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This topic on Christmas pageants and programs began many years ago but great ideas never go out-of-date!  We have curated some of the older posts (combined, clarified, reformatted, and added to), and added many new ones.

In fact, we somehow ended up with TWO Christmas Pageant/Skit forums. Here's the other one.

Please share your thoughts, ideas, and resources by using the "Post Reply" button below.

Kicking off the topic...

Member "Mother Mary" asked this question, which others have also asked over the years:

Do any of you NOT DO a Christmas Program?
How do you coordinate Sunday School with "Christmas program practice"

We have had to weave Christmas program practices into our Sunday morning workshop rotations to get maximum participation --as parents say they don't like to make extra trips to church. But the coordination of what's happening in individual workshops each Sunday related to the coming drama can be really confusing to us and our teachers.

How do you schedule the rehearsal(s) and still teach?
And how do you handle not every student being there ever week?

Many have answered "Mother Mary's" question over the years (and some of those replies are still below in other posts). Here's a summary of some of the responses. Hope you find your answer here!

  • Yes, with today's families and schedules it's more challenging to do a "Christmas pageant" that requires a lot of preparation or rehearsals. We've gone "simpler" too.

  • The solution for us was something simpler with options for EVERY child to participate in some way shape or form whether they show up for rehearsal or at the time of the "performance."  No reason you can't have 6 Magi and 8 shepherds!

  • We use Sunday School class-time to learn the story, and one "all kids" class-time to rehearse with everyone. In our church, that "one rehearsal time" is the hour before hte worship service in which the performance of the story will take place.

  • We have someone standing by the door as families walk in for the service to ask their kids if they want to participate (some do). During the service we also have the pastor invite any of the kids who are sitting in the pews to go to the back of the sanctuary where they are greeted with someone who throws a costume on them and assigns them to either the Magi or Shepherds group.

  • We make it clear that those who stay for rehearsal after worship one Sunday will get bigger parts, but that everyone will get SOME part. (We invite the kids to sing together, and even those who just showed up can read or mouth the lyrics.)

  • We use teens to be "group leaders" for rehearsal and the performance.   If you're assigned the Magi's part, you follow the "Lead Magi."  The lead is responsible for making sure the kids get costumed, know their parts, and do things on cue.

  • In our Rotation Sunday School, we plan a "Great Big Drama Workshop" that everyone attends in lieu of individual classes/workshops so that everyone can rehearse together.  We use the preceding weeks of individual workshop to do the teaching, and divvy up the parts before we get to the rehearsal. 

  • We've found that it's super important to alert parents to the PARTS which their children have taken, what costuming they might need, and ask a parent to rehearse the one or two lines their child may have.

  • Our kids sing two songs during their performance of the Christmas story, one traditional Hymn and usually one that is a "kids song" they have rehearsed. We've found that it's important to have LYRIC CUE CARDS for all the children, but especially for those who "just showed up" the day of the performance and need to feel included.

  • Your answer here: ________________________________________   (click reply below!)
Last edited by Neil MacQueen
Original Post

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We used to put on a huge kids production every year, but that took much adult preparation and work I know- and the kids had to be there for practice every Sunday at 9:30 or so. I loved being a part of it then, but now as one of the adults... I am not nearly so interested.

The last few years the only thing we have done is a somewhat impromptu skit usually based on the nativity. Last year the skit had this person (a church member pretending to be a stranger) bust in the doors asking what was going on, waht is CHristmas about, and one person "explained" while people (dressed as Mary, sheperds, etc) came out to illustrate. It was very simple, and we only had one practice, a few nights before the event. THis year the kids are doing something very similar, dressing as people in teh story and singing a few songs. They practiced during Children's church time, not SS. If people aren't willing to get thier kids there early on Sunday mornings, or arrange for other times, I wouldn't worry about it. Just my thoughts...

Gum Creek Pres

Nativity Drama Idea

This year in our Rotation Sunday School, we had a four week rotation that prepped for and then culminated in a paegant...

  • We used the Drama workshop to work out the scenes.
  • We used the Music workshop to not only sing through the carols but to also look at the story in the words.
  • We used the Art workshop to work on scenery and props.

After the drama workshop the kids could sign up for whatever parts they wanted in the pageant.

The pageant was the fifth week (this morning).

Last Monday I sent out scripts to those children who wanted speaking parts. We had one rehearsal yesterday and the pageant this morning during service. We had two Marys, two Josephs, 1 Elizabeth, cats, dogs, cows, sheep (some of them speaking), 7 magi, 6 shepherds, 2 innkeepers and 20 angels. As always I was touched by the joy of the children and their retelling of the story. It was chaotic and joy-filled...everything that is wonderful about working with children and doing the pageant.

Last year we had forty children participate in the pageant and we had a great deal of fun. This year we had 60 children in the pageant and it was even more fun!



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Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Christmas pageants or dramas can be overwhelming because of the time of year...

So here's a thought:

Advent is a really crowded time to try and pull off a "pageant" every year.  So why not start a new tradition by investing time and energy into an EASTER drama, rather than Christmas play?

One way to 'break the hold' might be to institute a 'revolving' plan for dramas:
Every year a different story at a different time of the year.

Of course, you'd probably STILL have to do something special around Xmas. But you could justify something less resource-draining if you did something else at another time of the year. That something special at Xmas could also become the responsibility of a different age grouping each year to keep it under control.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

We used to do large Christmas productions, but have dropped them entirely in favor of a simpler re-enactment of a kid-friendly version of the Christmas story during one of our Advent worship services each December. We use the first two weeks of the Advent rotation to learn and practice the presentation (which is part of their learning process as well).

Since as a Rotation Sunday School we focus on different parts of the Advent story each year, each year's re-enactment in worship has an "additional focus" in addition to covering the basic Christmas story. For example, this year's focus being "Isaiah and the Prophets Promise a Messiah," we have included their story and characters into our basic Christmas story re-enactment both as we teach it in class, and as we re-enact it in worship. 

  • We are looking for maximum participation, and even "last minute" participants whose parents didn't bring to rehearsal for whatever reason. No child left behind at Christmas!
  • We have speaking parts, costumed parts, and even a few "singing" parts (singing or leading others in singing a Christmas song or part of a Christmas hymn).
  • We do ask in advance for volunteers who want a speaking part, and those who would like to sing.
  • The kids LOVE it.

Every month we try to have a "presentation" in worship led by the kids about what they've been learning in rotation. We feel it is very important for the children to be seen and heard in worship, AND the message helps focus them on sharing it.

It also helps the congregation to connect with the children, and serves as a great recruiting tool for new volunteer teachers, and recruits more students and better attendance!

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Advent Potluck Breakfast


We have not done a pageant in the four years I've been at my church. In fact, they hadn't done anything at all for a very long time. I started an Advent Potluck Breakfast that is held the Sunday closest to Christmas. We eat, then I read a short story, not necessarily the Nativity story. I have read "A Cup of Christmas Tea", a couple of stories from Guideposts magazine and this year I read "The Legend of the Candy Cane". I had the children pass out candy canes before I read the story. The children in my church LOVE to be read to, so this is something that has worked pretty well. Our Children's Ministry Team wants to do a full-blown pageant next year, which is fine with me. If that doesn't happen, I will read "Away In the Manger" by Sarah Hayes and integrate the carols appropriate to that part of the story. Another neat Christmas book is "The Christmas Star" (sorry, I don't know the author). This is the first Christmas story where they got it right with the Magi's visit!

Good luck!
Julie Burton

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

"Things change"

Our church used to have a big successful children's Christmas Eve worship service with a Nativity pageant. "Back in the day" we would practice on 3 consecutive Saturday mornings before Christmas Eve. But as the years wore on, it became harder for kids to make practices and parents started to complain about the schedule and their kids being "left out." 

Then we changed pastors and started the Workshop Rotation Model for Sunday School, and that became our opportunity to re-evaluate our Christmas program preparation.  

Our solution: We changed the time of the "Family Christmas Service & Program" to a Sunday afternoon one week before Christmas.  We moved to a single rehearsal on the Saturday the day before and made it a pizza "Birthday Party for Baby Jesus."

We also use the Sunday School workshops leading up the week of the special program to study the story and work on things we might want to get ready for the single Saturday rehearsal.

And note that we do a "service" rather than a pageant or play. No cutesy time-travelers scripts or other gimmicky things that require a lot of rehearal and usually involve fewer kids. We also make sure there are roles for older children, especially reading roles.  

Works for us!

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

A less stress "no rehearsal" Christmas play

For years we did Christmas plays using scripts that would supposedly make our life easier. We would have two Wednesday evening practices. The "canned" plays that had lots of parts. Every child that wanted a speaking part got one. They weren't required to memorize, they read their parts. They loved to dress up. The children's choir sang several pieces. The congregation sang several carols. The kids were nutso during rehearsals, the volunteers were grumpy during the rehearsals, the actual program went well. Easy, lots of fun. But stress-free? Not so much.

So...this last Christmas we had a "No-rehearsal Christmas Pageant" telling everyone to come dressed up as shepherds, animals, wise-people, travelers. Kids and Adults

Someone in the congregation made a soup/bread/cookie supper. It could have easily also been a potluck dinner. We did it the first Sunday evening in Advent.

First we all had supper together, then handed out costumes from our drama workshop for people who did not come dressed up. After dinner we moved to the sanctuary where there was a simple backdrop up (also borrowed from the drama workshop).

We had a narration of the Christmas story that was read by various children who had picked up parts the week before (as well as some kids who just read on the spot). The narration had parts that talked about the different groups of people who were dressed up--shepherds, angels, etc.--when that group was talked about all of the people dressed that way came to the front of the sanctuary to stand in front of the backdrop. Then everyone sang hymns and carols that mentioned that group ("Away in the Manger" when the animals came up.)

It was so much fun. Very intergenerational. All of the kids were dressed up, of course, but the most amazing thing was all of the older folks who came dressed up. I have a wonderful picture of our 83 year old neighbor dressed as a shepherd, standing with my 4 year old daughter dressed as an angel. 

Fun? Yes! Educational? The kids got a review of the Christmas story. "Less" stress, you bet!!
There were a few people who just really like the whole big major production thing...but the parents are sold on doing it this way.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Youth "Pageant" Program
and a spontaneous Children's "Nativity" on Christmas Eve

We don't do a children's pageant, instead we do a Youth pageant! The first or second Sunday evening in December, the youth put on a wonderful drama with a dinner. It is so well attended that by the second year, tickets had to be purchased in advance. This is something our younger children look forward to attending AND participating in some day.

This took the pressure off the younger children who form a more "spontaneous" Nativity scene on Christmas Eve at our 7pm service. We invite all the children to come forward and participate. We have props ready, sometimes costumes, and give everyone a part/place at the Nativity. It is really easy to do, satisfies the parent's need to see their children up front, and takes care of the "performance in worship" issue.

If we are to teach parents that a child's place is IN WORSHIP, then we need more opportunities like this for easy & inviting participation in worship not just on Christmas Eve.

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

"Follow That Star"


During Advent we did a rotation on the birth of Jesus and the Wise Men and called it "Follow That Star." We built our Christmas Eve Service for young families around that theme. Our mid-highs made beautiful full size puppets out of broom sticks (I think the idea was from "Things to Make and Do in Advent"), and as the nativity story was told by a few youth narrators, the younger children carried the puppets in and posed for the duration. All the children sang an original song written by our youth director titled "Follow That Star" (learned in the music workshop) and waved glow in the dark stars they had made in the art workshop. The whole production did not take much rehearsal time and incorporated what the kids had been doing in Sunday School. Parents seemed to appreciate the simplicity as well as the participation of all the kids.

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Slide show/ Power Point presentation:

The past several Christmas seasons we have used the workshops to develop a complete program. We took slides or digital photos of the drama workshops which were used in the final presentation. The narration was read live by the children in the older classes and all the children sang the songs from the music workshops. It was a very stress-free, no rehearsal project that involved every child who attended in any of the weeks of Advent. This came from an idea presented in the Whole People of God curriculum and is adaptable to virtually any program.

See where another church took this idea and ran with it below calling it a Virtual Christmas Pageant.

Last edited by Luanne Payne

"The Christmas Nail" with a Christmas Eve tree project

I needed a stress-free Christmas program this past year. We had one beautifully decorated tree in the sanctuary, but I decided to put another BARE tree in the other corner to gain people's attention and interest. We would decorate it on Christmas Eve.

Each Sunday during Advent, during our Children's Church time we took old Christmas cards and cut out all the different symbols of Christmas displayed on those cards. Angels, candy cane shepherd crooks, stars, mangers, and finally "nails" (more about that in a moment). I found a place on the internet that talked about the origination of each of the symbols. The kids decorated their ornaments then punched holes in the tops and attached yarn as hangers and placed them in "piles" in preparation for trimming the tree on Christmas Eve.

Then at the Children's Christmas Eve service, each child got up and explained the importance of that particular symbol they chose to hang on the tree (whichever one they chose and what ever they decided to say), then walked to the tree where someone helped them hang the ornament. We did this until everyone had their chance to speak at least once and hang an ornament, then we invited them all forward to hang all the rest of the ornaments. And with that, we plugged in the lights and stood back.

There was no rehearsal, and I had typed up some cards explaining various ornaments for them to read if they wanted to.

As part of our last Children's Church ornament project lesson, we passed out BIG nails to everyone while I told the story of "The Christmas Nail" (copied below in two versions). We made a lot of these and attached the poem to the nail using the "crimson bow"  so that we had enough for everyone to take one home at Christmas Eve and hang on their tree.

from Beth M. with additions by our Writing Team

Here's the original "Christmas Nail" poem.
 Following it is a revised version by an unknown author.

A Nail At Christmas (original version)

It's Christmas time at our house
and we are putting up the tree.
I wish I could find one simple way
to remember Christ's gift to me.

Some little sign or symbol
to show friends stopping by.
The little baby was born one day,
But He really came to die.

Some symbol of His nail pierced hands,
the blood He shed for you & me...
What if I hung a simple nail
upon my Christmas tree?

A crimson bow tied 'round the nail
as His blood flowed down so free
to save each person from their sin
and redeem us for all eternity.

I know it was His love for us
that held Him to that tree,
but when I see this simple nail
I know He died for me

by John Patton, creator of the The Christmas Nail® product

Revised Version: "A Christmas Nail"

author unknown

It's Christmas time at my house
and on our lovely tree,
there hangs a simple nail
to remember Christ's gift to me.

A little sign and symbol
to remind friends stopping by,
that little baby Jesus
for all our sins would die.

A nail like that which pierced his hands
and from our sins did free,
A crimson bow to hold it,
and bind his love to me.

Angels, stars, and candy canes
hang joyfully with glee,
but when I see that simple nail
I see his gift to me.


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Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Christmas Pageant

We have a tradition (14 years now) of an Advent Workshop on the evening of the first Sunday in Advent where all ages come to create ornaments, decorations, Advent wreaths, etc. with the emphasis of putting Christ into everyone's holiday. We also do pageants most years, either at our 5:30 Family Christmas Eve service or between worship services on Sunday morning (instead of Education Hour).

The best pageant we do is where each grade level takes a piece: preschoolers are angels, Ks are the animals, 1st/2nd graders are shepherds, 3/4th are the magi, and the 5th are the narrators or Senior Angels to assist the preschoolers in getting to the right spot.

We only hold a minimal practice where the kids get the idea of what will happen and try on costumes.

While I understand that it is a lot of work, whether or not parents want to see their children on stage, it is a vitally important way for children to learn the nativity story.

We do similar activities for Easter; re-enacting the last week of Christ's life, or the children's all-time favorite is the Easter Treasure Hunt. (They search for small objects that remind them of the Easter story and put them in treasure chests which they have made; Jesus is always the final treasure.)

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

River Church's "Virtual" Christmas Pageant

We took Anne Camp's idea (posted above) and ran with it:

First a bit of background. We are a new church development that is currently meeting in a movie theater complex (our church is being built and may be done by Easter this year!). So we have limited time to use our limited space on Sunday mornings, but wanted to have some sort of pageant during a worship service before Christmas.

Setup: So one Sunday afternoon we invited all interested children to come to the church office (the temporary office is in a farm house, so the outdoor locations were attractive). We put the kids in costumes and arranged them in tableaus to fit the script that follows. Anyone who wanted to be Mary, Gabriel, etc. could. They just wore the "Mary costume" or the "Gabriel costume" in one of the shots.

Costumes: were simple Bible time costumes (tunics), with cotton ball/posterboard ears for the sheep (and black face-paint noses) and extra-large white t-shirts and garland halos for the angel choir.

Involving everyone: In order to involve children that could not make it to the official photo shoot, the next Sunday we took more pictures before Sunday school of individual angels, shepherds and sheep, some of which were made into group shots and some left separate.

PowerPoint: Someone who knows more about digital pictures than I do added backgrounds to the ones taken in the movie theater and made some other adjustments (we used both "traditional" photos that were scanned in and digital pictures).

Performance: On the Sunday of the performance, four youth read the script that follows and the children stood at the front of the theater and sang the Christmas songs that they had been practicing during Sunday School all month while the pictures were projected (PowerPoint or something) on the movie screen behind them.

To see the pictures we used, visit:
sorry -- they took the pictures off the web to keep the site current...
you will need to read the following script and descriptions and imagine the tableau-type scenes.

The script: (with brief descriptions of accompanying pictures in italics -- note that some of my planned shots did not turn out well enough to be shown on a big screen, so there are some sort-of obvious scenes that are "missing" -- like Mary riding the donkey. feel free to add in what you want.)

Our Virtual Christmas Pageant
at River Community Church

Reader 4: The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
#1: dark, or something symbolic like a candle or sunrise
[Advent candles lit]

Reader 1: In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
#2: Mary cooking in oven

The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you."
#3: angel and Mary: Mary looks surprised

Reader 2: Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.

Reader 1: But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
#5: Angel alone.

Reader 2: "How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?"
#7: Mary with angel; she looks puzzled

Reader 1: The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God."
#8: angel

Reader 2: "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said."
#10: Mary, looking prayerful and contemplative.

Reader 4: Then the angel left her.
[brief pause for transition music]

Reader 3: In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
#13: Official reading proclamation scroll. People listening.

And everyone went to his own town to register.
#14: Walking people

Reader 4: So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

Reader 2: While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
#16: Mary holds baby.

She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
#17: Mary places baby in manger;Joseph watches.

Sing: "Away in a Manger"
#18a, 18b, 18c...: shepherds and sheep

Reader 3: And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
#19: Shepherds and sheep

Reader 4: An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
#20: Shepherds, sheep and 1 angel.

Reader 1: But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Reader 3: Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
#24: crowd of angels

All Readers: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
#25: Smiling, singing angel faces

Sing:"Hark the Herald Angels Sing"
#26a, 26b, 26c...: individual angels

Reader 3: When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
#27: Shepherds stand and point.

Reader 4: So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.
#28: shepherds and sheep, looking in door.

Reader 2: But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
#31: Mary and Joseph smiling fondly at baby.

Reader 4: The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
#32: Shepherds smiling and singing.

Reader 1: For to us a child is born,

Reader 2: to us a son is given,

Reader 3: and the government will be on his shoulders.

Reader 4: And he will be called

Reader 1: Wonderful Counselor,
Reader 2: Mighty God,
Reader 3: Everlasting Father,
Reader 4: Prince of Peace.
#33: Mary, Joseph, and shepherds tableau.

Sing: "Joy to the World"


Last edited by Lesson Wrangler

"Christmas in August"

Taking story photos at a member's farm in preparation for an Advent presentation.

We scheduled a member's farm for still pictures on Labor Day weekend so we could pose and take photos of the various scenes in the story.  It was perfect weather, we had my vehicle loaded with costumes, manger, halos, various props. We took lots of fun photos, some serious, some a little surprising and fun.   Some of the "unique" photos become new parts of the script.

It was a great opportunity to cover the story too and get kids excited for Advent in advance.

I added in a few "extras" taken later of the kids who couldn't be there.

I highly recommend getting it done ahead like this!

Last edited by Neil MacQueen

Tobias' Story

A Christmas pageant by Carolyn Peters, adapted by Theresa Cho and posted on her blog.

The pageant was originally published in a PCUSA educator magazine many years ago.

Copied here for safekeeping...

Below is a copy of the pageant that I have adapted from Carolyn Peters’ “Tobias’ Story.” She is the Director of Christian Education at Grace Presbyterian Church, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.

Note: At the beginning of each part within the script, children and adults are invited to come forward to the chancel to assume the character they want to be.  This means that in our program we might have only a few or many animals, angels, and shepherds, or several Marys and Josephs.  It really doesn’t matter.  Volunteer helpers secure to each child’s head the tie-on mask of his or her choice, or give them the other appropriate props.  They also guide the children to the places they are to stand or sit.


Introduce the pageant and give instructions to the congregation.


Welcome everyone to Bethlehem! Let us open our eyes and ears and listen to the story of when Christ was born.


Those who wish to portray Mary and Joseph are invited forward. Marys are given a heart-shaped felt necklace; Josephs are given a burlap pouch.

As the Marys and Josephs come forward, the congregation sings “Mary Had a Baby.” When the Marys and Josephs are on stage, narrator begins.

Mary and Joseph, a pitiful sight.

So tired and dirty, they gave me a fright.

Sickly or dying?  What was the matter?

“A room in the inn?” Impossible chatter!

“My rooms are all taken; not one empty bed.

There’ll not be a room in all Bethlehem,” I said.

But their eyes told a story of hunger and need.

I couldn’t avoid them, so I tried a good deed.

I cleaned up the stable: Rachel cooked up a meal.

We helped all we could, at least, that’s how I feel.

For we noticed that Mary was expecting – and soon!

So we prepared for delivery right under the moon.

The child came so quickly.  His face seemed a light.

As if God had shone God’s presence so bright.

Joseph said softly.  “It’s Jesus, my friend.”

God sent him among us to bring to an end fear and

hatred, darkness and sin.

Instead God gave light, to let God’s love in.


Those who wish to be goats, sheep, cows or donkeys are invited by narrator to come forward. Animals are given masks or hats.

As the animals come forward, the congregation sings “The Friendly Beasts.” When the animals are on stage, narrator begins.

My animals were calm, quieter than normal.

They often were noisy, and never too formal.

They always were eating, or else they were sleeping.

The stable required continuous sweeping.

But on Christmas night, they were strangely in awe at the sight of the babe and all that they saw.

It’s as if they were aware that God had just hushed them,

Had fed and watered and carefully brushed them.

They knew, I believe, that God had been able to work a miracle there in that stable.


Those who wish to be angels are invited forward.  Gold and silver garland halos are placed on their heads.

As the angels come forward, the congregation sings “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” When the angels are on stage, narrator begins.

We don’t often see angels in flight.

But on the first Christmas, they lit up the night.

They appeared to the shepherds and, boy, were they scared!

“Angels!” cried one.  “Will any lives be spared?”

“Are they here to destroy us? Is our time on earth up?

Have we seen our last day? Have we drunk our last cup?”

But “Peace on earth; goodwill to all” was the angels’ sweet song; that was their call.

With a light show that dazzled all who did see, the angels hallelujahed and sang out with glee.

“To Bethlehem, shepherds!”  the angels directed.

“To see Jesus the Christ, whom God has perfected.”

“Go worship the Lord and follow his ways.

And you’ll find Christmas joy for all of your days.”


Those who wish to be shepherds are invited forward.  They are given candy canes to represent shepherd’s staffs.

As the shepherds come forward, the congregation sings “Go Tell It on the Mountain.” When the shepherds are on stage, narrator begins.

The shepherds, I told you, where scared and stunned.

“Too much hard work or too much hot sun!”

That’s what they thought; that’s how they explained.

Perplexed and afraid, they loudly complained.

But the angels’ song calmed them, and then they believed.

They rejoiced when they knew and they were quite relieved.

They went to the stable and worshiped the Lord.

Then they left and began to spread the good Word.


Those who wish to be Wise Persons are invited forward.  Colorful construction-paper crowns with “jewels” are placed on their heads.  An older child has been asked in advance to bring forward a brilliant star extended high on a stick.

As the Wise Persons come forward, the congregation sings “We Three Kings.” When the Wise Persons are on stage, narrator begins.

The star that shone brightly led Wise Persons at night

To Bethlehem’s stable, to the manger’s strange light.

They came bearing gifts, in worship and love, praising God for God’s wonders from heaven above.

The Wise Men were kings and they knelt on my straw.

It was the oddest of things that ever I saw.

If kings bring him treasure, then maybe you, too, can worship with pleasure the person of Jesus, who came to us all.

So worthy of praise, for he brings us God’s call.”

“I am the way, the truth, and the life,

Come to God for healing from strife.

Come unto me, all you who labor,

And I’ll give you rest forever to savor.”


T’was the very first Christmas and there in the manger,

The Christ-child was born; it couldn’t have been stranger.

Shepherds saw angels; Wise Men, a star.

They came to see Jesus; they came afar.

They knew he was special – God’s very own son,

He came to the earth to love everyone.

He grew up in time, the Savior, the Lord,

To be worshiped each day, to be loved and adored.

So now at Christmas we all take delight.

In the gift that God gave us that first Christmas night.

In the gifts we receive and the ones that we give,

Let us never forget, it’s in Christ that we live.


Last edited by Neil MacQueen

And Epiphany Feast

...moving the "party and program" after Christmas

After a few stressful years of trying to do a Christmas Pageant the old way and time when everyone seemed to want it, but no one had the time to organize it, we got rid of it and tried something new -- and idea suggested by a new family they brought from their previous church...

We did an "Epiphany Feast" -- which is an inter-generational family dinner after all the hoopla and parties of Christmas are over.  Epiphany is the traditional holy day when we celebrate the arrival of the Three Kings.

We added a "pageant" that we organized as people arrived -- assigning parts and costumes.  There were only a few "one liner" speaking parts, but everyone had a costume. 

We also assigned dinner seats so new people didn't feel awkward not knowing anyone.

The kids helped tell the story by asking the kids "what's next?" It was fun to hear how they remembered the story, and the MC made sure the kids were not embarrassed.  

Added: One Epiphany Dinner featured a humorous song both sung and acted out by three adults in our congregation. They sang "We Are Three Kings" from the musical "Celebrate Life."

We ended by serving a traditional Epiphany King Cake and singing the 12 days of Christmas with each table being assigned a "day" to act out.

After the Magi appeared and sang, we invited everyone to bring forward a gift of a "New Year Promise" to Baby Jesus about their faith. They laid these in the manger.

We asked a lot of volunteers to each do a little bit, instead of needing a drama/music person to do everything. We didn't have to worry about rehearsals and the whole church family could participate.

There was resistance at first, but we ended up with a full house our first year and so many people relieved not to have to worry about making rehearsals before Christmas- not to mention we had some older adults really get into it!

 See more Epiphany and New Year's celebration ideas here at


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Two years ago we did a powerpoint slide show. During November the children posed the slides. We even went to a sheep farm for photographs in their costumes. It was done as a two part Drama Workshop and one Saturday field trip. The children sang songs that applied to the slides being shown and one of our young-teens read the Scripture as the applicaple slide was shown. Not too stressed and it was well accepted.

Last year, in November the children made a group banner for each week of Advent in the Artisan's Workshop, our art workshop. Each week as the banner was presented the children sang a song that emphasised the banner shown - Hope, Love, Peace, or Joy. The banners were hung in the sanctuary. When it was time for the "Christmas program" we didn't have one instead he children did assist the adult choir at the contata by hanging ornaments they had made in an Artisan's Workshop in December on a bare tree after the choir sang a song, and a narrator read a section of scripture about that particular color/symbol. Again no lines to memorize or long rehersals. I am going to do this one again this year at the church I am now working at as we only have a small number of children most of whom are 3rd grade and under.
Hope this helps someone. Jerrie Lynn

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

"Jefferey the Mailman"

Last year our children preformed “Jefferey the Mailman” by Terri Lee a free script posted on

It went over well w/ teens doing the acting parts in front of the children’s choir.


"What God Wants for Christmas"

This year we will be doing a skit based on “What God Wants for Christmas” created by Family Life, 9781602004283 (who created the Resurrection Eggs).

Moderator Updated 2015:  Have included the new UPC # above.  This is now sold in a set which includes:  paperback storybook with audio CD, six presents each containing a sturdy, hand-painted character from the story, and a pop-up stable scene.

 What God Wants for ChristmasThe idea is to use at home with your kids - you open 1 box each night and read a card (original box set just came with cards) about the item/person in the box, then add the character to the pop-up nativity scene. The final night you find a mirror in the bottom of the last box - What God wants for Christmas is YOU!

How we used this for a Christmas Play:  I've attached a sheet with simple details of how we used it (cast list, directions, props, song suggestions, etc).  You will need to purchase the book as it is your script (use UPC above to search online or check with your local Christian Bookstore).


Last edited by Luanne Payne

Simple Pageant


The tradition here has been to create a Christmas Pageant that happens during the morning worship on the second or third Sunday of Advent. I, too, am not fond of putting kids on display, so we keep is VERY simple and VERY biblical. The Christmas Story is narrated in some creative, simple way by older children and youth and the the little ones simply show up as shepherds, angels, magi, and maybe even a sheep costume or two. We try to find the smallest infant in the congregation to play baby Jesus, and so far we have had a real live baby for several years in a row. The youth and children's choir may add a song or two, and the congregations participates with a couple of hymns at the appropriate time. There is ONE rehearsal for 1.5 hours the Saturday before the pageant (reading parts are practiced with older kids and youth on individual basis as needed).
The whole thing is over in 20 minutes (replaces the pastor's sermon) and the kids are thrilled to have been part of the scene. This plan makes it easy to add kids who show up on Sunday, or visiting family members (not having a clue what is happening) who can don a costume and follow the rest of the angels, or shepherds, etc. We have had "new" kids who were so excited about being included!
We have a videoprojector that projects words to the hymns on the wall, and sometimes powerpoint pictures of classical Christmas art to match the scenes we are narrating/reenacting.
Our Easter pageant which takes place on Palm Sunday follows that same format. Very Simple, less stress for everyone (except for me who needs to come up with the creative "twist" on the story every year. I think after five or six years, we can recycle, can't we?)

Last edited by Lesson Forma-teer

Christmas Skits


I have several Christmas skits. They are NOT original. I have had them for many years and don't remember the origin of them. I tried emailing them to you, but I was not allowed to do that. Soooooooo, I'm going to try to post them here in their entirety. I hope this works.

"Jesus is Born" by Betty Robertson

Narrator: The sheep on the fields outside Bethlehem were all tucked in for a good night’s sleep. It was dark, but they weren't afraid. They knew their shepherds were watching over them. The fire felt good; the night was chilly.
Shepherd #1: Do you see what I see?
Shepherd #2: Yes!
Shepherd #3: Me, too!
Shepherd #1: I'm scared!
Shepherd #2: Me, too!
Shepherd #3: Look at that light in the sky!
Angel: Don't be afraid. I have good news! A Baby has been born tonight.
Shepherds A BABY?
Angel: Yes, a baby. The most important baby in all the world.
Shepherd #1: Important baby?
Angel: A very special baby. A Savior. His name is Jesus.
Shepherd #2: A Savior?
Shepherd #3: Can this be true?
Angel: It's true. He is in Bethlehem, right this very minute. He's in a stable - all wrapped up and tucked in - lying in a manger.
Shepherd #1: Do you see what I see?
Shepherd #2: Yes!
Shepherd #3: The sky is full of angels!
Shepherd #1: Do you hear what I hear?
Shepherd #2: Yes!
Shepherd #3: The angels are all praising God!
Shepherd #1: "Glory to God in the highest...
Shepherd #2: "...and on earth peace, good will toward men."
Shepherd #3: I've never heard anything so wonderful!
Narrator: The angels in the sky disappeared. The light disappeared. It was dark again.
Shepherd #1: I wonder if it's true?
Shepherd #2: It MUST be true! An angel told us!
Shepherd #3: There's only one way to be sure. We must go to Bethlehem and find out.

Exchange Volunteer notes: the above skit is found at  (permission given to share for non-conmmercial use).

No Room in the Inn

Narrator: Our story is set in Bethlehem, Judea. Caesar Augustus has decreed that everyone should return to the town of their birth to be counted and taxed. The overworked Manager and employees of the overcrowded Bethlehem Inn and Spa are trying to cope with the rush of people. Join us as we listen to The Manager and Desk Clerk discussing their problems.

Exchange Volunteer notes:
Access the rest of the above script by Richard Ruddle at:
(It is copyright so we can not include it here).

Not What I Wanted

Narrator: Our story unfolds just after Christmas break. Four kids are eating lunch in the school cafeteria talking about what they got for Christmas.

Exchange Volunteer notes:
Access the rest of the above script by Mike at:
(It is copyright so we can not include it here).

Promises, Promises, Promises!

RUSTY: Christmas is my favorite time of year.
SANDY: Mine, too, Rusty. I just love the way everything is so bright and colorful.
TAYLOR: And everyone is so happy and full of love.
SANDY: And we get presents! I can’t wait to get my new cell phone.
TAYLOR: And I can’t wait to get my new dirt bike!
RUSTY: How can you be so sure that’s what you’re going to get?
SANDY: ‘Cause Mom promised!
TAYLOR: She promised me, too!
RUSTY: Yeah, but you know things have been rough for us lately. Maybe she can’t afford to get those things now.
SANDY: I know.
TAYLOR: It’s not my fault things have been rough for us!
RUSTY: I’m sure Mom will get it for you if she can, but sometimes it’s just not possible to keep a promise.
SANDY: Remember last year? Jeremy bragged about how his dad promised him that really neat bike for Christmas, but he never got it?
TAYLOR: Yeah, poor Jeremy! He felt really bad after that.
SANDY: That’s the problem! Even though it’s a promise, you can never be sure it’s going to happen. It sure would be nice if you could count on a promise once it’s made.
RUSTY: The only one I know who never broke a promise is God.
TAYLOR: Never once?
RUSTY: (SHAKES HEAD.) Never once!
SANDY: I wish He was the one giving me my Christmas presents.
TAYLOR: Yeah, then I’d be sure to get what I want.
RUSTY: He already did give you guys a present. Where are you going?
SANDY: To look under the Christmas tree and find my present from God.
TAYLOR: Me too!
RUSTY: Come back! There’s no present from God under the tree.
SANDY: Well, where did He put it then?
RUSTY: In your heart.
RUSTY: Not tart in your body. Your spiritual heart.
SANDY: (SHAKES HEAD SIDE TO SIDE.) This is confusing!
RUSTY: If you have Jesus in your heart, then you’ve already received God’s special Christmas present – the one He promised long ago.
TAYLOR: Oh, I get it! (NODS HEAD UP AND DOWN.) You mean Jesus. He was the Savior God promised to send to the world.
RUSTY: Yep. God promised Adam and Eve He would send a Savior some day, and even though God waited a long time, He kept His promise.
SANDY: Rusty, if God always keeps His promises, then I don’t ever have to be afraid or lonely, do I?
RUSTY: Nope. He said, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you” … and “I am with you always” … today, and tomorrow and next week, and next month, and next …
TAYLOR: Whoa! That’s neat! It’s like Christmas every day!

Exchange Volunteer notes: I looked for this one on-line and didn't find it so I will leave this one here.

The Perfect Gift (Adapted from the Gift of the Magi)

Narrator: Once upon a time, there was a young lady named Regina. Her friends called her Reggie. Reggie was especially fond of her charm bracelet and wore it everywhere she went. It was her most prized possession. She had collected charms over the years and each one meant something special. Now, Reggie had a really close friend named Robbie..


Exchange Volunteer notes:
Access the rest of the above script at:
Scroll down, it's found under special occasions. (It is copyright so we can not include it here).

Formatting of post and removal of copyright material done by Exchange Volunteer.
(Always interested in not violating copyright!)

Last edited by Luanne Payne

"The Greatest Gift of All"


Several years ago, these were given to all attending the Christmas program at our church. It is a 2 1/2" nail- it's a squarish nail- it has some special name that I can't recall, but you can buy them where you would buy regular nails. The poem attached to it is as follows:Screen Shot - square nail

The Greatest Gift of All

"Each Christmas this nail I see,
On my Christmas tree reminding me
Of a special gift from God above.
The ultimate gift of His true love.
The greatest gift was given to you and me
The gift for all eternity."

This may be the paragraph you refered to, but thought I'd post it for all to see. I don't recall the context of how it was presented at our church, but I don't think there was any more story given.



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Paper Bag Pageant

We don't do a regular Christmas pageant anymore -- haven't for about 3 or 4 years. Everyone was too busy to attend rehearsals and it made it nuts for the director.

Instead... as part of our Wednesday night program, we do a Paper Bag Pageant. This is based on a program written by Susan Sloan. I have adapted it greatly over the years. The basic idea is a no-rehearsal, EVERYONE (eldest to youngest) participates retelling of the Christmas story.

 donkeys  stars

Silly ChickensThere is quite a bit of prep, but I divide everything up and have lots of volunteers who help. You create simple props and "costumes" (mostly these consist of headbands with the heads of the various animals, crowns for the wise men, shepherd crooks made from poster board for the shepherds, etc. You put the materials to made the costumes in a large grocery paper sack and pass out to people.

We do it on a Wednesday night after dinner, so we put about 10 costumes per bag and pass out one bag per table. But it was designed to be done in a worship service, so you'd need more bags for that.
Baby Jesus

The narrator tells the story, interspersed with Christmas carols. When a character's part in the story is told, he/she comes forward -- no memorized lines, no acting (although some pantomiming can be fun.


At the end of the story everyone is on stage creating this giant tableau. I LOVE IT! It's my most favorite thing we do! It's intergenerational, tells the story, creative, fun and low stress. (with the exception of all the prep).

IMG_3747- cast

Edited to add... See below for more info on the script for our Paper Bag Pageant. 


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Last edited by CreativeCarol

Incorporating practice into your Rotation.

This is such a busy time of year that yes, parents seem to think it is just "one more thing" to take their kids to a practice.  Our program runs with a 15 minute music/ hymn time which we extend to  a 1/2 hour during the 5 weeks prior to our pageant when we practice our Christmas songs we will sing and use this as a practice time.  The rest of the 1/2 hour is devoted to the Christmas story  in the rotation format.  

This year we are doing something different as we will have the nativity story on PowerPoint.  Our pageant script takes us into a Kindergarten classroom where the teacher is teaching the ABC's  of Christmas.  (She will be a modern kindergarten teacher that uses PowerPoint.)   Our demographics this year is with lots of young children.  The young children will carry the alphabet letters across the stage  as the teacher says..."A is for angels that tell us ... "

We will have a "costume less" pageant this year ( yea) as all the prep and photos have already been taken in our 1/2 hour practice time.  The nativity story, enmeshed in the script, will be put on the big screens for the parents, family, as well as the children to see themselves.  I have elected to have a teen read the nativity story  so there is less chance of mubbling,  stumbling, or racing with the script. This story is too important to miss!  

We will have two "dress rehearsals"  the Friday evening before when we are having a "live nativity"  so parents can come for both events with their kids, and the final rehearsal will take place during the SS hour the "day of" for the 2nd service .  

Another thing we incorporated into the script  was taken  from the book "the sparkle box" that talks about gifts for Jesus.  (Great book that is listed in one of the rotation lessons) The children will come into our "classroom" bearing a baby item that we have been collecting these 5 weeks  for the needy.  I have enjoyed reading all these ideas listed on this discussion page.  I  don't  know what I would do without The Rotation site and all the good ideas it generates.


Last edited by Luanne Payne

The original script for the Paper Bag Pageant came from Susan Sloan.

Here is a link: (link no longer works).

I took Ms. Sloan's idea and have modified it considerably over the years - first basically paraphrasing the Luke and Matthew accounts and more recently including text from The Jesus Storybook Bible as we use that in our Wednesday night ministry AND that text includes some extra characters -- mountains, sea, trees. It adds a fun touch to the background. We also add different animal characters every year. We've gone from the traditional cows, sheep, donkey to chickens, roosters, doves, horses, cats, mice, squirrels and chipmunks!

Here are a few pictures from our Pageant this year. (Click on a picture to view it in a larger size.)


Moderator adds: I did an online search to see if I could find anyone who had posted their Paper Bag Pageant script and found this one at First United Methodist Church, Salisbury, North Carolina, Script:


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