....to want to make a bit more effort with DS2's Christmas costume?

(33 Posts)
LaContessaDiPlump Tue 22-Nov-16 17:53:47

DS2 is going to be a shepherd in the Reception Christmas play. The costume guidance has come home now, and for shepherds they recommend:
Black/grey trousers
Black/grey/white top
Tea towel for head

confused tea towel? My dad is Arab and I grew in the Middle East, so maybe I'm hung up on this. But tea towel?!

WIBU to make an effort to acquire a more appropriate item for him to wear on his head? Say, a large piece of clean cloth, or a scarf? Not a wooly one obvs....

Mouseinahole Tue 22-Nov-16 17:55:52

YANBU at all though the tea towel has been the accepted headdress for infant shepherds for generations, usually worn with a dressing gown rather than shirt and trousers.

LaContessaDiPlump Tue 22-Nov-16 17:57:20

I have discovered that it does indeed have this venerable heritage. However, I think the item may need updating to reflect the times!

Seachangeshell Tue 22-Nov-16 18:04:07

Well do what you like- the teachers won't mind. They're just trying to make it easier for parents.

mouldycheesefan Tue 22-Nov-16 18:05:43

How is a scarf making more effort than a tea towel?

sparepantsandtoothbrush Tue 22-Nov-16 18:06:01

Dressing gown and tea towel combos have been the accepted shepherd outfit for generations! Cheap and cheerful and cute and I miss mine being infant school age

ItShouldHaveBeenJingleJess Tue 22-Nov-16 18:06:58

Update it! I have received a text from school asking me to bring in DS's 'chicken costume' on Friday. Er, what chicken costume?!! In my day (am old) the school sorted this stuff.

Only1scoop Tue 22-Nov-16 18:07:06

Large piece of cloth or large clean tea towel either acceptable.

BertrandRussell Tue 22-Nov-16 18:07:13

I really wouldn't. Either your ds will want a tea towel like all the others, or all the others will want whatever it is you make for your ds.

Go with the tea towel.

LaContessaDiPlump Tue 22-Nov-16 18:08:13

People generally make more effort to look after scarves than tea towels; therefore a scarf is sort of a higher-tier item IYSWIM.

I know it sounds weird, but I've got millions many cousins who would be hurt and offended if I ever mentioned the tea towel thing to them; it's an unpleasant cultural stereotype IMO.

Whatsername17 Tue 22-Nov-16 18:09:04

My dd was an angel last year. The guidance was a white t-shirt and silver tinsel for her hair. I and all the other angel mums bought a £6 angel dress up costume from wilkos. Luckily, she's an angel this year too and the dress still fits!

Only1scoop Tue 22-Nov-16 18:10:35

Hope I haven't offended and Romans with my pillowcase with three holes blush

LaContessaDiPlump Tue 22-Nov-16 18:10:48

I was thinking I'd go to a fabric shop and get some appropriately patterned material that could be folded up and fitted nicely. Happy to cater for all shepherds if needed grin

Whatsername17 Tue 22-Nov-16 18:11:33

Posted too soon. You can just buy a shepards outfit which is more culturally appropriate.

LaContessaDiPlump Tue 22-Nov-16 18:15:26

That would probably work too Whatsername!

JemimaMuddledUp Tue 22-Nov-16 18:20:20

I would imagine that the school is trying to make things as cheap and easy for the parents as possible.

Nothing stopping you doing something more elaborate.

BertrandRussell Tue 22-Nov-16 18:21:43

Talk to the teacher. Offer to do all of them. But don't, whatever you do, do just one.

LaContessaDiPlump Tue 22-Nov-16 18:24:59

Don't worry, I understand the teacher's motivation and don't want to single my son out. I will tread carefully.

Tea towels though....

BertrandRussell Tue 22-Nov-16 18:29:45

Can I ask why you are upset about tea towels? I think they are chosen because people always have (or certainly used to have) tea towels in white and check patterns that are actually quite similar to the pattern of the head cloths in traditional Palestinian costume. It's not the teatowelness, but the white and checkness that's being gone for.

Mypurplecaravan Tue 22-Nov-16 18:36:04

Tea towel and dressing gown has the advantage that it is the accepted dress for infant nativity plays.

The problem with choosing/making more appropriate cloth into a headdress is that it can become more racist rather than less.... it will be a pastiche of modern arabic/palestinian dress with all of the politics that brings with it.

I am not at all dismissing the difficulties of a teatowel on the head being thought an appropriate way to represent a group of people (and that this my perpetuate the stereotype and the racial slur rag-head)..... but it is at least traditional nativity play wear (we have photos of my grandfather in his nativity wearing that 80 years ago)

I'm sure you are better placed than I to comment on which is more racist though. And I don't want to dismiss your feelings by simply saying "but this is how we've always done it".... but it is.

NancyJoan Tue 22-Nov-16 18:43:54

All my tea towels are holiday ones, with boats/maps/tea cups on them. My DS, who is also playing a shepherd, would look pretty daft with one of those on his head.I think a general piece of fabric will be fine, and I suspect many people will do the same.

MabelTheCow Tue 22-Nov-16 18:44:32

If you would like to make 3 more appropriate headdresses, the teachers would be very grateful and many schools with costumes keep them from year to year. That costume list is written for ease of parents needing to provide costumes so they don't have something else to pay for at an expensive time of year.

jelliebelly Tue 22-Nov-16 18:56:11

School are just trying to make life easier for those that don't have time money or inclination to choose,buy and fit specific fabric headdress

LaContessaDiPlump Tue 22-Nov-16 21:47:06

I get what you mean Mypurplecaravan, don't worry. I was just going to go for generic cloth rather than an imitation of authentic dress!

I think it's the menial role of a tea towel in the general scheme of things that gets me, Bertrand - I understand about the pattern being the thing, but tea towels are a bit too close to rags and the insult mentioned upthread for me.

Don't worry, I am not going to accost the teacher. I will probably stretch to going to Edgware Road and getting a few of the proper circlets used to hold a scarf on a male head though (child sized obv) and present them to the school. May make the tea cloths look less tea-clothy grin

ChickyDuck Tue 22-Nov-16 22:02:59

To be honest, when I see a kid (or any other person for that matter) with a tea towel on their head, I don't think "Arab" or "middle eastern", I simply think "shepherd". Obviously it was originally derived by imitating cultural dress, but I rather think it has transcended that to simply indicate the nativity character, much like blue dress = Mary and white with tinsel = angel!

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