Monday, November 18, 2013

Homemade Christmas Crèche

 A project that 1st graders do at our church is work together as a family and create a simple Christmas Crèche (crèche is the French word for cradle). To keep with the simplicity of the story of the birth of Jesus, families are encouraged to use simple materials, for example, items that can be easily found around the house. Ours is all done and ready to go to church to be blessed with holy water by our priest.

We made Mary, Joseph, Jesus, an angel, 3 wise men, 2 shepherds, 1 gray donkey, and 1 white sheep.

Our inspiration came from:

  • wine corks (for bodies)
  • wood beads (for heads)
  • wool felt (for clothing, angel wings, donkey fur, star of Bethlehem)
  • wool roving (for angel hair, wise men beards, sheep wool)
  • nails (1.5 inches in length, used to attach the wood bead to the cork)
  • craft gems (for the gold, frankincense and myrrh)
  • pipe cleaners (for angel's halo, wise men's crowns, shepherd's staves, and to hold up the star of Bethlehem)
  • permanent markers (to add faces to wood beads)
  • toothpicks (for the legs on the donkey)
  • scraps of beige yarn (leftovers from a knitted sweater and bunny, for the hay in the manger)
  • cardboard tube (for manger)
  • cardboard box (packaging from a doll my daughter got, for the stable)
  • cardboard circle from a frozen pizza (for the base)
  • hot glue gun

 A very quick explanation on how to make one of the figures… cut out a piece of wool felt to wrap all of the way around a cork, attach it to a cork with a hot glue gun. To attach the wood bead to the cork, put a nail through a wood bead and push the nail into a cork. Baby Jesus was half of a cork and for the animals the wood bead and nail were put into the side of the cork. All of the figures stay in place thanks to the hot glue gun, so nothing will move or tip over.
 The only thing I bought were the wood beads which were a couple of dollars. Otherwise everything else came from around the house, from our stash of craft supplies, items that could be found in a recycling bin, etc.
 All of the 1st grade nativity scenes will decorate the tables as centerpieces in our church's community room during Advent. After that ours will come back home to stay.
Happy 790th anniversary of the Christmas crèche! It was 790 years ago when St Francis of Assisi staged the first nativity scene back in 1223.