School postpones Christmas

CHRISTMAS may be on the minds of many from as early as November but at one Ipswich primary school it has been cancelled -- well, at least until December 7.

CHRISTMAS may be on the minds of many from as early as November but at one Ipswich primary school it has been cancelled -- well, at least until December 7.

Pipers Vale has taken the step to put a ban on all things festive despite town centres across the county already displaying Christmas lights, trees and other yuletide paraphernalia weeks in advance of the big day.

In the school's autumn term newsletter, headteacher Sue Lines wrote: “Although the shops and television advertisements are full of Christmas ideas and information, Christmas will not be mentioned in school until December 7 allowing two weeks, which is plenty long enough, to undertake a range of activities and events.”

Speaking to the Evening Star today, Mrs Lines revealed her motives stemmed from a desire to prevent Christmas impinging on the rest of the school year.

She said: “It's normal practice here so the children think nothing of it - it's what we always do.

“Nobody mentions the word 'Christmas' until two weeks before the day. The children don't miss out because we will be doing a two-week topic on Christmas rather than killing it.

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“One person asked us why we were not doing anything at the start of November, but Christmas is on our television very early and it's in the shops too.

“If we were building towards it already there would be such an anti-climax when it finally came.”

The Evening Star has led the way in promoting Christmas in Ipswich, recently putting up the town centre's giant Christmas tree.

The town's lights have been switched on and it seems attention is firmly fixed on December 25.

However Mrs Lines said: “It is like celebrating fireworks night in August. If we started now, the children would be as high as kites by Christmas day.

“It seems to be a society thing to celebrate Christmas earlier and earlier but it's losing site of what the real purpose of Christmas is all about.

“We are not being driven by the commercial world. The adverts on television and in shops are there so early because they want to get people to spend money, but we don't have to be led by commerce. It simply puts families under pressure.”

Do you think Christmas is promoted too early? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to

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Heidi Waters' daughter Madison goes to Piper's Vale.

She said: “They are already doing Christmas things at Sure Start so she's asking about it.

“It shouldn't be up to the teachers to decide. It's everywhere you go no matter where you look.

“At their age, they should be told about the real reason we have Christmas.”

Paul Keeble and wife Suzanne have two children at Piper's Vale - Sophie, seven, and Daniel, four.

Suzanne said: “I think it's a good idea. Christmas is too early and it really spoils it.

“It's only November and all the talk is of Christmas already. I don't think the children appreciate it as much.

“It's not fair on the children to talk it up so much so early.”

Mr Keeble added: “I think the school is right.

“It starts much too early. The children are picking their Christmas presents in September!”

Leza Barber's daughter Kelsey, seven, is a pupil at Piper's Vale.

She said: “I think it's good. Children get too excited and if it's talked about too early they have so long to wait until it all happens.

“It's a long while for them to go if they are talking about Christmas already.”

Ravenswood Primary School headteacher Marilyn Such echoed Mrs Lines' views on Christmas preparations.

She said: “We keep it fairly low key until the last couple of weeks.

“It's hard to keep a lid on it because Christmas fever is all around us but as a school we don't initiate anything until two weeks before.”

At Morland Primary School, Christmas has already started.

Headteacher Ken Lunn said: “I love Christmas and the school loves Christmas. We start rehearsing Christmas carols and getting ready for it from the middle of November.

“After all, it only comes once a year.”