Updated: Nov 18, 2021
The Christmas countdown is nearly upon us. The calendar rolls over and we anticipate 24 "sleeps" until the big day. My kids love counting down to presents and family get-togethers with advent chocolates, each treat is a sweet reminder that it's nearly Christmas day.
I have made a fun way for your family to count down to Christmas. Read on to learn why I created this crafty printable and all the fun ways you can use it this season!
I don't know how you feel about the Elf on the Shelf, but we enjoyed his feisty antics for a few years. The kids would wake up and scramble to see what he had been up to this time. He was a much-loved tradition--until my daughter was old enough to join in the fun. Last year we read the story that explains the idea behind the little red elf. She furrowed her brow, finding the idea of a magical elf moving around our house implausible. Here was a magical creature that was not on tv or in a book, but right in her house. Doubt ensued.
As with the story of Santa Claus, I don't push my kids to believe in fairy tales. I didn't insist that the elf was real, but she felt like we were trying to trick her, and she does not enjoy being tricked! Every time the elf reappeared somewhere else, she loudly insisted that he was only a toy. I agreed with her, explaining it was a game. Yet, the whole culture surrounding the elf had now become a scam to her, and she wanted no part of it. Halfway through December, the elf disappeared, to the disappointment of her older brother.
This year, with the days inching closer to December, I was left scratching my head and wondering how we could have the fun of the search but without the elf--plus, if I could encourage the real reason for the season, all the better!
I began to shop online for nativity scenes, but they are often breakable and quite pricy to be involved in a kid's game. The cheap ones were just plain ugly, like the ones where the eyes aren't in the right spot, haha!
So I made my own! I will be using this nativity set with my own family, and I want to share it with you. This nativity scene costs only a few pieces of cardstock and a dab of glue. It can be stored easily too, always a perk! This printable is totally free for subscribers. You can download the pdf in the download library! (See the site menu above to enter this exclusive member-only area!)
Simply print the 25 beautifully detailed pieces on six sheets of sturdy white cardstock. Color, if you like, and then cut around the grey lines. Fold in half and they stand on their own! The stable comes in three pieces. Once it's cut and colored, the side pieces are folded and glued so that it can stand up.
Here are a few fun ways to use this printable this Christmas!
If you have kids coming to visit this holiday season, print a set for a little busy (quiet!) time.
Make it a group activity with snacks or hot drinks and Christmas music. Coloring is both relaxing and a great opportunity to chat. (Fun for all ages!)
Set up a video camera and record your kids using the pieces to retell the Christmas story. You'll be surprised at the details they remember--or add on!
Combine adding a piece to the nativity with reading one chapter from Luke. There are 24 chapters in that gospel, making it a great way to get the whole story of Christ before Christmas!
When you print off the scene, you might notice a few extra people. Besides the typical line-up, I added the innkeeper, a woman, a boy, and a girl. They can be the family of the innkeeper, or shepherds, or anyone else. As my children imagine the birth of our Christ, I want them to remember that Jesus came for everyone--young and old!
Each figure was lovingly hand-drawn by me before I scanned them into my computer. I hope you enjoy the little details and understand that the minor imperfections are part of the charm! As with all my printables, these are for personal use only and are not to be attributed to anyone else, redistributed, or sold.