Christmas in Elementary and High School Memory

The end of November. I don’t know about you guys, but in elementary and high school growing up in BC, once you hit November 25th you always heard “oh my god Christmas is almost here!”

Of course today is also the first day where a significant classic Christmas special is apparently airing on TV (my mother bought a PVR and she is specifically recording each Christmas special she can find for herself).

In high school, you never really do much of anything for the winter holidays. There is a Christmas Assembly, but after attending my first (and also last) one in the twelfth grade, they are as every bit lame as I have heard about. They were always on the last Friday before winter break. Sometimes the Leadership group would hold activities or a contest where the results would be announced at the Christmas Assembly, but most classes would not bother because:

a) Nobody really cares.
b) They have exams to study for right before the break.
c) They want to smoke weed instead.
d) They want to smoke weed instead.
e) They want to smoke weed with their friends instead.

The only time I remember a class doing anything for the Christmas Assembly was in grade nine when the class who showed the best spirit would win a prize. If you have ever been in an undisciplined eighth, ninth, or tenth grade drama class. . .well. . .you do A LOT of nothin. Grade eighths actually did more because there was no real Drama 8 class. You would do five weeks of Drama and five weeks of Art. You had enough assignments for Drama 8 to complete, and as long as you showed up, you passed.

Once you entered grades nine and ten, you could do Drama 9/10 for ten weeks (my high school ran on the Copernican/quarter system–you did two classes for ten weeks).

That means the (excessively) lenient teacher Ms. Collinson would have to find stuff for grade nine and ten drama students to do for three hours per day for ten weeks.

Have you ever seen the type of people you get for grade nine and ten drama? Can you imagine what their attention span is when people sign up for the most part because doing things like metalwork or band probably suck and take too much effort? You have about six or seven people who take it seriously, but that is ruined because they are surrounded by fifteen of their friends who just want to socialize and move up the ol popularity ladder and do cool teenager stuff.

In an odd side note, we had some really creepy twelfth graders who would join us for random classes to hit on the younger female students. That is a story for another time.

Anyways, the work ethic was low and the lack of direction was overwhelming to the point that the drama class was the only class in the whole school who participated in the Christmas Assembly and we won the prize by default.

I should note I did not participate in this because at the time I thought Christmas was dumb and wasting time on a written song that was unfunny and having ‘CHRISTMAS’ spelled out on our bellies was equally stupid. However, I benefited from the prize because I happened to be enrolled in the class.

So I refused to participate, voiced my opposition, and still won.

Nearly ten years later and that part about Logan Saunders has not changed one bit.

Anyways, that is not even what I intended to post about.

In elementary school we did a thing each year called the Christmas Concert. This was far better than the Christmas Assembly in high school because it was nearly impossible to skip it, I did not have a Facebook account back then to ridicule it, and it was not an excuse for Leadership students and teachers to laugh at things that were painful to hear as opposed to remotely funny.

Plus it was preparation that involved virtually the whole school. Starting at the beginning of December, you would start learning the songs and rehearsing on a bi-weekly basis. Each class was assigned a song. On the final Thursday before the winter holidays you would perform in front of not only the whole school but also in front of ninety percent of the parents of students.

And these songs would be modeled after a Christmas-themed play.

Oh, and you did this performance well after the school day was over. It was the only time each year that you were with your classmates in the evening.

I believe once you were an intermediate (fourth grade or higher), you could sign up to be apart of the school play.

In the fifth grade our play was A Christmas Carol. In late November auditions were held. Now this is not long after I did a play outside of school called “Knights of the Roundtable” where I played the lead villain, and thought I was super duper awesome at it and thought I would take the acting world by storm.

So I auditioned for A Christmas Carol. Now, the people who auditioned for it were already good friends with the music teacher who was running the play (Mrs. Osbourne). In a strange twist, one of my siblings was best friends with one of her sons at the time, and after I told embarrassing stories about my other sibling in a previous elementary school year because my sibling’s teacher and my teacher were married, I was probably under a “don’t talk about your siblings when they go to the high school across the street” policy.

I auditioned and had the mindset of “I am going to be Scrooge, and WILL be Scrooge”. Like after I auditioned I assumed I had the role. Write it down. Logan Pre-Supacoowacky Saunders is going to be Scrooge.

At the time I did have a bit of a rival/friend named Katie to see who was the best at everything academically. Although she was completely unaware of this, she was a person who had been in all of my classes in previous years and seemed to always match me whenever it came to trivia games, social studies, or well, anything that I put in any sort of effort and thought I would puh to the own everyone.

Match my overcompetitive nature when it comes to things I wish to be the best at compared to someone who could not care less and was doing it for personal enjoyment, and you have several years of comedy in elementary school right there.

Turns out she auditioned too, and was waiting to rub it in her face that I was Scrooge and that her role would be smaller than mine.

I mean, I did months of acting less than one year earlier. I did a full play and had the second highest number of lines. I memorized my lines. Everyone found it funny. How can I lose?

And then a week later came and the roles were posted outside on the Music entrance door. Or was it the exit door? I do not remember.

Because I wanted to give myself the dramatic suspense, I started with the bottom name and slowly creep up in hopes of seeing my name at the top of the ladder. I probably still do crap like that now.

But there it was.

Peter played by Logan Saunders.

F—ing Peter? Is there even a character in A Christmas Carol named Peter? Is his line “you’re a crook, Captain Hook”?

So I thought “okay, the seventh graders must have priority”. So I go up in the names.

Ebenezer Scrooge played by Katie.

I was livid. I mean, in the words of Austin Powers, “she’s a man, baby!”

I already have acting experience and get reduced down to the worst role in the play, but somebody in the exact same class as me, without any acting experience, and not even the same gender as the lead role gets the part?

I think the universe dreamed up the funniest joke it could play on me at the time, but I was just infuriated.

Infuriated to the point that I kept telling my closest friends that it was blatant favouritism over and over again because the music teacher did not know me, and thought I would send a message by potentially quitting.

Yeah. Quit my role which has only one line. Good luck replacing me!!!!!!

You can imagine how rehearsals went. I only had one line for the whole play as I had to sit through my one-sided rivalry getting ninety percent of the lines and even her own song. Again, the funniest outcome possible but infuriating to me back then. Also, it did not help that she and anyone else with more than one line (everyone except me) received minute-by-minute attention as I just sat there wondering what the heck was going on.

In fact I did not even know anybody else who was in the play on a personal level.

So I quit. The only time I have ever auditioned or was assigned an acting role and quit. By the age of eleven I already had my first case of a diva complex. I was too good for just a one-line cameo. If it were my sixteen or seventeen year old self I would probably do my very best to troll the whole process, but back then that was sadly not the case.

I told Mrs. Osbourne I was quitting and she -looked- distraught. Oh my. How can we replace Logan? She tried to sound as disappointed as she could in her voice.

Oddly enough, they were not in a hurry to fill in that role. I thought I won because there really was no one else they could find to play Peter.

Then about a week before I overheard that some seventh-grader was taking over that lone line. They changed “Peter” to “Ashley”.

Although I have a feeling that the original A Christmas Carol’s made-up Ashley role is as memorable as Peter.

And after that I never auditioned for another Christmas Concert play. The damage had been done. Even in the seventh grade I decided to sit out of the whole Christmas Concert entirely.

The pain of being cast as Peter shall haunt me forever.

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