Christmas talk: Chocolate Brussels Sprouts

This is my favourite Christmas talk – Chocolate Sprouts – I’ve used this in assemblies, carol services, across the age ranges.

Preparation

  • Boil the Brussels Sprouts (make sure they’re not too soft) and stick them in the fridge overnight.
  • Next morning, melt the chocolate and dip the sprouts in so that they look like truffles.  Let them set on a baking tray, then put them in small cake cases and sprinkle them with cocoa powder.

Talk

At the start of the talk, announce that you love Christmas so much, that you want to share it with everybody, and that what you have with you is something that will always remind them of Christmas day – delicious truffles!

Ask for a couple of volunteers to see if they can emulate Christmas day, by eating as many truffles as they can in 1 minute.  Build up the expectation and emphasise the need for speed in the challenge.

Once the young people start eating the ‘truffles’, they’ll realise that there’s something not quite right and their facial expressions will change from ones of sheer delight, to ones of outright disgust a they discover the sprouts. (You may want to have a plastic bag handy at this point!)

OK, so it’s a bit revolting, but here’s the point.

Ask the young people who loves chocolate, and also, who loves sprouts.

Say that Christmas, for most of us is a time of celebration, indulgence and happiness.  We love the ‘niceness’ of the Christmas season. It’s a bit like chocolate!

Go on to say that for many people, Christmas is not an easy time. For some it’s a time of loneliness, homelessness and struggle. For many people, Christmas is like our experience of sprouts – something to struggle through.

You could mention the first Christmas as an example. Mary was blessed with the news that she was to be the mother of God’s son, but probably struggled with knowing that her life could be in danger because of her pregnancy.  A classic Eastenders storyline!

Challenge the young people to consider how they spend Christmas – to be grateful for the Christmas they have, and to be mindful of those who will struggle through Christmas.

Prayer

May our lives and our prayers be like lights shining in dark places.  And may the blessing of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – fill our hearts and homes with light this Christmas and in the new year to come.  Amen.

The Twelve Stats of Christmas

Ten lords a leaping, three wise men, two turtle doves. Christmas really is all about stats.  This week Pete Benton, Director of Data Collection at ONS, treated BBC Radio 2’s Steve Wright and his afternoon audience to a festive feast of seasonal statistics:

Love them or you hate them, their place in Christmas tradition is undeniable – Brussels sprouts.  According to some highly informal ONS research commissioned by Pete….

  • Supermarkets sell approximately 750million individual Brussels sprouts at Christmas time, but if you estimate how many are eaten, it’s only about half of that.
  • 25% of the whole year’s sprout sales are in the two weeks before Christmas.
  • An area covering 3240 football pitches are used to grow Brussels sprouts in the UK – and if you lined all those sprouts up, they would stretch from London to Sydney.

The occupation with the largest proportion of Christmas Day workers though was clergy, with 51% working. In total though, on Christmas Day 2016, 1.082 million people worked – that’s 3.4% of all in employment, and on Boxing Day 2016, 1.574 million people worked – 4.9% of all in employment.

Christmas marks the birth of a special baby and ONS data show that 1,391 babies were born in England & Wales on Christmas Day 2016.  When it comes to seasonal baby names, in 2017 – we had 166 called ‘Angel’, 4 called ‘Gift’, 37 ‘Star’s and 5 ‘Merry’s.  Holly was especially popular in December, 209 baby girls were named Holly in December 2017, compared to an average of 72 each month from January to November. For boys, last year there were 967 Gabriel’s, 398 babies named Nicholas and 120 named Noel.

Christmas assembly: chocolate brussels sprouts

Christmas brussel sprouts

This is my favourite Christmas talk – Chocolate Sprouts – I’ve used this in assemblies, carol services, across the age ranges.

 

Preparation

  • Boil the Brussels Sprouts (make sure they’re not too soft) and stick them in the fridge overnight.
  • Next morning, melt the chocolate and dip the sprouts in so that they look like truffles.  Let them set on a baking tray, then put them in small cake cases and sprinkle them with cocoa powder.

Talk

At the start of the talk, announce that you love Christmas so much, that you want to share it with everybody, and that what you have with you is something that will always remind them of Christmas day – delicious truffles!

Ask for a couple of volunteers to see if they can emulate Christmas day, by eating as many truffles as they can in 1 minute.  Build up the expectation and emphasise the need for speed in the challenge.

Once the young people start eating the ‘truffles’, they’ll realise that there’s something not quite right and their facial expressions will change from ones of sheer delight, to ones of outright disgust a they discover the sprouts. (You may want to have a plastic bag handy at this point!)

OK, so it’s a bit revolting, but here’s the point.

Ask the young people who loves chocolate, and also, who loves sprouts.

Say that Christmas, for most of us is a time of celebration, indulgence and happiness.  We love the ‘niceness’ of the Christmas season. It’s a bit like chocolate!

Go on to say that for many people, Christmas is not an easy time. For some it’s a time of loneliness, homelessness and struggle. For many people, Christmas is like our experience of sprouts – something to struggle through.

You could mention the first Christmas as an example. Mary was blessed with the news that she was to be the mother of God’s son, but probably struggled with knowing that her life could be in danger because of her pregnancy.  A classic Eastenders storyline!

Challenge the young people to consider how they spend Christmas – to be grateful for the Christmas they have, and to be mindful of those who will struggle through Christmas.

Prayer

May our lives and our prayers be like lights shining in dark places.  And may the blessing of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – fill our hearts and homes with light this Christmas and in the new year to come.  Amen.