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If you're looking for a lesson plan or resource for a SPECIFIC  PART of the ADVENT STORY, such as the Angels and Shepherds, or The Magi, or Gabriel and Mary, look for them listed in our comprehensive listing of Advent Story Forums.  That comprehensive menu also includes forums full of ideas for Celebrating Christmas, Epiphany, At-Home resources, and more.

This general "making something" topic is trying to avoid the usual "cheesy" quicky crafts.

If you're looking to make something artistic that focuses on a specific part of the Advent story look at the Advent Art Workshops written by our Writing Team. They are linked at the top of the Advent forum.


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  • Birth-of-Jesus-Stories
Last edited by Neil MacQueen
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The following lesson idea was based on one suggested by member Catherine Bengson from All Shepherds Church.

Comparing the Secular Christmas Message with the Sacred

Creating a Meaningful Christmas Card with a Personalized Message

Begin by bringing and sharing a variety of Christmas cards, including many secular "Season Greetings" cards and discuss whether the card adequately expresses the real meaning and story of Christmas.

Finish by having students design and create what THEY think a "good" Christmas card message would be to share with:  a) A non-Christian friend, b) A Christian friend

For example, is this card "true" ? Does it capture the spirit of Jesus' Birth?

To help discussion, you can turn the cards into a voting game:

  • Go stand in spot 1 if you think this is message honors or captures what Christ in Christmas is all about.
    Go stand in spot 2 if you don't think the message does that. 
  • As usual with this kind of discussion-voting technique, interview various voters as to why they voted the way they did. Highlight some of their insights and ask follow up questions like, "how would you improve this card?"
  • *Part of your lesson is to teach the word and concept of "secular" vs "sacred." Encourage debate. The other is to help them identify the Christian meaning beneath many secular greetings, such as "Happy Holidays" -- "happy" because of why?
  • The point is not to bash people's tidings of joy, but to examine what puts "Christ" in Christmas, and what the secular message and celebrations might be missing out on.

Finding and Showing the Cards

  • Christmas Card images can easily be found online. Use Google Image Search and save a collection of religious and secular ones.
  • Rather than printing them, show them on a large computer or TV screen that's connected to your computer or tablet.


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  • Non religious Christmas Card example for a lesson
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Manger Ornament

Make one for the family, and another to share the message with a friend.

I came across this easy and good-looking "Manger Ornament" over at trophyw.blogspot.  One of the reasons I like it even though it's a bit of a Christmas "craft," is that it is likely to last in the family's ornament box. So many "kids crafts" disintegrate in a year or two. I also like the blogger's suggestion to "knock out a bunch of them to share."

While not a "multi story" ornament, it could be one of several that represent different parts of the story. For example, in place of the baby you could add a shepherd, and to represent the angels you could replace the star with a round "halos" made out of silver pipe cleaners.

Her instructions are copied below, and those are literally all she wrote, noting that the project is pretty simple. The craft star and ball (baby's head) are easily found at craft stories, as is the wreath and straw. Image used with permission.



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  • manger-wreath
Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Here is a blog with instructions on how to make a nativity set (creche scene) three different ways using the provide template of the characters in the story and attaching them to toilet paper tubes, river stones, or wood blocks. 

There is not a great deal of art involved in this project, but it would be great as part of a storytelling workshop where the children then use the pieces they created to tell the story of Jesus' birth. 

Links to templates: 



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  • woodBlockNatitvity: from Breen Marie Sipes, an ELCA pastor, mom, wife, and crazy crafter.

The above nativity set project reminds me of something we did about 10 years ago for our "Family Advent Night." We made a nativity in a box for each family. I ordered boxes from U-line (the kind that have the flap that folds into the front. We used paper towel rolls cut into different sizes for the base of the figures,  and used paper, markers and assorted colored and printed napkins to dress the figures.

On the back of the box, create a series of question  related to the various characters that can be seen each year that the manger is displayed. For example, for the "Angel" figure, ask the question, "How am I bringing the peace and joy to the world and my family that the angels announced in Luke 2?"

The prep was pretty extensive, but it was worth it!Jaymies Nativity in a Box

It was one of the more popular activities we have done for Advent. I still hear from families that they have their nativity box and put it out each year. It was nice that everything fit into the box for storage.

Directions (including photos) are attached.

Note: The dimensions for the paper for the clothing are included in the instructions. The head drapes were simply half circles cut from napkins. The center of the straight edge of the napkin semi-circle is glued to the top of the figure's face and then the straight edges drape on either side of the face. The curved edge hangs to the back. You can fold the napkins easily and cut your semi-circle so that the drape will fall about three quarters of the way down the figure in the back.)


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  • Jaymies Nativity in a Box
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Last edited by Neil MacQueen

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