Connecting with the Christmas Story: Family Christmas Story Activities

Here are some Family Christmas Story Activities to try this year!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Yet, if we’re not careful, this season of Christmas becomes more about a few of our favourite things instead of remembering that Christ, our Saviour, is born.

Here are five fun Christmas Story activities to connect your family with the Christmas Story this year. Don’t forget to do these activities together – they are way more fun when we do them together!


1) Get Creative

Use your imagination and get creative this holiday season! Here are some Christmas Story activities.

Use a Nativity Set

The nativity set is like a hands-on Christmas storybook. Instead of just looking at it, play with the characters—like Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus.

  • You can play with the set as you might any other toy. For example, grab Mary, Joseph, and the donkey and pretend to go door to door looking for a room in the inn.
  • Hand your children different characters as you read the Christmas story, and let them act it out.
  • Ask your children to set up the nativity scene in a way they think best – then ask them questions about it – why did they put the camel there? Why is the angel beside the shepherds?
  • Simply making the nativity set accessible is excellent, too! My own set is an heirloom piece, which I wasn’t comfortable with my toddler playing with, so I bought a plastic fisher-price nativity set. You don’t need a toy set, though – so long as you’re okay with your children handling the nativity (maybe buy a cheaper one at the local thrift store!).
  • Take turns hiding the characters around the room, and then, when they’re all found, set the scene back up together.

Christmas Activities Nativity Set. Fisher Price Nativity Set share the Christmas Story


Illustrate the Christmas Story

There are many great colouring pages for Christmas – many you can get free (I love this one from our friends at Tiny Truths – fun fact – they’re fellow Canadians!)

You can also read a part of the Christmas story, and each use your imagination to draw (or paint, or sculpt!) what you think it might have looked like.

Build a Manger

Try building a manger together. For younger children, pull out some recycling and then challenge them to make a bed for baby Jesus. Grab some tools and scrap wood with older children, and build a manger! My family built one last year – it was fun to see their creativity, and we managed to build a decent one.

As you do this, ask open questions – like “How is this manger different from your baby’s bed?”

Ask open questions – like “How is this manger different from your baby’s bed?”

2) Sing it!

Sharing the Christmas story is as simple as putting on a Christmas playlist! Music is powerful, and as our children hear “Christ the Saviour is born” or “Away in a manger, no crib for his bed,” they connect with the Christmas story.

Be intentional at home and in the car with the songs you play! There are so many great Christmas songs out there – so curate a playlist of songs that your family can sing along with that focus on the birth of Jesus.

On top of singing together, you can have dance parties or play the songs using your instruments.

Another great idea is to join your church’s choir, go carolling, and make sure you’re at church to worship together.

Be intentional at home and in the car with the songs you play!

Family Singing together Christmas carols at Christmas time with instruments

3) Watch it

One study suggests that 65% of the population are visual learners! Watching something helps it stick and is more inclined to connect with our emotions! So, find some ways to watch the Christmas Story.

Church Plays or a Live Nativity

Take your family to a Christmas play (one they’re not acting in!) or live nativity.

Recently, my family went to a live nativity at a local church. It was fun to watch the real donkey walk Mary and Joseph around the church building to the inn (which had no room!) and then see the angels appear to the shepherds. My children watched the familiar story in a new way, and on the walk home, we chatted about their favourite parts. It was a great chance to talk about the first Christmas.

Watch a Movie

Movies are a great family Christmas activity. Find one that is about Jesus’ birth. My favourite is “The Star” – it’s well done (so I don’t mind watching it repeatedly with my children).

Here’s a tip: ask open–ended questions after watching a movie or play to help your children connect what they saw with the Bible. If you have older children, ask them how the movie differed from the Bible account.

Watching something helps it stick and is more inclined to connect with our emotions!

Manger for Baby Jesus

4) Act it

Find opportunities to act out the Christmas story!

At home

My colleague’s family acts out the Christmas story every year! Sometimes, he gets a regal role (like Herod). In other years, he gets recruited to be the donkey! The grandchildren become directors, and everyone plays a part!

Acting is a great way to engage with the Bible – as children re-visit what they know (or even re-read it) to bring the story to life. It helps them to connect with the Bible in a fun way.

It can be as complicated or simple as you are comfortable with. Start with one person narrating the story from the Bible while the rest of your family are assigned parts that they act out as the narrator reads.

At church

Make it a priority for your children to be involved if your church has a play (if they’re uncomfortable on stage – get them involved in set design or helping as stage hands).

A bonus to participating in a church play is that it often deepens connections with your faith community as you work together on the production.

5) Read it.


Read the Bible

We always advocate for reading the Bible with your family! Not only is it the living Word of God and can speak into the hearts of the youngest member of your family, but as you read from the Bible, it shows your children that they can read it, too!

Here are some Christmas passages to read this Christmas

When reading the Bible, keep the following tips in mind:
Pick a good translation for your family. Bible translations are assigned to grade reading levels – we suggest the New International Readers Version (NIrV) or the International Children’s Bible (ICB) for younger children. Older children might like the New King James Version (NKJV) or New Living Translation (NLT)
Pray! Invite God to be a part of your Bible time.
Reflect on the passage. Questions are a great way to reflect on the passage as a family. Start with comprehension questions to ensure you understood the text, then move to connection questions (open-ended questions) like “Would you go back and tell Herod where the baby is? Why or why not?” Family Quest is our family Bible guide with six different interactive ways to reflect on passages – reflecting on the Bible isn’t just reading something out loud!

Read Bible Storybooks

Children do well with visuals – find books that have illustrations. We have several in our shop, including ornament books that hang on your tree and tell the story from a different perspective or a simple Christmas Bible Storybook that preschoolers love!

Instead of just reading the book to your child – ask them to read it to you! My youngest cannot read yet, but she will open the Christmas Bible Storybook and use the pictures as cues to retell the story.

Another book we have is The Christmas Alphabet, which explores the story from A to Z, and a Sticker Christmas Storybook where your children use stickers to illustrate the story!

Which of the family Christmas Story activities will you do this year? Remember to be intentional! God has entrusted you to pass on your faith to your children.

Merry Christmas!


Related Articles: Christmas Family Bible Readings, Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas: What is Advent and Advent Bible Readings, Helping Children Read the Bible


Christmas Family Story Activities

© Scripture Union Canada, 2021

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