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Home > Interpreter Magazine > Archives > 2012 Archives > July-August 2012 > Living Nativities — Voices of Experience

Words of experience for those considering a live Nativity scene

Interpreter used Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to ask experienced live Nativity-stagers to share tips with those planning their first experience. Read some of the tips below and check out “How to Create an Outdoor Christmas Living Nativity Scene” [] and “How to Make Costumes for a Nativity Scene.” []

Check out local regulations regarding any permits or permissions required.

“It takes a lot of people! Live animals are always a big hit! We had them in the sanctuary.” Tammy Fisher Green (Florida Green)

Take care of the people

“Having a place for interaction is important -especially to invite them back to other events/ remembrances, or to speak with them about what they've seen. Effective publicity about the event is important. Don't lip sync to canned tapes/presentations.”  The Rev. Paul Dunham, Winstead United Methodist Church, Wilson, N.C.

“Have somewhere close by where you can make hot chocolate and keep it coming to the folks doing your staging,” the Rev,  Susan Rector,  Trinity United Methodist Church, Bluefield, W. Va.

“Rotate the Nativity’s players if the weather is very cold, and make sure everyone wears warm clothing,” said the Rev. Marikay Green, Repaupo United Methodist Church, Penns Grove, N.J.

“I once planned a Live Nativity ….  We had a great piece of property, right on a busy road (which allowed) people (to) turn off the road, drive through the Nativity and never leave their cars. … Remember the outreach is the key. We gave a packet of church info and candy canes to each carload.  We had nine scenes, from Gabriel and Mary through the Resurrection, and then at the end, we had a cafe where our praise team sang Christmas songs. I delegated teams -- Outreach Team to hand out church literature, direct traffic and host the cafe; Costume and Casting Team; Scene Construction Team; childcare volunteers for the other volunteers; Promotional Team to get the word out. We hired off-duty police to direct traffic (check with your local municipality to see how this is done – sometimes they want on-duty officers to do this).” Georgie Albright Schuttauf, Kissimmee, Fla.

Take care of the animals

Secure any live animals. “Last year, two of our sheep escaped and ran across the four-lane highway, chased by shepherds and an angel,” said Vicki Bruhn Fisher of Sac City United Methodist Church in Sac City, Iowa.

“Don't tether ANY of the animals to the stable backdrop. The first dog through the neighborhood will have them dragging stable and Baby Jesus after the poor dog out for his evening constitutional.”  The Rev. Susan Rector

“Have someone handy with lassos and shovels. Just saying...clean it up.” The Rev. Billie Dalton, Battle Creek, Mich.

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