JESUS was Mary’s Christmas present . . . that was the opinion of one youngster as she took to the stage to rehearse her role in the traditional nativity play.

Bringing the Christmas story alive remains a seasonal favourite for Bolton’s primary schools despite reports suggesting that the Nativity is being ditched in favour of non-religious shows like Scrooge.

At Top o’th Brow School in Breightmet the staging of the Christmas story, complete with shepherds, three kings and a few not-so traditional characters, including a shy bunny rabbit, was a must.

Parents and grandparents looked forward to the performance just as much as the pupils.

The school’s festive show this year was called Two Little Nativities — Christmas Eve in the Toy Shop and The Christmas Star.

Year two teacher, Judith Potts, said: “It is very important to stage the Nativity as the meaning of Christmas can be so often forgotten among the celebrations.

“The nativity play is a way of telling the children the true meaning of Christmas.”

Her colleague, teacher Joanne Fold, said: “We wanted to involve the whole school in some way, be it starring in the production or singing, so we adapted the Nativity and this year told the story in two parts. But at the heart of it was the Christmas story.

“It is a lot of fun and the children love it. They have worked hard and done everybody proud.”

The young actors have their own views on Jesus and the Christmas story.

Natalie Bond-Hunter, aged six, said: “Mary had a baby, who was Jesus. He was her Christmas present. Then Jesus was visited by three kings, who bought him presents and that is why we get Christmas presents today.”

Kyle Clayton, aged six, who played a shepherd, said: “Jesus means love. He is like God and we pray to him.”

Bradley Everett, aged six, one of the three kings, said: “Jesus saves the world from bad men, and Christmas Day is his birthday. That is why presents are given.”