Traveling Nativity


A Christian Family Christmas Tradition

Christmas traditions form the foundation of many treasured childhood memories. They can also help adults keep the Christmas spirit alive, as we tend to get bogged down with everything that has nothing to do with the true meaning of the holiday.

I fell in love with a wonderful new tradition that I borrowed from my sister, Patti, and it’s one every Christian family can enjoy.

Traveling Nativity

Patti’s Traveling Nativity has become a family-favorite for her children and a reminder of the reason for the season within her neighborhood.

How it works

Her hand-made figurines of Mary and Joseph begin their journey from one corner of her front yard. Each day, they inch closer to the manger that awaits at the other end of the yard. Step by step, they are a visual reminder of the birth of our Savior.

By Christmas Eve, Joseph and Mary have reached the stable. On Christmas morning, Jesus appears in His cradle.

What started as a fun family tradition has become a beacon of Christ for Patti’s neighborhood. People she doesn’t know will stop to tell her that they look forward to watching Mary and Joseph make their annual journey. People she meets ask if she’s the lady with the traveling nativity.

An indoor version

I loooooved the traveling nativity, but didn’t have room in my yard and didn’t have the skills to build figurines. (I still haven’t found suitable figurines for sale. Let me know if you find them!)

So, I adapted the concept to an indoor version. Even though it’s only my husband and me in the house, we still enjoy our new tradition.

On December first, I set up our table-top nativity set – minus Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Mary and Joseph begin their journey somewhere else in the house. Each day I move/hide the couple in a new spot and my husband will let me know when he discovers them. They go from his sock drawer to the refrigerator, to his bedside table, to the mailbox…. You get the idea.

On Christmas Eve, they take their final resting spot in the manger and Jesus arrives there on Christmas morning.

Add FUN twists for the children

This fun tradition for adults is even more fun for children.

Each year, you can create new fun twists that will keep the kiddos engaged. These examples will get you started:

  1. Let the children take turns hiding Mary and Joseph.
  2. Let the child who found them the most times place Jesus in the manger on Christmas morning.
  3. Let the child who found them on a particular day be the one to hide them the next day.
  4. Have Mary and Joseph journey across the dining room table, inch by inch, until finally reaching the manger.
  5. Have the person who finds Mary and Joseph write a prayer/wish on a note card. Collect them in a jar and read them all aloud on Christmas Eve.

Tell me how you’re using it!

This fun ‘game’ and beautiful tradition also keeps the birth of our Savior at the forefront of our holiday hustle.

Whether you use the outdoor method or indoor version, you’re sure to bring a renewed holiday spirit to your loved ones.

I’d love to hear how you apply the traveling nativity to your holiday! And don’t forget photos!

Godspeed.

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