The Christmas Zebra – A Cautionary Tale


One Christmas, whilst attending St Saviour’s School for Troubled Children, we were tasked with creating a festive scene in a biscuit tin.  No wonder we were troubled.  I approached this project very seriously, devising a detailed schedule which if adhered to would ensure success.  It was as follows:

  1. My mother had to be persuaded to buy a tin of biscuits.
  2. The contents of which had to be eaten (by me).
  3. A scene of international artistic worth had to be created.

These plans were scuppered almost immediately.  My mum “conveniently” had an empty tin saved for an occasion such as this.  Stages 1 and 2 were now redundant, so I skipped straight to Stage 3.  I spent many hours (minutes), possibly with my tongue poked out, constructing a tableaux of such finesse and passion that my teacher’s heart would surely weep and my class mates would coo with jealous admiration and give me their chocolate mini rolls.  The finished work of art consisted of my favourite alpine chalet music box with cotton wool stuck to the roof, more cotton wool shoved around it, a sprinkling of glitter and various plastic animals dotted around at jaunty intervals.  I was very pleased with my work and off I strode to school, carefully carrying my masterpiece, the glimmer of a confident but modest smile on my lips.

This glimmer did not have a chance to grow.  When I saw the other contributions my confidence waned.  In fact it evaporated completely. Their offerings were shocking. Full advent scenes with mangers complete with gurgling baby Jesus, a full compliment of visitors complete with gifts and the heavenly host in full angelic glory.  It crossed my mind that some parental help had been involved.  Although to be honest I am unsure if any assistance in that department would have benefited me much.  Whilst gazing in disbelief at these Sistine facsimiles and wondering if I could demand a drugs test, I was mortified to hear some of the other children laughing.  I turned to see that a small group had gathered around my Huntley and Palmers, pointing and laughing.  “How stupid is that? A zebra has nothing to do with Christmas!” they cruelly chortled.  My head hung in shame, my face reddened and another bubble was burst on the way to adulthood.

Luckily I have many bubbles in my armoury.

A few weeks ago I found, abandoned in the bargain bin, a herd of Christmas zebra.  Surely after all these years the world would have caught up with my forward thinking?   It seems not.  So I rescued this one, I am ashamed to say I left the rest to their fate.  I am not one to hold a grudge, but to all you giggling spiteful little urchins, this one is for you; a beautiful, glistening, stripey, Christmas Zebra!

Happy Christmas and a Wonderful 2018 to you all.  Whether you are stripey or speckled or just plain brown, I wish you love and kindness and lots of laughter.  Just not at the Christmas Zebra. xxx


26 thoughts on “The Christmas Zebra – A Cautionary Tale

  1. Aaaaaaw. What a cute story. Of course, (a) Judea was just around the corner from Africa where there were lots of zebras. Who can be sure that some visitor from Africa had not ridden into Bethlehem on his zebra on his way to visit the in-laws and was staying at the inn? and (b) if all those biscuit tins were presented before Christmas Day, the baby Jesus shouldn’t have been in any of them as he hadn’t been born then. And they should all have included little figures of Julie Andrews dressed as a nun on little turntables that twirl around (without which no Christmas is truly authentic). xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It was the omission of sticky back plastic that did it. No childhood construction of our era could be without it. That and the cut down fairy liquid bottle.
    Merry Christmas Gill. Greatly looking forward to a meet up in the New Year xx


  3. I must say that I find the big model train display at the one of our local parishes to be somewhat disturbing, with all the weird animals, cartoon characters, action figures, ninjas, storm troopers, Darth Vader, space aliens, . . . I mean the list goes on. It is really quite creepy. To make it all even worse, there is a variety of creepy nativity scenes in with them, one is glowing, one is Cabbage Patch Kids, one looks like ABBA. It is all so creepy and I think inappropriate for a church to display. However, zebras would fit right in.


      1. So what if I didn’t? You don’t need my approval. Zebras rock!
        I was just telling Brent about an incident back in sixth grade when we were made ‘floats’ (like dioramas) of various South American countries. I did Colombia, so I made a map and added Styrofoam Andes Mountains, and glued on coffee beans in the coffee growing regions, and broken green glass in the emerald mining regions, and so on. Well, this mean kid in class took a bunch of those green plastic army men and dropped a big pile of them onto the float for Guyana. It looked like the Jonestown Massacre, which coincidentally appeared in the news immediately after we completed our floats and put them on display in our classroom. The poor girl who made the float could not stop crying, even after her friends removed the army men. It was so sad, and that mean kid still feels badly about it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Colombia was not nearly as interesting as the others were. Guyana was actually one of the better ones once we got all of the corpses off of it. It was a classic diorama with tropical looking foliage, a picture of a European styled cathedral in the background, a painted waterfall and big plastic insects.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. If I could, I’d put you on our Christmas tree, but I’m not sure there’s room at the very top as we already have a little lady up there. However you would certainly light it up, as you do with your brilliant writing. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year xx


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: