It was a joyous "Humbug Christmas" at Felty Elementary as children wore pajamas to school and witnessed some Humbugs learning the magic behind the special holiday.
The art teacher, Debbie Davis, has taught at Felty since it opened 10 years ago and every year, she’s made a book come to life. “The Christmas Humbugs,” held Monday, Dec. 18, was this year’s theme.
Felty Elementary principal Carrie Kazda said, “Mrs. Davis actually started this as a PTO volunteer, and was hired to the position of art teacher. She continued the Felty tradition of bringing a book to life making it bigger and better than ever.”
Davis further explained, “Ms. Kazda actually brought me the book years ago, but it’s really my favorite one we do. I love the sets we do, and we can just have lots of fun with it, and it’s really interactive with the kids. I would do it every year.”
Students entered the world of Humbugs, with teachers in full character, using only their squeaks to communicate. Draped in green antennas poked from their heads with bells attached, jingling with every move the humbugs made.
Students went through two rooms that were transformed from the usual classroom to oversized decorations, comparable to the perspective of a tiny, green humbug. The first humbug the students saw was Davis, as she greeted each student at the entrance.
First, the students would hear the story of “The Christmas Humbugs,” looking at projected pages of the book and watching teachers act out the silly humbugs that try to tear down holiday decorations on Christmas Eve. But when the charlatans wake up on Christmas Day, everything is put back to where it belonged.
“The best thing you can do is read to kids. I think them watching adults be kids is very important and relatable. I also truly think this might be the only Christmas that our kids get, so that’s why it’s always been really important to me to keep this tradition going,” Davis said.
After story-time, the students walked across the snowy hallway to visit with Santa Claus at the North Pole. The children made their way through cotton balls strung on fishing wire to give the feel of now falling.
Greeted with milk and cookies, each child shared what they wanted for Christmas. Santa got the students pumped for Christmas and even teased the children asking if they had seen his reindeer on the roof.
School secretary, Becky Lowry, said, “The main purpose of this is to get the kiddos excited for learning. This time of year is always exciting. But I will say that Ms. Davis showcases fun and imaginative activities constantly to keep the kids interested in learning. She uses quite a few strategies throughout the year.”
Davis had been preparing for the Humbug Christmas for over a month. This event brought together the kids, and when speaking with Santa, students were connecting with what they wanted for Christmas.
Davis crafted the transformation over the weekend, so the students left Friday’s classroom with minimal decorations and came back to school on Monday to a humbug atmosphere.
“The students were just in awe. They have this every year, but it never dampens the excitement that’s expressed that day. I cannot think of a better word for it besides magical. It’s truly a transformation,” Lowry explained.
Kazda said, “It’s all about spreading joy. Some students don’t have the chance to attend events or have these opportunities otherwise. Bringing a book to life takes them on an adventure into a land of holiday magic.”
Later that evening, Felty hosted its first annual Light Festival at the school where families walked through the hallways that were altered for Christmas. In the cafeteria, the book reenactment from early that day played so families who are not familiar with the humbugs can experience it.