lessons from the nativity {manger ornament}

***This is the third installment in my lessons from the nativity series, where I’m sharing some activities I’m doing with my kids this Christmas season. We’re talking about what we learn from different characters in the nativity story, then making ornaments to go along with what we discuss. I’ve included scriptures, songs, discussion questions, and step-by-step tutorials for making each ornament. Find them all here: angel | star | manger | Baby Jesus***

The manger teaches us to LOVE EVERYONE, regardless of their circumstances.

Scripture (from Luke Chapter 2):

7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

Song: Away in a Manger

Discuss: Why didn’t Heavenly Father provide a more comfortable place for Jesus to be born? What do his humble beginnings teach us? Did people judge Him because he was poor? What judgements do we make about others based on their circumstances?

Craft: Begin by printing the pattern, found here.

I made my manger using a wood lath and a 1/4 inch square dowel. Wood laths are inexpensive (50 cent) pieces of wood that are 4 ft long, 1.5 inches wide, and about 1/4 inch thick, and you can easily find them at Home Depot or Lowes. You could certainly use nicer hobby wood, but wood laths are so cheap and you can make four mangers from each one, which is nice if you have multiple children. Wood lath will require some sanding.

If you don’t have access to a saw to cut the wood lath, you could make a manger using chipboard, which is a type of thin, hard cardboard that can be found at scrapbook stores. Cardboard could also be used.

1 – Cut pieces as shown on pattern. If using wood lath, trim 1/4 inch off one long side of one of the larger pieces. (No need to trim if using chipboard.)

2 – Glue two long pieces together to form a V, stacking piece that has been trimmed on top of untrimmed piece.

3 – Glue squares ontos ends of V to form a manger.

4 – Tip manger on it’s side and glue two dowel pieces on as shown.

5 – Glue other two dowel pieces to form X shaped legs.

6 – Ornament can simply be set on a tree branch. However, if loop for hanging is desired, either drill small holes at top of each square and then tie a loop between them, or glue loops on and cover ends with hearts cut from felt.

Here are all four ornaments (remember to click links at the beginning of post for other ornament instructions):

These little mangers are very simple to make. You can line them with a bit of cloth, some raffia or straw, or threads pulled out of a piece of burlap, like I did.

Linking to some of these parties:

Monday: Skip to My Lou | Brassy Apple | Craft-o-Maniac

Tuesday: Tip Junkie | Ladybug Blessings | Sugar Bee Crafts | The Blackberry Vine | Hope Studios | Funky Polkadot Giraffe | Not JUST a Housewife | Homework Today’s Assignment: Be Inspired | Shwin and Shwin

Wednesday: Handy Man, Crafty Woman | Southern Lovely | Sew Much Ado | SNAP | Someday Crafts | The NY Melrose Family | Printabelle | Simply Kierste

Thursday: Somewhat Simple | House of Hepworths | Momnivore’s Dilemma | The Shabby Creek Cottage | Yesterday on Tuesday | Fireflies and Jellybeans | The Taylor House

Friday: Chic on a Shoestring Decorating | The Shabby Nest | Stuff and Nonsense | Naptime Crafters | It’s a Hodgepodge Life | At The Picket Fence | 504 Main | Blissful Bucket List | Whipperberry

Weekend: Tatertots and Jello


  1. 1

    Caprice says

    Hey! It’s been a while since I’ve been on here. I just had barely made a subway art thing for my wall right before you put your idea up. I really like yours, it’s very pretty. I’m kind of wishing I had seen yours first. Oh well! Moey and Brittany just printed yours off. You have a lot of cute Christmas stuff up here.

  2. 4

    Benedict says

    Thanks a lot for giving me an idea for making a crib/manger for Holy Infant Jesus by using a wood lath. I have few baby Jesus figurines with no cribs. I will make some for next Christmas 2013. Thanks again.

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