Nativity from Scraps ~ It’s Not Too Early (or Too Late) to Start Making Christmas Gifts!

OK, this was one of the gifts I was most pleased with giving this past Christmas. Every year I say I’m going to give more handmade gifts and then I never start early enough and I run out of time. If you have someone with little ones you’ll be giving gifts to next Christmas (or if there’s someone who’s expecting a new baby between now and then) make this now! I promise they’ll love it. I made this in a few hours one evening with wood scraps, paper scraps, and Mod Podge I had lying around the house. Cut the wood scraps to an appropriate size (or sweet-talk your husband into it), sand them to prevent splinters, and start cutting up your paper. Use wrapping paper, old Christmas cards, scrapbook paper leftovers, whatever. Once you have a design you like use Mod Podge to attach the paper to the wood and then put Mod Podge over the whole design to seal it. You don’t even need a brush, just use your fingers! Let the kids help, too. Then while your artwork dries put together an explanation for the lucky recipient if needed. When you look at my animals you’ll see that I ABSOLUTELY needed to include an explanation, and a copy of it is below the pictures.


December 24, 2009
OK, here’s the nativity story – not “The Nativity Story”, of course, but the story of this strange wooden block nativity. It all started with a post on Pioneer Woman’s homeschooling website. It had a wooden block nativity with the characters cut from felt and glued to the blocks. It haunted me. I’d hit the website every day and just look at it again – it was so simple, so appealing. But I had concerns. Felt gets wet and dirty, and small pieces can be pulled off and stuck in mouths, up noses, in ears, etc. And I have all these scrapbooking paper scraps . . . and wood scraps from our kitchen remodel . . . and jars of Mod Podge from a dining room art project . . . HMMM.
Long story short, that’s how it came into being. But by now you surely have some questions about the blocks themselves. Michael’s first questions were, “What’s up with that Wise Man?”, “What’s the matter with Joseph?”, and “Was there a hippo in Bethlehem?”
Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are pretty self-explanatory. Joseph does look kind of like a South Park character, but I don’t think the kids will make the connection. And he’s supposed to look prayerful, not like he’s doing the potty dance – sorry. The Three Kings I’m pretty pleased with in general. Yes, the African-American king does resemble Jimmy Hendricks, but I think it’s just the stars on his crown and the hippy-print robe. Yes, one king is wearing a floral robe, but he’s comfortable with his choices in life and the other kings don’t hold it against him. The shepherd and his sheep turned out pretty nicely, I think, but then we have the other animals. No, that is not a hippo. It’s a cow. It’s lying down, ‘kay? The camel (the thing that looks like a spotted dragon) is, indeed, wearing false eyelashes. She has been invited to a party by “alternative-lifestyle King” and is hoping to get this finished and get there on time. Then there’s the donkey. I’m really sorry about the donkey. I didn’t have any gray paper, so I used lilac and stamped it gray – it didn’t work out so well. It kind of looks like a purple anteater Cyclops. You may want to hide that one from the boys until they are older – I don’t want to cause nightmares. Of course, the brunette angel is Abby. She is either really grumpy or her dress has very puffy shoulders. Or maybe she’s just afraid of the donkey – it’s hard to say.
Love, Ang
I’m posting this to The Thrify Home’s Penny Pinching Party since it’s oh so frugal, and to Mama Kat for her “nativity” Writer’s Workshop prompt this week. Check them both out!
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21 thoughts on “Nativity from Scraps ~ It’s Not Too Early (or Too Late) to Start Making Christmas Gifts!”

  1. Those are cute. And, Google says it's not out of the realm of possibility that there were hippos in Bethlehem so go ahead and say yes. Or maybe you'd feel more comfortable with possibly. Possibly is pretty much my standard answer for every question they ask and they take it.

  2. Stopping by from Mama Kat's…

    Wow not only is the craft great, but the story behind the craft is great as well. My Brother in-law has a nativity scene and you don't see the wise men in the picture at Christmas. You need to look about in the house because he moves the wise men closer and closer each day until they finally reach the nativity on Three Kings Day.

    Thanks for sharing,

  3. As the RECIPIENT of this amazing gift …. yes, they were very well received. I laughed, and cried, cause I am a sap, because I know how much love and thought went into this present. My children love them — the purple donkey is under the coffee table as we speak, and Baby Jesus has taken many a ride down the indoor slide here.

    1. You are SO sweet to like them enough to think I’d have made a pattern – thank you! But nope, I just grabbed the scissors and started cutting. Feel free to enlarge the pics and print them out to use as templates if you like!

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