Ideas for homemade Christmas Nativity costumes

Getty Thinkstock

Live nativity scenes are part of many Christmas celebrations. Children love dressing up as Mary, Joseph, shepherds or angels and taking part in re-enacting the story of the birth of Jesus.

Costumes for children can be as simple or as elaborate as you want to make them, and you can construct most with little to no sewing. In live nativities, baby Jesus is typically played by a doll wrapped in a blanket, so no costume is needed for that part.

Joseph Costume

Joseph is the human father of the baby Jesus and plays an important role in the nativity scene. The costume is traditionally a plain blue fabric tunic or dress, a brown cloak and a fabric tie. Remove the sleeves from a dark blue dress purchased at a thrift store to use as the tunic. You can make the cloak from a piece of dark brown fabric or a long brown dress. Simply cut out the front piece of the dress and remove the sleeves. The fabric belt can be a long piece of gold or brown fabric tied around the waist.

Mary Costume

Mary's costume is similar to Joseph's. She usually has a long dress in a light colour, a blue or light-coloured cloak, a fabric belt and a white or light-coloured headpiece. Use a long, straight dress from a thrift store in white or another light colour. Make a cloak from a blue dress or piece of fabric. If you choose a dress, remove the sleeves and cut a large portion of the front of the dress off. Use a simple long piece of fabric as Mary's belt and create her headpiece with a simple white square piece of fabric, tied around the head with a smaller piece of fabric or rope.

Angel Costume

Angels play an important role in the live nativity scene. The costume for an angel can be as simple as a halo created from gold tinsel garland and placed on top of a child's head. If you prefer something with more detail, use a long white dress for the first part of the design. The angel will also need wings, which you can create from a dress-up pair of wings from a fairy costume or wire coat hangers covered with white nylons. You can make a halo from a wire coat hanger as well by shaping it into a circle and covering it with gold garland.

Shepherd Costume

Shepherd costumes can be simple fabric squares tied to the child's head with a fabric piece or a small piece of rope. If you choose to make the costume more detailed, add a tunic, made from a dress with the sleeves removed, and a cloak, which you can also create from a dress with the sleeves removed or from a large piece of fabric, with a fabric belt. You can add large sticks for the shepherds to use as crooks.