My parish used to have several Nativity pageants each year. The preschoolers had one on Sunday morning, after the mass that took place at the same time as their classes. Now, due to lack of participation, the preschool classes are no more. The elementary religion program had one on their last class before Christmas, which was followed by a Christmas party. The program was a basic retelling of the story, accompanied by carols, with the addition of the Little Drummer Boy and, at the end, Santa entering and kneeling before the manger. There was one at the parish children's mass on Christmas Eve. Cookie Monster and Elmo puppets told the story while kids in costume came down the aisle to the sanctuary did the manger scene. I thought the puppets were a bit over the top, but the play itself was simple--the kids just walked down the aisle and took their places. Carols were sung. I'm sure the school kids did something, and finally, the teens did a Living Nativity on the front lawn of the church, right by a major street on either the Sunday before or Sunday after Christmas. This year, from what I understand, there will be only one--the teens are doing one on the Tuesday night after Christmas.
What has changed? In short, the pastor and the DRE. Our old DRE put a lot of work into those productions, as well as into similar productions at Easter. Our new DRE does not seem inclined to do so. However, the real reason is that our pastor has insisted that during Advent we celebrate Advent, not Christmas. I understand his point, but I'm afraid that what people are going to see is not that we celebrate Advent, but rather, that our parish doesn't celebrate Christmas--at least not with anything for the kids. By the time school and CCD resume after Christmas, the Christmas season will be over. The one Christmas party that most of these kids attended that focused on the reason for the season was cancelled because it happened during Advent.