s just awful. I don’t know how you can drink it and not be ill.
KELLI - Of course, Justin made sure we got some for you. Let me take your luggage and I’ll be right back with your drinks. (Exit stage)
LOREN - So son, how is your job going?
JUSTIN - It’s been busy, but I just finished my big project, so things should slow down for the next couple months. And how are you doing at the office?
LOREN - Good, good, you know tax season is almost here. Our busiest time.
(Long awkward silence)
JUSTIN - So Mother, how is your committee work going?
LISA - Oh you know, we have to work so hard to keep things going. All these new people come in and want to change things up. I have to fight hard to keep the good traditions. Why does everything need to be new and different. What is wrong with the way we have done things for the last twenty years? I’ve seen more new people come and go, but I just keep staying on, making sure things stay the same. They come in with their new-fangled ideas and just as quickly move on to some other flight of fancy.
(Long awkward silence)
LISA – So, what time do THEY arrive?
JUSTIN - Who? Frank and Michelle? Their flight should arrive in about 2 hours. Uncle Jason is coming too.
LISA - What?!? Why didn’t you tell me? I need time to prepare myself. He’s always saying the oddest things. He’s just... well, I’m, I’m just not comfortable around him. And then there was the fire at the wedding. Why couldn’t he just stay at home?
JUSTIN – Mother, you know he needs supervision. He’s had a rough life, Kelli says that the car accident really changed him.
LOREN - So where is that grandson of ours? He’s what all this fuss is about.
JUSTIN - He was napping, but it's probably about time for him to wake up. I’ll go check on him. (Exit stage)
LISA - This is oddest decorations I’ve ever seen. They are so willy nilly, with no rhyme or reason. What happened to nice, neat trees with themes. Do you remember the year I did the gold and maroon tree. It was so beautiful and the neighbors talked about it for years.
LOREN - You do put together a nice holiday, my dear. Why don’t you just help the poor girl out? With her background she needs all the structure she can get.
LISA - Oh I’m sure she would just love to have a well put together tree. She’s probably never had anyone show her how to properly trim a tree. Here, I’ll just move some of these decorations around.
LOREN - Why don’t you hide that ugly one in the back. It sticks out like a sore thumb. Looks like a preschooler made it.
LISA - Oh my goodness. You’re right, let’s just tuck it in the back. (Rearranges decorations, getting rid of handmade ornaments) You know, I was afraid she wouldn’t have any decent decorations and I was right. Will you please hand me my purse?
LOREN - Sure dear.
LISA - I packed a few emergency decorations just in case. Will you help me hang up these ribbons?
LOREN - Why don’t I just move some of these lights around. They aren’t quite even.
LISA - Oh look at that, so much better.
LOREN - You do have a magic touch. Makes it look just like home.
LISA - Just let me rearrange the nativity set. How can a person not know the correct way to set up the nativity set?
LOREN - Not everyone has your gift of order.
LISA - Yes, but their influence seems to be wearing off on Justin. We raised him to do things correctly. He always enjoyed our Christmases. Doing Advent services and Church on Christmas Eve, singing carols around the fireplace, opening presents after breakfast on Christmas morning.
LOREN - How about next year we invite them to come to our house for Christmas? Then you can show her what a proper Christmas is. And we can start teaching the traditions to Evan early.
LISA - Oh my, what a great idea. I can just see it now. It will be a new addition to our yearly celebration. They can come and our traditions will be passed on to the next generation. Can’t you see it. Sitting in church on Christmas Eve with our grandchildren.
(Later the same day. Doorbell rings. Kelli is on stage and Frank, Michelle and Jason enter with luggage.)
MICHELLE - Oh glory, glory, glory. It is cold out there. How a daughter of mine moved up north to cold, is beyond me.
KELLI - Oh Mom, Iowa is barely north. Oh, it’s so good to see you.
(Hugs, shed coats and toss on nearest chair. Michelle leads Jason to a seat and hands him a small bag of toys. He sits and plays with the toys for the scene.)
FRANK - Is Justin home? I need to plug the Prius in. And didn’t think to bring an extension cord and I’m not sure where your outlets are.
KELLI - He should be in the kitchen. Let me get him. (goes to the side of stage and calls, enter Justin)
JUSTIN - Hello Frank and Michelle. So glad you could make it. Was everything ok? I figured you’d be here several hours ago.
MICHELLE - Oh glory, glory, glory. We met this nice young man on the flight and we sat and talked with him at the airport. And then we had to get a rental car. And it was hard finding a good car. All anyone had left were gas guzzling, environment killers.
FRANK - We finally found one that we could drive without endangering a polar bear. And then to drive on your icy dangerous roads. Well, I barely felt safe going above 35 miles per hour.
MICHELLE - I was over on my side, praying the whole way here. I had my arms braced for impact the entire trip. It worked out well, then I could just be laying on the hands while I prayed over that car.
JUSTIN - Um the roads are clear. We haven’t had snow in a week.
MICHELLE - Oh goodness, the things you get use to. Not sure I could ever call those roads clear.
KELLI - The white on the road is just salt, they are fine, but it’s all good. Justin can you help my Dad with the car, he needs to plug it in.
JUSTIN - Plug it in? It’s not that cold.
FRANK - It’s a Prius. I need to recharge the batteries.
Jason - Don’t we all.
(Frank and Justin exit)
MICHELLE - So are THEY here?
KELLI - Yes, they arrived several hours ago. I think they are upstairs resting or arranging my linen closet. I’m not sure.
MICHELLE - Already trying to establish order. What is wrong with just letting things flow?
KELLI – Mom, it’s ok, just let it go. Try to get along.
MICHELLE - I’ll try, you know I will.
JASON - Do or do not, there is no try.
KELLI – Oh, Uncle Jason it’s so good to see you. How are you doing? I’m so glad you could come.
JASON - I’m doing ok.
MICHELLE - He wasn’t sure he wanted to come, but we got him dragged onto the plane. He mumbled the whole way here. So where is that beautiful grandson of mine?
KELLI - Oh Mom, you guys got here so late, he’s in bed already.
MICHELLE - Bed, oh pooh, go get him. He’s a baby, he can sleep anytime.
KELLI – Well, I’d rather not. He does better if I keep him on a schedule.
JASON - It’s good to be regular.
MICHELLE - Schedule? What is that nonsense. When you were born, you just went to bed whenever you were tired and got up whenever you were done sleeping. We didn’t need a schedule. They are wearing off on you.
KELLI - Justin has a lot of great ideas, Mom. It’s not all bad. Just give them a chance.
(Frank and Justin re-enter)
FRANK - All plugged in and recharging.
KELLI - Did you guys have supper?
FRANK - I could use something. My tofu and bean sprout salad was great, but I could just use a little something more.
JASON - Beef, it’s whats for dinner.
KELLI - I’ll go make you some sandwiches. Justin, can you help me carry their bag up?
MICHELLE - What is with this tree? It looks like it is being choked to death by this ribbon. It’s all uptight and boring. It just needs a little fun.
FRANK - We know how to do fun. Justin probably helped her decorate it. Why don’t we just give her a hand?
MICHELLE - Let me just move this ribbon out of here. Oh so much better.
FRANK - Look at that, here’s all the fun stuff, just shoved way back here. Remember the year you let Kelli decorate the tree all by herself. There was nothing on the top 3 feet, but the bottom was beautiful.
MICHELLE - She was so proud of that tree. Oh look, here’s the ornament she made when she was in preschool. We always tried to put it front and center.
FRANK - Make sure you fix the nativity set too. Looks like they are on a parade.
MICHELLE - Oh heavens. There, that is much better.
JASON - It’s all about the baby
FRANK - It’s too bad we couldn’t do a pinata this year. It’s always so much more fun than doing regular stockings.
MICHELLE - We have had a lot of fun at Christmas over the years. It think the pinata idea was the only one we ever repeated.
FRANK - But we’ve had some good ones. Do you remember when we made gingerbread house entirely out of items from our fridge? The mashed potato snow was a nice touch.
MICHELLE - Or the the year we forgot to buy presents and had to come up with something the night before. Kelli didn’t seem to mind a coupon book and a jar of olives.
JASON - I brought a watermelon.
FRANK - We will just have to keep coming back here every year for Christmas and make sure to liven up their lives.
MICHELLE - Oh what a great idea. I can just see it now. Every year different and full of fun, new ideas. It will be so much fun to see what ideas the grandchildren come up with.
(Kelli enters from the side of the stage.)
KELLI - I have some supper ready for you. (All exit with her)
FRANK - Sounds great, I’m starving.
MICHELLE - Thank you so much for letting us come and be a part of of Evan’s first Christmas.
JASON - It’s all about the baby.
(Evening of the 23rd. Everyone is in the living room. Michelle and Lisa are seated on either side of the Christmas tree and keep rearranging the decorations.)
LISA - You are doing a great job of keeping Evan on a schedule. It’s good for him to get the proper rest he needs.
LOREN - I have kept to the same schedule since we got married.
LISA - I can set my clock by him. Up promptly at 6:00.
LOREN - Showered by 6:15, breakfast at 6:30 and out the door to work by 7:30.
LISA - And he arrives at promptly at home by 5:45. And supper is ready and waiting.
LOREN - That is the advantage of having good, stable employment, and an accountant needs to be reliable.
MICHELLE - Oh goodness, I don’t know if we could survive under that strict schedule. Frank gets to go to work when he wants and comes home when he is ready.
LOREN - That’s probably why he’s switched jobs so many times.
FRANK - Oh no, they all loved me. It’s just hard to keep the creativity alive after so long in one place. It’s good to go and try something new.
MICHELLE - I just think that it shouldn’t be too stifling for the child. He needs to be raised with a little bit of room to have fun, too.
KELLI - Mom, he is only three months old. He will have fun, too. This is just what works for us right now.
LISA – So, have you started looking into preschools? A good preschool is the foundation of his whole education.
MICHELLE - Oh glory, glory, glory, don’t be sending that little baby off to preschool yet.
JUSTIN - We are not looking into preschools, he is only three months old. We have plenty of time for him to grow up a little bit first.
LISA - What about a nanny? Have you found a good one? It’s important to find the right person to take care of him.
FRANK - A nanny, what happened with his mother taking care of him?
JUSTIN - Actually, I’ve been able to take some time off so that I can be at home with him for several months.
LOREN - You? Why would you jeopardize your job to stay at home?
JUSTIN - I’m not jeopardizing anything. My company offer paternity leave. So I’m taking it so I can spend some time with him.
KELLI - It’s just for a couple of months, while I go back to work and then we can decide what we want to do next. And it will give us time to find a daycare.
LISA - You can’t put the baby in daycare. Think about the germs he will be exposed to and all the bad habits he will learn. Who knows what kind of children will be there.
JUSTIN - That’s enough. Let’s not fight about how we are raising Evan. Let’s focus on Christmas.
JASON - It’s all about the baby.
MICHELLE - Jason is right, it is all about the baby and giving Evan a great Christmas.
LISA - So Kelli, what are the plans for this weekend? Brunch tomorrow, Christmas Eve service, ham with all the sides for Christmas dinner?
KELLI - I was thinking we’d just kind of see where the day takes us. Maybe go see some lights tomorrow night. And for Christmas dinner, lasagna.
LISA - Lasagna? That’s not a Christmas dinner. No, no we always have ham for Christmas dinner. It’s a tradition. I want Evan to experience the traditions of Christmas.
JUSTIN - I know it’s your tradition Mom, but this is our house and Kelli chose lasagna.
MICHELLE - Sounds great, Kelli. Nothing wrong with trying something new and different. Maybe we should introduce them to a treasure hunt for their Christmas presents. Or it’s not too late for Dad to make a pinata for the stocking stuffers. I’m sure Evan would have a lot of fun with that.
KELLI - Mom, I told you we are not doing a pinata this year.
JASON - Make it about the baby.
LISA - We are trying to make it about the baby. We are trying to give him the best first Christmas ever. But someone keeps messing it up.
MICHELLE - Who are you talking about, me? I’d say you are doing a pretty good job of doing that.
LISA - What would you know about making a great Christmas, you can’t even decorate a tree properly.
(Both Michelle and Lisa rise during this exchange.)
MICHELLE – Properly, or uptight and stale?
LOREN - Ladies calm down, there is no reason to fight.
(Loren and Frank rise.)
FRANK - Please take your hands off my wife. We don’t believe in violence.
JASON - Oh, oh, oh, don’t forget the baby. (Getting more and more distraught)
LOREN – Oh, what do you believe in? Free love and hippy dippy hugs?
FRANK - You don’t need to talk to me like that.
JUSTIN - Father, Frank stop it!
(All sit back down, but now Lisa and Michelle are on either side of the nativity and both begin to rearrange the nativity set.)
MICHELLE - Will you please stop messing up the nativity set. It’s supposed to be set up like this.
LISA - Why, everyone knows you set up like this.
MICHELLE - Jesus doesn’t belong there
LISA - Put him back.
(Lisa & Michelle start fighting over the nativity set. Baby Jesus gets thrown and broken.)
JASON - No!!! (wailing, runs to the broken pieces, kneels and cries.) For unto us a child is given. Unto us a son is born. And the government shall be upon his shoulders.
(Lisa understands and goes to him, kneels down and puts her arm around him.)
LISA - And His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor...
(Others begin to understand and circle around the two.)
MICHELLE - Mighty God, Everlasting Father...
LOREN - The Prince of Peace.
FRANK - Of the greatness of his government and peace, there shall be no end.
(Long pause as they all think)
LOREN - And a little child shall lead them.
FRANK - I guess this is what we happens when we make the focus of Christmas and our lives about the wrong child.
MICHELLE - I’m sorry, please forgive me. Your side of the tree looks lovely.
LISA – I know. But your side looked nice, too.
LOREN - Kelli, lasagna sounds fantastic. I make a mean sauce, would you like some help?
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