Every family has its own traditions. According to today’s Gospel, the Holy Family of Nazareth travelled to the holy city of Jerusalem every year to celebrate the Passover.

Closer to home, and to the present, my own family exchanges gifts straight after Christmas lunch. But before that, everyone gathers around the Christmas tree and sings a few hymns and happy birthday to Jesus, to focus everyone’s attention on the reason for the season.

As readers know, I introduced a new custom this year – the story of the First Christmas told with chocolate – which was successful enough, I think, that it will become a new tradition.

I know some readers ran their own ‘experiments’ in the last few weeks, applying the ‘chocolate script’ in many ways. Here are the applications I’ve heard about:

  • Gifts for the King. As the story is narrated and each chocolate is named, it’s placed before the manger. This is a nice reminder that just as the Magi presented gifts for the newborn King, so can we. Not so much chocolate as kindness, forgiveness, joy in face of adversity.
  • Fill the gap. The chocolates are piled in the centre, and as the story is told, the narrator pauses at the naming of each chocolate. Whoever correctly identifies the chocolate wins it. 
  • Links in a chain. The story is divided into parts, each placed in a bag or box with a chocolate. Each person reads their portion, which ends just before a chocolate is named, and the next person opens their bag to find the chocolate, and the next part of the story. People can start guessing which chocolate comes next.
  • Treasure hunt. The chocolates are hidden in the garden. As the story is narrated, contestants have to correctly fill in the gap, and then be the first to find the named chocolate. (This is maybe not so good in a heat wave!)
  • Pass the parcel. A variation on the links in a chain. Each layer of the parcel contains one of the chocolates and part of the story. The portion of the story stops just before the next chocolate is named, so people can try guessing the coming chocolate before the layer is unwrapped.

This chocolate script is surprisingly versatile. Add your own application of the script if it’s not already covered.