No doubt many young Naperville residents will be waking up as early as possible Christmas morning.
But some area seventh-graders also would like everyone to set their alarms early on Sunday as well for a different kind of gift.
Rather than performing the typical Christmas pageant in front of a live audience, about 16 students from Ss. Peter and Paul Elementary School will take to North Central College's WONC 89.1-FM airwaves to tell the traditional Christmas story from a new perspective.
Rather than acting out the story of Joseph and Mary and their adventures in the manger, "The Good News Chronicles" tells the story from the perspective of foreign radio correspondents checking in from across the region as they report on the events leading up to the birth of Jesus.
"This was originally written as a performance play for the seventh-graders several years ago by another teacher and myself. The idea was to put a different spin on the Christmas story," said science teacher Kent Schielke. "Students have performed the play before, but there's just not much action. So I wondered how it would come across on the radio. Thankfully the folks at WONC are giving us a chance to find out."
Schielke said students were initially disappointed and confused when told they would not be performing onstage. But their attitudes quickly changed, he said, once they learned about the characters and began experimenting with voices.
Aimee Guay, 12, is the voice of Mary and she said she much prefers being only the voice behind the character.
"You don't have to worry about going overboard and being a little silly with your expressions and hands," she said. "There's just a lot less stress without hundreds of people staring at you, waiting for you to mess up."
Students, who already have class work to memorize, said they also appreciate not having to memorize their lines.
Caroline Kubacki, 13, provides voices for several reporters throughout the performance and said she never would never have been able to remember all of the lines.
"I don't memorize lines really fast so its easier for me to read from the page and create accents and fun sound effects," she said.
They'll all get to hear the fruits of their labor for the first time from 7:30 to 8 a.m. Sunday on WONC, right along with the rest of the community.
"I'm waking up everyone I know so they can tune in and listen to us," said Jack Lapean, who plays Joseph. "And I plan to record it so I can listen to myself over and over because we're going to be awesome."