The Christmas Competition




BY Andre A. A. Lederer

© 2004, 2005




Important:  Please do not remove this page from copy.  Please see note.


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Serving Tray

Hordourves (Use cut up bagels)

Two pairs of binoculars

Punch Bowl and cups


Grey color hair spray

Tall, decorative candle w decoration around bottom for coffee table

Telephone table


Coffee table

Another telephone table for punch bowl if behind guests

Christmas tree

Small New Testament



20 minutes 



9 to 13  (11 in this script)



Use microphones as needed

Microphone(s) for the offstage dialogue



No special lighting required

Lights must be shut off during the scene when the power fails



1 cane for Mr. Carson

1 artificial grey beard and/or grey hair dye for Mr. Carson

7 upper to middleclass costumes for Arthur, Bernie, Flora, Harriet, Evelyn, Walter, and Mr. Carson.

4 casual teenager costumes for Marcy, Gerry, Rob, and Junior  





The Living room of Harriet and Arthur Jones



Harriet:  (on the phone) Oh, we had a great day shopping today.  I picked up a beautiful Tommy Fillhigger Christmas decoration for the tree for half price. (pause) Ya, only seventy dollars!  (pause) No no, seventy dollars was the sale price, yes, just for one…Yes and Arthur was busy too, he was out looking for a gas powered generator in case the power goes out so he’ll be able to keep the front yard Christmas decorations and lights running.  Anyway, I really should be going, were going to the neighbours for dinner tonight.  Ok, goodbye.


(Harriet hangs up the phone)


Harriet:  (looks through the window blinds) [complaining] Oh wow, it’s still snowing outside!


Junior:  Ya, it’s really starting to pile up out there!


Arthur:  I hope Mr. Carson next door doesn’t expect me to snow blow off his driveway again! 


Harriet:  Oh dear, it really only takes you a few more seconds doesn’t it?


Arthur:  That’s not the point.  The reason I bought the snow blower was to make MY life easier, not everyone else’s on the block.


Harriet:  But we’re only talking about poor old Mr. Carson’s driveway.


Arthur:  Ya right, don’t you see, that’s just the beginning, if I start blowing off Mr. Carson’s driveway then old Mrs. Phillips will want to have hers done too.  And then there’s Bernie from across the street who’ll say “hey Arthur my backs been bothering me lately, do you mind taking a couple of swipes down my driveway!  I mean I might as well strap on a couple of extra cans of gas to my back and do the whole neighbourhood!


Harriet:  (sarcastically) That’s the spirit honey!


Junior:  (playing a video game) Why don’t you just take the snow blower back dad?


Arthur:  Good idea, then maybe you can pry yourself away from your game system and try out the shovel I bought you last year!


Junior:  Oh, ah never mind, keep the snow blower.


Arthur: [sarcastically] Yes indeed son, if there’s anything else I can do to keep your entertainment umbilical cord from being detached from the game system just let me know.


Harriet:  Oh Honey, Junior’s not always on the game system.


(Rob Walks into the Room.) 


Junior:  Hey Rob, do you want to help me build some snowmen? 


Harriet: (to Arthur) You see, he’s even offering to go outside to play with his younger brother.


Junior: [disgruntled] Outside, I’m not going outside!  I want him to help me build a snowman in the game I rented, Wario’s Winter Wars.


Rob:  Cool!  I didn’t think that was coming out till next week.  (He hurries over to play with his brother).


Harriet:  Oh well, you know, I guess building a snowman outside in the snow or inside on the T.V. is almost the same… (Stopping to think and then confidently saying) I mean it’s still an innocent enough activity. 


Arthur: Innocent? Junior, why don’t you tell your mother about the game.


Junior:  Well, you have to build as many snowmen as you can before the winter warriors come with their flamethrowers and vaporize them. 


Rob: [excitedly] Ya but you can get bombs that you can implant in the bellies of the snowmen so when the warriors come to vaporize them they’ll blow up the winter warriors to smithereens! (Evil laugh)


Harriet:  Oh, that uhh… I think we need a family forum or something.  But not tonight, we have to get ready for dinner.


Arthur:  Oh ya, right… (pause) So, who’s going to be there tonight?


Harriet:  Well, there’s Mr. And Mrs. Matthews and their son from across the street.  They’re the people that are taking our boys go to church with on Sundays. 


Rob:  Ya, Mr. Matthews is actually my Sunday School Teacher.  He’s really cool.


Harriet:  He’s also the president of one of the largest furniture manufacturers in North America.


(Junior rides up of the rear two legs of the easy chair)


Arthur:  Oh, good, maybe he can cut us a deal on a new easy chair seeing that our two couch potatoes have all but worn out this one.  (pause)  Who else is going to be there?


Harriet:  Well, there’s Mrs. Philips and old Mr. Carson from next door.


Arthur:  Will you stop saying OLD Mr. Carson; you make him sound like a helpless old invalid.


Junior:  But dad, he’s like 90 years old!


Rob:  Ya, and he walks with a cane!


Arthur:  Pah, he’s not 90 he’s only (pausing) 86…either way I still don’t want to snow blow his driveway.


Junior:  (finishes the video game) Hey that was a good game!  (puts down the game controller, gets up from the chair) 


Harriet:  Oh, you boys are finished playing are you?


Junior:  No, I just paused it; I got to get something to eat!  (He walks off toward the kitchen)  


Harriet:  Save your appetite for supper.


Rob:  (Walks over to the window and looks through the blinds at the house across the street.)  So, are we going over to the neighbours tonight?  You know, the one’s you have that decoration competition with. 


Harriet:  (laughing uncomfortably trying to brush off the statement) Yes, and it’s not a competition dear, our families just want to… brighten up the neighbourhood a little.


Rob: [sarcastically] Ya right, the Great Wall of China and our two houses are the only man made structures that can be seen from outer space.


Junior:  Well, I’m glad it’s not a competition because they just set up new nativity scene with wise men and everything!


Arthur and Harriet: [shocked and concerned] What!  No!  Really?  (They rush to the window pushing Rob out of the way to see the neighbour’s new decorations.) 


Harriet:  Just a minute (she runs back to the drawer of the end table and grabs her mini binoculars and looks out the window)


Arthur: [upset] That ratfink, he did put up a new manger scene!


Harriet:  Yes, (looking through the binoculars) and it’s this years model too.


Arthur:  That’s it; desperate times call for desperate measures!


Harriet:  Honey, What are you going to do?


Arthur:  I didn’t think it would come to this, but I’m going to do what I should have done days ago, I going to put up… [Grabbing the medium sized box from beside the couch and showing it to the family]  The Inflate-a-Santa 2000! 


Harriet:  You mean the one with neon belt and life like facial hair. 


Arthur:  Yes, I was saving it for this very occasion. [Arrogantly] I will not be out done!  (Leaves slamming the door)




Junior: (looking out the window at the Christmas decorations) [sarcastically] Not a competition huh.



Scene II


The Living Room of Bernie and Flora Carter


Bernie:  Cindy dear, did you turn on the backyard lights like I asked you to earlier?


Marcy:  Yes dad, I did it 2 hours ago.  (Pause) You know, I don’t really understand why we have ten times more lights in our back yard than most people have in their front.


Bernie:  Oh, do I detect a lack of Christmas spirit? (he says lightly chastising)


Marcy:  Ahhh Dad.  (Marcy moves over to look out the front window) Hey mom, when’s the company coming over?


Flora:  Any time now dear.


Bernie:  Hey, I wonder if Arthur has noticed my new manger scene yet?


Marcy:  (looking out the window) Well, I think he has, because he’s out on his front yard right now with a box of decorations or something.


Bernie: What!  (Bernie and Flora walk quickly over to the window pushing Marcy out of the way and look across the street at Arthur.  Marcy pulls out a pair of binoculars to view their neighbour).  Not to worry, what could he possibly have in that little box that could be of any significance? 


(Sound of something inflating [make an inflating noise in a microphone off stage])


Flora:  (watching it inflate) Oh My!


Bernie:  What?  It can’t be! (they lower the binoculars and take a step back as the object inflates)


Marcy: [shocked] It must be over twenty-feet tall!


Bernie and Flora together:  It’s the Inflate-a-Santa 2000 with neon Belt and life like facial hair.  (They bite their knuckles)


Bernie:  That’s it (hanging his head) we’ve been out done.


Flora:  Not yet we haven’t!


Bernie:  What do you mean?


Flora:  They may have us on the decorations this year but not dinner!


Bernie:  Really?


Flora:  This year I went all out and bought an $80.00 guaranteed tender prime rib roast that I’m serving with Aunt Lil’s Yorkshire pudding and for desert, my mom’s double chocolate cheesecake.


Bernie:  Wow, do you think it will top Harriet’s chicken & rib O-rama dinner we had last year?


Flora:  Absolutely.  I’m cooking the roast in our brand new counter top rotisserie oven.


Bernie:  You mean the one we just got from our favourite infomercial station.


Flora:  That’s the one!  You know the saying, [Flora and Benie say together] just set it and forget it!


Bernie:  (placing his hand her shoulder) Well dear, it’s all up to you now. 


(Knock on the front door)


Marcy: I’ll get it!  (Marcy opens the door and Mr. Carson and Mrs. Philips)  Hi Mr. Carson please come in!


Flora:  Yes, come in; please let me take your coat (Flora takes their coats and hangs them up on the Coat stand)



Marcy:  (Marcy looks down the pathway and sees Mr. and Mrs. Matthews and their son Gerry coming) Oh, Mr. and Mrs Mathews and Gerry are here too! 


(Walter, Evelyn and Gerry Matthews enter the room.) 


Marcy:  Hi Mr. and Mrs. Matthews, Hi Gerry!  Mom, Dad, this is Walter Matthews my Sunday school teacher, and his wife Evelyn Matthews. 


Flora:  Well, pleased to meet you, Marcy’s told us so much about you. 


Mrs. Matthews:  It’s really a pleasure to have Marcy in our Sunday school class.  She’s a very nice girl.


Marcy:  Hey Gerry, I challenge you to an air hockey game.


Gerry: I think I’m up to that challenge!  (They leave to the other room, off stage)


Bernie:  (Introducing himself to the Matthews)  Hi, come on in.  Say, Walter may I introduce you to…(gesturing to Mr. Carson)


Mr. Matthews:  (cutting off Bernie) Oh, Mr. Carson!  (Shakes Mr. Carson’s hand) 


Bernie:  Oh, you know each other?


Mr Carson:  Yes, Walter and I belong to the Gideons International.


Bernie:  Oh, the folks that put the bibles in Hotel rooms?


Mr. Carson:  Yes, Walter And I have known each other for years.


Flora:  Wow, small world.  This (Flora gestures to Mrs Philips) is Mrs Philips (they all exchange greetings) now that we’ve all been introduced, please feel free to make yourselves at home. 


Mr. Matthews:  Well, that’s really quite the display you have out there Bernie.


Bernie:  Oh, well, thank you.  (Bernie says feeling quite proud)


Mr. Carson:  (excited) Ya but did you see that Santa across the street?


Mr. Matthews:  Ya, amazing, that thing must be over twenty feet tall.


Bernie:  Oh, is there something out there? (Bernie pretends that he has trouble finding it)  Oh there, oh yes there, a little over done I’d say.


Mrs. Philips:  Oh I think it’s rather festive!


Bernie: (whispers out loud to his wife)  Who invited her anyway?


Flora:  Well, just make yourselves at home everyone.  Bernie, can I have your help for a moment downstairs.


Bernie:  Oh, sure (Bernie gets up to help Flora)


Flora:  We’ll be right back


Bernie: (mumbles going down the stairs) Rather festive…20 foot tall Santa…


Flora:  Shh...


(Bernie and flora go downstairs.)


Walter:  So, Mr. Carson, how are you doing this year?  I mean since Mrs. Carson…


Mr. Carson:  Thanks Walter, I know what you mean.  Well, I can’t say that it hasn’t been difficult.  Daisy and I spent 61 wonderful Christmases together.  I really wish she were still with us.  But I know that she’s with the Lord now.  I guess Mrs. Philips knows how I feel.


Mrs. Philips:  Yes, it been 11 years without my Douglas, it get easier but it always hurts a little.


Evelyn:  Well, if there is anything we can do please don’t hesitate to call, ok?


Mr. Carson:  Well, I appreciate that.


(Moment of silence)


Mr. Carson:  Well, how are you all doing this year?  Did you get all your shopping done?


Evelyn:  Ya, pretty much, but we’re really trying to keep the commercial side of Christmas low key this year.  You know, not going overboard with the food and gifts and things like that. 


Mr. Carson:  It’s not an easy thing to do is it?


Evelyn:  Yep, it sure is hard not to get carried away.


Mr. Carson:  Speaking of which, I’ve been praying for Bernie and Flora and my Neighbours Arthur and Harriet who should be here soon.  They’ve really got a zeal for Christmas but I’m afraid they don’t know, well, the Christ of Christmas.  But I’m glad to see that their kids are attending your Sunday school class though.


(There’s a knock on the door…)


Mr. Carson:  Oh, I’ll bet that’s must be them now.


Flora:  Coming, Coming!  (Flora runs upstairs to answer the door)  Hey guys come on in!  Make yourself at home.


Marcy: (comes up from the basement) Hey Rob, hey Junior.


Rob & Junior:  Hey Marcy!


Marcy:  So Rob, where’s Sandy?


Junior:  Oh, they broke up about a week ago.


Marcy:  Oh really!  (she says excitedly and prospectively)


Rob:  (looking at Junior)  Big mouth.


Marcy:  (after recomposing herself) Let’s go downstairs we’ll have an air hockey tournament or something?


Rob & Junior:  Ok.


(They run downstairs)


Flora:  (doing introductions) Arthur and Harriet, I believe you know Mr. Carson & Mrs Philips. 


Arthur:  Well of course, Hello, Merry Christmas! 



(They exchange Greetings).


Flora:  And this is Walter and Evelyn Matthews.  They are our daughter’s Youth Leaders. 


(Arthur and Harriet exchange greetings with Walter and Evelyn.)


Mr. Carson:  (Stands) Hey Arthur, I have something for you.


Bernie: For me?


Mr. Carson:  Yes, it just a little something to say thanks for the times that you’ve snow-blowed my driveway off.


Arthur:  (accepting the gift) Oh, you didn’t have to do that, why it’s no trouble at all.  In fact I was just saying to Harriet earlier how I wouldn’t mind doing the whole neighbourhood!  (when Arthur says “whole neighbourhood, he stretches out his arms.  Then his wife, whose standing right beside him, elbows him in the ribs)


Mr. Carson:  But you really don’t have to do my driveway.  The funny thing is that I hired a snow removal company at the beginning of the season to do it.  It seems that just when you finish snow blowing my driveway, the snow removal company arrives and then just drives on by.


Arthur: Really? (Pause)  Well then…


Mrs. Philips:  Well Arthur, if you really like snow blowing that much, I’d love it if you could do my driveway.


Arthur:  (insincerely)  Oh, yes, I’d love to do your driveway, sure…ya


Flora:  (Cutting off the conversation) Where is Bernie?  (Calling downstairs)  Bernie, Arthur and Harriet are here!


Bernie:  I’ll be right up!


Flora:  Well, I’m just going to check on dinner, I’ll be right back.  (Flora exits to the kitchen.)


Arthur:  (walks over to the window and looks outside to admire his Santa 2000) Boy, that big red guy he sure is beautiful!


Bernie Enters The living


Arthur:  (knowing that he’s won this years competition puffs up his chest and talks down to Arthur) Hello Bernie


Bernie: (replying with a defiant glare) Hello Arthur.


Arthur:  Say, nice new manger scene, Arthur.  You really outdid yourself this year.


Bernie:  Yes well… (Quickly changes conversation) Say, who would like some punch? (people motion to get up)


Others:  Sure (some start to get their own) oh, no, no please allow me to get it for you.


Flora:  (enters from the kitchen in a fluster, but then recomposes herself) Bernie, can I see you for a moment in the kitchen? (She nods towards the kitchen)


Bernie:  Sure, I’ll be right there dear.


Flora:  (urgently) Ah, could you come now please?


Bernie:  Sure, I’m just going to pour our guests some punch and I’ll be right…


Flora:  (cutting him off and speaking in a demanding tone) Now Bernie!


Bernie:  Ok dear!


Flora: (re-composed) It’s all-right everyone, dinner will be on soon! (She pulls Bernie into the kitchen).


(A microphone offstage is turned on)


Bernie:  What’s the matter Flora?


Flora:  Come over here and take a look…here open rotisserie oven door and look at the roast. 


Bernie:  Ok…ewww… it’s a little pink don’t you think? 


Flora: [frustrated] Pink!?  It’s absolutely raw. 


Bernie:  How long has it been in there for?


Flora:  I put it in 2 hours ago!


Bernie:  Why didn’t you check on it?


Flora:  I shouldn’t have to, the instructions say to just set it and forget it!


Bernie:  What could be the problem here?  Hmm (examining the situation), it’s plugged in, but the power light isn’t on.


Flora:  Lights?  Wait; aren’t the backyard Christmas lights supposed to be on? 


Bernie:  Well yes, Marcy said that she turned them on about 2…hours…. ago…Oh no, they must be on the same circuit we must have blown a fuse!


Flora:  Now what are we going to do?


Bernie:  I know, I could try plugging in the backyard lights into the socket on the other side of the house!


Flora:  No, not about the stupid lights, what do we do about dinner?


Bernie:  Right, right hmmmm.


Flora:  Ok, we’ll have to stall them until I can get something together.


(Marcy comes up from the basement, walks across the stage, and enters the kitchen)


Marcy:  What’s going on in here?


Flora:  Good Marcy’s here!  Marcy, no time to explain just take the hordourves out of the microwave and serve them to our guests.


Marcy:  Ok (she leaves the kitchen and serves the hor’ dourves)


Flora:  (Still panicked) Bernie, I’ve found some pizza pops, can you stick them in the microwave and defrost them.


Bernie:  Right, (pause) ah there’s no power to the microwave either!


Flora:  (very panicked) What!!!  No power to the Microwave?


Bernie:  No, why?


Marcy:  I sent Marcy out with the hor' dourves that were from the microwave they not cooked! 


Bernie:  (sarcastically) Great!  Bernie bolts out to retrieve hor’ dourves


(As Bernie enters the living room and comes close to the hor’ dourves,  Evelyn Matthews takes a bite of a raw hor’ dourve.)


Evelyn:  (biting into the hor’ dourves) OH EWW! (she stands up in disgust and spits it into her napkin)


Bernie:  (Looking at Evelyn) bit of a funny taste isn’t it?


Evelyn:  They’re raw!


Bernie:  Oh, would you prefer a cooked one?  We’ll I suppose you all may like your cooked, so I’ll just take these back into the kitchen and cook them up a bit for you!  (Bernie quickly collects the hordourves out of everyone’s hands and goes back into the kitchen) 


Bernie:  Look, I know just what we can do, I’ll take this penny and wedge it into the fuse and everything will be up and running again! 


Marcy:  Isn’t that dangerous dad?


Bernie:  No, I did the same thing last week for the decorations in the front yard.


Flora:  Ok Bernie but…


Bernie:  I know, I’ll be careful.


Flora:  No, hurry!  We don’t have much time!


Bernie: Thanks dear.


(Back in the living room)


(Junior, Robert, and Gerry emerge from the basement and notice the Game System.)


Rob:  Hey Junior, They’ve got a game system, do you want to play? 


Junior:  Do you have to ask?


(The boys turn on the game system and turn up the volume really loud.  The make comments like “I’m winning” or “I got you this time” and “watch out for the flame thrower”! Etc.)


Flora: (Comes out of the kitchen all flustered because her mind is still on the events in the kitchen) Hi everyone, are you all having a good time?  I know, maybe a little Christmas music, I’ve got just the CD.  She turns on the stereo and plays the music very loudly.  Marcy then turns back to the kitchen) Dinner’s almost raw... (correcting herself immediately) I mean ready.  (She leaves the room quickly)


(The adult guests try to have a conversation but almost have to yell above the music and the game system.  Things seem a little chaotic)


(Off stage over the microphone)


Flora:  Bernie how are you making out? 


Bernie:  I think I got it…hold on…there!  (Electrocution sound)  Ahhhh!


(The power immediately goes off in the whole house.  The lights, music and game machine all go off and all that’s left giving off any light is the candle in the middle of the table)


(In the living room)


Everyone:  Whoa, what in the world…what happened? (silence)


Gerry:  (looking out the window)  Wow, the powers out in the whole neighbourhood!


(Off stage)


Flora:  Bernie, are you ok?


Bernie: I’m fine except for my pride. 


(Flora, Cindy and Bernie enter the family room where everyone else is.) 


Flora:  Hi everyone.


Everyone:  Bernie, what happened, are you all right? 


Bernie:  Ya, I’m ok.


Flora:  Oh, I’m so sorry everyone; I really wanted this dinner to be the most memorable one you have had.


Junior:  Well, I think you succeeded.


Harriet:  (Scolding) Junior!


Flora:  I mean I guess I wanted to just show off and…I …I’m just really sorry.


Harriet:  Oh, I’m sorry too, I guess I lost focus last year’s dinner too.


Flora:  Well, I guess there’s not much to do unless you all want to stay and just sit around a candle all night long.


Marcy:  Mr. Matthews,


Walter:  Yes Marcy:


Marcy:  Do you still have that New Testament you carry with you?


Walter:  Ah, yes I do, why?


Marcy:  Well, I thought that it would be kinda nice with the candle going and all, if you could read some of the Christmas Story to us.


Walter:  (Uncomfortable) Oh Marcy I don’t know if it’s really appropriate and besides, my eyes aren’t great under low light.


Gerry:  That’s ok dad, I’ll read it for you.


Flora:  You know Walter; I’d really like that.


Harriet:  Yes, me too


Arthur:  I’m in.


(Everyone agrees and moves closer to the Candle and listens…)


Gerry: (reads Read Luke 1:1-11)


(As soon as verse 11 is read, the power goes back on…)


(Everyone, since they were enjoying the reading, they all express disappointment that the lights came back on.   Then Bernie stands up and walks towards the door.)


Flora:  Oh, honey, are you going to check on the Christmas displays?


Bernie:  No, I just thought we’d start over again and do it right this time!  (Bernie turns off the lights) Would you continue Gerry?


Gerry:  Oh, sure…Lets see, where did I leave off?  (Re-read verse 11 and during the reading of verse 12 he quiets his tone until silence.)



The End