It’s been a Christmas tradition in our family for years. And luckily there’s only one role that must be played by a female (because we ended up with one girl and seven boys!). But after over 15 Christmas Eves of the same exact nativity play (straight from Luke with a few traditional hymns sprinkled in) , I thought it might be fun to research some different ways to tell the nativity story other than the typical towel-covered covered shepherds and sheet-clad angels.
Here’s a list of five unique ideas you can use to change up your family’s nativity tradition this year:
This fun script from the Friend magazine combines characters from the traditional Judean scene with Book of Mormon personalities such as Samuel the Lamanite. Throw in a few primary Christmas songs and it’s a short, but sweet, twist on the usual nativity story.
Toddlers and costumes aren’t always the best combo. Especially when three kids all want to be the angel. So…this idea from the website Rainy Day Mum takes care of all your nativity fashion dilemmas by removing costumes from the equation. Create these DIY nativity story stones to help your kids remember the true meaning of Christmas with a hands-on (but not costumes-on) approach.
Also avoiding costumes, this method of telling the nativity story by lighting candles as you go, would be a fun object lesson as you discuss how Jesus is truly the “Light of the World.” Little ones are sure to stay enthralled (flames!) as you dim the lights and share the story of the Savior’s birth in old-fashioned candlelight.
This Christmas story activity is perfect for families with small children who need to stay active because they have an attention span of 5.7 seconds. Using nativity figurines and several clues as to their hiding places, children can go on a “hunt” to fill their empty stable scene (reviewing the Christmas story at the same time).
If the kids are having a Christmas Eve melt down and doing an elaborate activity just isn’t going to happen, another great way to review the Christmas story is with the high-quality Bible videos produced by the Church. Your family can choose to watch the simple seven-minute version (see below) or start with the video re-enacting the Angel Gabriel’s appearance to Mary and go all the way through the first seven videos in the series, ending with the wise men arriving at the home of the toddler Jesus.
In a culture where Santa, elves, and reindeer sometimes seem to overpower the real reason for the season, activities like these are a great way to teach our children the true meaning of this holiday. And no matter how you choose to tell the nativity story, your family’s testimony of the Savior will be strengthened as you make a conscious effort to focus on Christ-centered Christmas traditions.