A nativity scene in your front yard can show the importance of religion in your family's life, with Mary, Baby Jesus, the Three Wise Men and other characters relating to the Saviour's birth. Store-bought yard decorations will catch the attention of passersby but are often fairly expensive and not always easy to find. A homemade nativity scene offers a creative and inexpensive way to share the spirit of Christmas.
Living nativity scene
Give your nativity scene a special touch during the holidays with a living nativity scene in your yard. These tableaux are often offered by churches and other organisations on the night before Christmas or another significant date during the holidays. Ask your friends, family members and neighbours to play specific roles then assemble the costumes and props. Have everyone stand on your lawn in the early evening and act out the nativity scene. Bring in your own props, such as a child's playhouse to serve as the manger and painted wooden animals. You can even dress up the family dog as a sheep for the scene. Use a portable CD player outside to play religious background music.
If you have a work shop, consider making your own woodcut nativity scene. Several websites offer patterns for a nativity scene, including Doug's Woodcrafts and Patterns. Choose a basic scene with Mary, Baby Jesus and Joseph if you're just starting out. Those with more advanced woodworking skills can make a more elaborate scene, complete with animals, the manger and the Magi.
Purchase a few mannequins from a fixture retailer or a store that specialises in selling used mannequins and design a nativity scene similar to those found in store fronts. Visit your local craft store and purchase a few bolts of dark-coloured fabric. All of the mannequins can wear robes made from the fabric. The hard plastic holds up well to environmental elements, including snow and rain. Arrange the mannequins around an old wooden cradle or bassinet with a baby doll, as Baby Jesus, sleeping inside.
Get the kids involved
Get your children involved in creating a handmade decoration for the yard. Use sheets of plain white posterboard and draw the images of Mary, Baby Jesus, Joseph, the animals and other characters. Cut the characters from the posterboard and colour them with waterproof markers or paint. Insert four wood stakes or poles into your lawn and drape a dark-coloured tarp over the top, making your own version of the manger. Glue or duct-tape a garden stake to the back of each character and position them around the manger.
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