A Puppet Show on St. Nicholas Day has been a tradition in our home. We let it go for a few years because of the busy-ness of life, homeschooling, babies, etc., but now we are back at it!!
I mentioned in an earlier post that we decided to widen the scope and have our Puppet Show with the parish. I also asked a dear and talented friend, Carol Pelster, to write the script and direct the show. She was willing to share her talent with you and pass on her St. Nicholas Puppet Show script for any of you who would like to tackle this project.
It can be as simple as pulling out a couch and using some socks to put the play on for family and friends. It is so much fun and makes the day very special!!
(Here is a link to a simple Puppet Show format I posted in the past.)
This year St. Nicholas’ Feast day is on a Sunday which gives us more opportunity to spend it with family, etc.
Before I post the script I want to share with you Carol’s exciting Website that can be such a great resource for Catholic educators, mothers, etc! It is called Catholic Playscripts and here are some tidbits about the site:
All our plays are free for you to use. So far, all of the plays on this website have been performed and perfected so you can be sure the audience will love them and your actors will enjoy taking part in a high quality production.
If you know of copyright-free plays that we can include here, please let us know by contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to submit an original play for us to consider including, we would be happy to read it and add it to the website if it is suitable. We do not offer compensation for your work, only the satisfaction of benefiting the culture.
Below is the script for the Play. At the end of the play I will post the song we will be singing after the Show (to the tune of Jolly Old St. Nicholas).
St. Nicholas Puppet Show
3 sisters: Anastasia
St. Nicholas (appears in front of backdrop of village): Hello, girls and boys. Hello, my friends. How are you? Do you know who I am? Yes, that’s right. I am St. Nicholas, and sometimes people call me Santa Claus. I am the patron saint of children, because I love every one of you. I like to give gifts to the good children, too. I want to tell you a story of something that happened a long time ago when I lived in Myra where I was the bishop. Once I was walking down the street in a very poor part of the town. I heard singing coming from one of the huts. I went closer to hear better, and this is what I saw through the window.
(Curtain rises to show interior of peasant hut. Papa is in one corner, with his back to audience, and his head in his hands. Sometimes he takes a drink from a bottle. Matchmaker is in another corner, watching the 3 girls)
Anastasia, Cecilia, and Agnes (singing and dancing a little): Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match, find me a find, catch me a catch.
Anastasia: Oh, Matchmaker, have you spoken to the miller about his son, Basil? He is sooooo handsome.
Cecilia: Handsome? Goodness, Anastasia, the miller’s son always has a bit of white flour on the tip of his nose!
Matchmaker: A little flour improves the complexion, I always say. I will speak to the miller as soon as your father tells me how much dowry he can provide.
Agnes: Matchmaker, have I told you yet how much I like the butcher’s son, John?
Anastasia: Only about a thousand times!
Cecilia: But, Agnes, don’t you notice that the butcher’s son always smells like sausages?
Matchmaker: And it’s a very good smell. I will speak to the butcher as soon as your father tells me how much dowry he can give you.
Anastasia: And, what about you, Cecilia? Which young man do you have your eye upon?
Matchmaker: Simon, the blacksmith, is looking for a wife.
Cecilia: Oh, no. His hands are always black.
Anastasia: Then he won’t mind eating your cooking when the meat gets charred.
Cecilia: You are the one who chars the meat, dear Anastasia, whenever we get the chance to have some.
Agnes: We are much to poor to eat meat, so why argue about it? Matchmaker, what other men are available?
Matchmaker: Well, there is Matthew the sign painter.
Cecilia: Why, he is almost blind.
Anastasia: A perfect match: with your plain looks and his poor eyesight, you’ll surely be happy.
Cecilia: My plain looks! Why, you–
Agnes: Who else do you have, Matchmaker?
Matchmaker: Well, I could speak to Jude, the horse trader.
Cecilia: What? He is so old and deaf!
Matchmaker: He’s only 62, or is it 72?
Anastasia: A proper, mature bridegroom! And, just think, since he is deaf, he won’t be able to hear your bad singing!
Cecilia: No, no, no. None of them. I will whisper the name of the one I want to marry in your year, Matchmaker. (She whispers)
Matchmaker: Oh, what are you thinking? His father is the richest man in the city. How much of a dowry is your papa going to give you?
Papa: (groans) Nothing! I have no dowry at all to give them. And I can’t give you any money, either, Matchmaker. I have lost my job, and I spent my last shilling on this bottle of wine.
Agnes: (In great consternation) No money! No dowry!
Anastasia: What will we do?
Cecilia: How will we live?
Matchmaker: How will they find husbands?
Papa: I don’t know. I don’t know.
Slave Trader: (enters) Excuse me, good sir, but I heard a rumor that you are in trouble. You have no money. You can’t buy food, or pay your rent. You can’t get husbands for your daughters. But this is your lucky day. I can help you.
Anastasia: Oh, yes, please help us.
Agnes: We want to get married.
Slave Trader: (Laughs evilly) Ha, ha, ha. You girls won’t have to worry about getting a husband. You won’t need a dowry.
Matchmaker: What do you mean, you slimy snake?
Slave Trader: Me, a slimy snake? Why, I only want to help this unfortunate downtrodden man!
Papa: How can you help me?
Slave Trader: Send the dear girls away and I will tell you.
Papa: Go out, all of you.
Girls: Yes, Papa.
Slave Trader: You must go too, my darling Matchmaker.
Matchmaker: (To Papa) Watch out. He is up to no good!
Slave Trader: Oh, how you insult me. I have a very good plan to assist this poor miserable fellow.
Matchmaker: Hmmph. Your plan may be good for you, but not for him.
Slave Trader: Arrivaderci. Bye-bye. Out you go.
(Girls and Matchmaker exit.)
Slave Trader: Now, my friend. I know how you can get a lot of money, and very easily. You won’t have to lift a finger and all your troubles will be gone.
Papa: (eagerly) What is it? Tell me.
Slave Trader: I will buy your daughters.
Papa: Buy them!
Slave Trader: They are nice, strong young girls. I will pay one thousand shillings.
Papa: No! No! No!
Slave Trader: You don’t understand, my friend. I mean, one thousand shillings, each.
Papa: But, you will make them slaves!
Slave Trader: Yes, but you will have plenty of money.
Papa: But, they will be miserable.
Slave Trader: Yes, but they will be glad to help their poor papa.
Papa: One thousand shillings each!
Slave Trader: Yes. Do we have a deal? Make up your mind quickly.
Slave Trader: Act now. You won’t get this chance again.
Slave Trader: Here is a bonus: you won’t have to spend a cent on feeding or clothing them after they are gone.
Papa: Let me think about it. Come back tomorrow.
Slave Trader: (On his way out) Don’t forget, this offer is only good for a limited time.
Papa: (Pushing Slave Trader) Get out of here.
Slave Trader: It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Papa: (Gives him a shove) GET OUT!
(Slave Trader exits. Door slams. Papa paces back and forth. )
Papa: Oh, what should I do?
( Curtain closes. Scene changes to village street.)
St. Nicholas: Well, this was a terrible situation for those poor girls. Their papa had almost made up his mind to sell them for slaves. What could I do to help them? I remembered that I had some money saved up. I had thought about taking a trip to visit some holy places, but that money I saved for the trip was needed desperately right now. So that night, I quietly came back, with 3 small sacks of gold. I climbed up on the roof of that little hut. Yes, even at my age with my white beard, I managed to get up there. I silently dropped those sacks of gold down into the chimney. Now, watch what happened the next morning.
(St. Nicholas exits. Scene changes to inside of hut. Papa enters and paces back and forth, groaning)
Papa: Oh, morning is here and I still don’t know what to do. That wicked slave trader will be here soon to buy the girls. I must sell them. I can’t afford to keep them and feed them.
Girls: (enter happily, humming “Matchmaker”)
Anastasia: Good morning, dear Papa.
Agnes: Did you sleep well, Papa?
Cecilia: What did that man want yesterday? He said he would help you get rich. If you get rich, you can give all 3 of us dowries.
Papa: Never mind what he said. It’s cold. Make a fire. Use up the last of our sticks of wood. Hurry up. Get busy.
(3 Girls go to fireplace)
Anastasia: What is this in the fireplace?
Agnes: It looks like 3 bags.
Anastasia: What is in them?
Cecilia: Let me see. (She takes the bags and looks in them)
Agnes: Maybe the 3 bags are 3 gifts for the 3 of us girls.
Cecilia: Look! They are full of coins.
Anastasia: Where did they come from?
Cecilia: Maybe someone dropped them down the chimney.
Agnes: There is enough money here for us to have dowries.
Papa: What is this? Money?
Cecilia: Look, Papa! 3 bags of coins, one for each of us. We can get married now.
Papa: Is it a miracle?
Slave Trader: (enters) Good morning, my friends. You all look very cheerful today. You must have made up your mind to accept my generous offer.
Papa: You are wrong. We don’t need your dirty money, Slave Trader.
Slave Trader: But–
Papa: Heaven has helped us, and answered my daughters’ prayers.
Slave Trader: But–
Papa: Get out of my house.
Slave Trader: But–
Papa: And never come back! (He shoves Slave Trader out)
Matchmaker: (enters) I just saw that slimy snake, the Slave Trader running out your door. He looked very upset. What happened to him?
Papa: (chuckles) He missed out on a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Matchmaker: I am very glad to hear it.
Papa: And now, Matchmaker, you shall make some matches for my girls. Find them the very best men you can. Girls, show the matchmaker what you found in the fireplace this morning.
Cecilia: Look, we have dowries.
Matchmaker: 3 Bags of money! Praise be to God.
Papa: Let us all kneel down and thank the good God for his mercy to a poor sinner and his family.
(Curtain closes. Scene changes to street scene again)
St. Nicholas (enters): And so the 3 girls all got married, and were very happy. Papa was happy, too, and so was the Matchmaker, and so was I. Did you know that one of the best ways to find joy, is to give gifts to others? I hope that if you ever have the chance to be generous and to give a gift to someone who needs it, you will remember this story and how happy it makes everyone when you give a good gift. God bless you.
[Now how many of you are good children? I will give all of the good children a little coin to help you remember this story. But, if you have been naughty, I will give you a lump of coal. ] (Puppeteers come out for applause and to give out candy coins)
Below is two renditions of the St. Nicholas song courtesy of the St. Nicholas Center. I always liked the tune of Jolly Old St. Nicholas but the words are silly. So here is a chance to sing it with some good words!
Saint Nicholas Song
Song tells the story of Saint Nicholas
Thankful Bishop Nicholas,
friendly good and wise,
when he could he helped the poor,
always by surprise.
Rich folk came to Nicholas,
Bringing wealth to share,
so it could be sent to those living in despair.
Three maidens husbands could not find,
their father was so poor;
No dowry was available, to tempt a suitor’s lore.
Word came to youthful Nicholas,
who acted in good taste,
In darkness threw three bags of gold,
retreating in great haste.
Zealous Bishop Nicholas,
born in Pa-tar-a,
Was the Bishop of My-ra
in times of great trial.
Who suffered prison for his faith,
Through torture still held firm,
Released by Constantine the Great,
to My-ra he returned.
Holy Bishop Nicholas,
The sailors patron saint,
saved the storm-tossed mariners
from a salty fate.
Who at Nicea formed the creed—
but jail became his fate,
He punched a pastor in the jaw,
so heated the debate.
Patron Saint of children,
Saint Nicholas did become,
giving gifts at Christmas time,
a special act of love.
His style was different from his peers,
as they would often see,
“Give to the truley needy ones
Gentle Bishop Nicholas,
friendly good and wise,
When he could he helped the poor,
always by surprise.
We too must always seek to share,
our means with those in need,
God help us imitate this saint,
on Advent winter eves.
The Song of St. Nicholas
To the tune of “Jolly Old St. Nicholas”
Once upon a long ago
Very far away,
In the town of Bethlehem
Lying in some hay,
Jesus came for you and me
Bringing heaven’s love
As a gift for us to have
From the Lord above.
In the town of Myra once
Also long ago,
Lived good Bishop Nicholas
Hair as white as snow.
Nicholas loved Jesus who
Loved and helped us all.
“I will do the same,” said he
“Helping great and small.”
Thankful Bishop Nicholas
Friendly, good and wise;
When he could, helped the poor
Always by surprise.
Rich men came to Nicholas
Bringing wealth to share
So it could be sent to those
Living in despair.
We should be like Nicholas
Thankful, good and kind,
Loving those who need our help
All the ones we find.
Jesus and Saint Nicholas
Taught us how to give:
Share but never seek rewards,
That is how to live!