Back in the day ...when I was in school, we always had a class Christmas party, the last hour of the last day before Christmas vacation. Remember homeroom mothers? Those were the three or four ladies who had voluteered to host the classroom parties for the year - they furnished refreshments, games, prizes, etc. At least that's the way it was done in my time and then the same routine was still in effect when my own children were in school. My Mom worked and never could be at school during school hours, but I was one of the homeroom mothers at one time or another for all three of my children. In one school my youngest attended, I was several times the homeroom mother for a class that had no mother-volunteers. Of course, those were the children that needed a party most of all. I always thought it great fun!
I know that the teachers were only too happy to turn the children over to us for that final hour of excitement. They had overseen the production of home made ornaments and presents for Mom and Dad for many December days prior to the party day. I'm quite sure they looked forward to the vacation as much as the children.
Pageants in school? No, I don't remember any in my own experience. The school pretty much left that sort of event up to the local churches. We had school plays and programs, but not really any Christmas pageants.
We did usually have school music programs at Christmas time, when the elementary classes performed for each other. After we were in Junior High and High School, the band and chorus always had a Christmas concert - usually performed once for the student body and once at night or on Sunday afternoon for the public. I did have my moments of fame ...I sang one verse of What Child Is This as a solo my senior year in Glee Club. Please don't tell, but I was also the horse whinney in Sleighride.