How to help
Christian Heritage music and drama teacher Christel Houston said the school still needs fabric donations for costumes and volunteers to help sew them. Call the school at 879-1760 for more information.
If you go
What: Christian Heritage School’s “Christmas Alive” program
When: 6 to 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday
Where: Christian Heritage School, 27285 Brandon Circle
Call: 879-1760 for more information
Steamboat Springs Christian Heritage School fourth-grader Justin Peretz relishes the opportunity to participate in the annual “Christmas Alive” program, which he said is “just kind of fun” and allows him to “goof around.”
Christian Heritage music and drama teacher Christel Houston, who organizes the annual event, said that during a scene two years ago, Justin — playing the role of a shepherd — was supposed to act surprised. He took his performance over the top by acting as if he had a heart attack and pretending to faint, falling backward over a hay bale.
But Justin also understands the importance of the annual living nativity program.
“‘Christmas Alive’ is kind of like our gift to the community, kind of saying thank you and giving back to them,” he said.
Houston said she couldn’t put it any better herself.
“There are a lot of times the school asks the community for help,” Houston said. “I wanted to do something where we didn’t ask for anything in return, something that truly was a gift.”
“Christmas Alive,” in its third year, runs from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The event is free.
Houston estimated that about 900 people attended the three-day program last year and she expects a similar turnout this year.
“Christmas Alive” allows people to pull up in their cars and drive through five scenes from the traditional nativity story in about 10 minutes. Houston said there’s no still life. It’s all action, she said.
Everyone in the car is treated to a cup of hot cider, and they’re given a CD, recorded by Christian Heritage Students, to explain what each of the more than 40 actors are doing in the scenes.
Houston said each of the school’s 110 students and their families participate, whether it’s acting, helping to erect sets, donating materials, sewing costumes, serving cider or cleaning up after the weekend program has concluded.
Last week, the excitement for “Christmas Alive” was building at Christian Heritage even though the students had not yet been given their parts.
“It’s kind of fun to come after school hours and see the parking lot completely different and to show people what Christmas is all about,” seventh-grader Andrea Clark said. “… It’s really fun to show that to the community.”
Fourth-grader Makenzie Stine, after playing Mary as a second-grader and one of the three wise men and townsperson last year, is hoping she’ll be cast as an angel this year.
“I’m really looking forward to it because it’s really fun, and you get to do a lot of fun stuff,” she said. “It really is cool that you get to have fun and teach people the true meaning of Christmas.”
This week, Houston said an acting coach would come to the school to teach the students how to pantomime. She said the sets would be erected Thursday and Friday before the first show at 6 p.m. Friday.
“We just really want to have some fun,” Houston said. “What gets the true meaning of Christmas out to the community, we don’t know of anything finer. We’re putting out the best we can for the people we live with. That’s what you do on Christmas. That’s what you do.”
Houston said the school still needs some fabric for costumes and anything will work. She said they’re also looking for some help sewing costumes. Anyone willing to help out or for more information should call Christian Heritage at 879-1760.