Quick Nativity Play Costumes

Nativity play season is almost here, so let’s start talking about nativity play costumes!

Paula's Christmas tree.

Last week I wrote about nativity play prep. You can find that blog post here.

Do you have little ones (or bigger ones!) who will be in a nativity play in a few weeks’ time? Have you thought about their nativity play costumes? Don’t worry — we can help!

Here’s a few ideas for costume planning that should take little to no money or effort. Our ideas are based around a traditional nativity play that’s set in a stable in Bethlehem a little over 2000 years ago. If your play has a radically different setting and you’re looking for other costume ideas, let us know in the comments and we’ll try to help!

First up, let’s look at the items we probably all have at home. Yes, we’re talking tea towels and dressing gowns/bathrobes. With a tea towel over the head and a bathrobe, you can create shepherds, wise men, Mary and Joseph, the innkeeper, the narrator, and more. Mary traditionally wears blue, so a blue bathrobe and something for a head covering can help her stand out.

White choir gowns or light-coloured traditional Sunday School dresses work well for angels. Make a simple headband out of gold or silver Christmas tinsel for the halo.

Sandals or bare feet would be more historically accurate than running shoes, but might not be the best or safest option. Parents aren’t going to worry about footwear, so you shouldn’t either.

When it comes to animal characters, ask around about costumes people have at home. You might be able to re-purpose pieces from a Halloween costume or dress up box to create a donkey, sheep, and so on. Headbands with homemade paper ears or cotton balls can work well, too. Kids might also have stuffed animals that they would be happy to bring in to fill in the stage.

Dollar stores / pound stores can be amazing resources for craft supplies, cheap hats, face paint (check that it’s water-based, non-toxic and suitable for kids, plus be sure to get parents’ approval), and more. Parents will likely be happy to pitch in with costume ideas and items for their kids, so let them know what you’re looking for.

And don’t forget a baby doll for baby Jesus! Although one year my 13 month old played the role in our church’s nativity play. To make that work, though, I played Mary and held the baby the whole time.

Got some ideas for this year’s nativity play costumes? We can’t wait to hear them! Let us know in the comments, and best of luck with your play!