Making the toilet roll nativity scene has become somewhat of a tradition in our house. This is the fourth Christmas with children in our home and the fourth rendition of the loo roll nativity!
The first year my daughter was still very young, so I just made Mary and Joseph and a little manger for baby Jesus. She was at the crawling and chomping stage so the characters were pretty well trashed by the time Christmas was over. The second year we made the characters day by day and added the shepherds and wise men. Last year we spent a whole week making the scene and we suspended silvery angels above the stable too! But this year is the first year my daughter has really wanted to take over help. She wanted to do the glue “all by my own” and draw the faces. She picked the fabric for every character and was quite insistent about some of her choices.
I love that at three she is already so familiar with the story of the first Christmas. I put the pile of toilet rolls in front of her and she was able to pull out how many we needed. “We need Mary and Joseph. We need three wise men. We need some shepherds. And some angels Mummy. A lot of angels (I talked her back down to two…) We need to have a manger with some hay for baby Jesus. And a donkey. We sure need a donkey.”
A donkey?! She’s right of course. They sure needed that donkey. Can’t wait to see what she wants to add next year.
A friend recently asked me why we make it again every year, rather than just keep it and reuse it. I think the process is more important than the product here. This is not a pristine display piece. One day I might buy a beautiful set (like the gorgeous Willow Tree one) but for now I love that my kids can make the story, retell the story, play with the story and interact with the characters in their own way. They don’t have to be precious with it, and won’t be told not to touch. The first Christmas was, and still is, for everyone.
The angel said to them,
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news
of great joy that will be for all the people…”
PS – thanks to the friend who first showed me a toilet roll nativity she made with her own daughter long before I was a mother.