4 Tips For Putting On a Christmas Pageant

During the holidays there are so many fun things for kids to do around town. Christmas parties at school, Santa’s village at the mall, or ice skating at the local ice rink. However, Christmas is also about giving to others. Putting on a Nativity play is a good way for kids (even preschool-aged kids) to give back to their community and feel like they are a part of something larger than themselves. But organizing a nativity play is a big ordeal.

Whether you want to put on a play at school or at your local church or even just for your family at Christmas, you are going to need as much help as you can get. Here are a few tips that will help make coordinating the play more manageable and some resources to help identify different nativity costume options.  

Tip #1: Keep the Script Simple Imagine the rehearsals and the performance for a second. Do you see the children forgetting lines and having trouble focusing on delivering their lines? If you do, make sure to keep the script as simple as you can so you can eliminate the headache of rehearsals or not even have rehearsals.  

Two options to do this:

1) Use short lines that children don’t have to memorize. In fact, it would be easiest to put their lines on the back of a card or black folder that they hold;

2) If you can manage it, eliminate speaking parts for the kids altogether. You can have the kids act out the parts and have someone narrating using the words out of the Bible since that’s the easiest for most people to relate to.

However, if you are looking for something beyond the typical Christmas pageant storyline, check out these new variation suggestions by Debbie Kolacki of Practical Resources for Churches.  

Tip #2: Stick With Christmas Carols Everyone Knows Make the pageant a congregation sing-along event. Most people in the audience will appreciate being engaged with everyone and playing a role in the pageant. A few that are guaranteed to work are “Hark the Harold Angels Sing,” “Silent Night,” “We Three Kings,” and “Mary Did You Know.” Check out Spotify’s “Christmas Pageant Songs” Playlist for more inspiration.

If you insist on doing different songs, here is a list of good song selections thanks to Marlene Gundlach on Bright Hub Education.

  • This Little Light of Mine
  • Mary and the Angel
  • Mary Rode a Donkey
  • Rock Baby Jesus
  • Long Ago at Christmastime
  • The Shepherds Walked on Tiptoe
  • Twinkle, Twinkle, Special Star
  • The Wiseman Rode Their Camels
  • Gospel Bells

You can download the lyrics free, here, or on Bright Hub Education.  

Tip #3: Don’t Sew Any Costumes Altogether, there are eight different parts in a simple religious Christmas Pageant. The main parts of the pageant include Mary, Joseph, three wisemen, an angel, a star, and a donkey. However, you can assign multiple students to some parts like the innkeepers, shepherds, additional angels, sheep, camels, cows, etc.

If are not a seamstress, it can be hard to find the right costume with the right fit for your little one. Here are a few online stores you may want to consider:

Halloween Costume Sale has a wide selection of Biblical character costumes labeled under “Religous Christmas Costumes.”

Costume Depot also have a few you should consider, labeled under the term search “Religous Easter Costumes - Easter Costumes.”

Oriental Trading Company has some that can be found under the term search “Nativity Costumes” and “Religous Christmas Costumes.”

Walmart also has a few under the term search “Biblical Costumes.”

Pintrest has lots of ideas for home-made Christmas pageant costumes you don’t have to sew. A few good tips are:

  • Use robes and towels with belts to tie on the head for Joseph, Mary, and the wisemen.
  • Dress angels in all white. You can make wings out of coffee filters.
  • Animals can be dressed in all gray or all brown and wear paper tails. Paper ears can be fastened to headbands or hats. Makeup is helpful for whiskers and noses.
  • Make sure to use a baby doll for the infant Jesus

Tip #4: Use an Outdoor Nativity Scene You can use an outdoor nativity scene’s stable and manger for the pageant backdrop. It will not only look classy, it is easy to assemble. You can get a quality outdoor nativity set at mynativity.com.