This is a sweet tradition I started with my children when they were very young. We made a manger out of popsicle sticks (very economical and easy). Starting at the beginning of December every time one of them would do a good deed (act of kindness, chore, thoughtfulness) I would recognize it by asking them to place a piece of straw in the manger in order to prepare it for Baby Jesus. The goal was to have the manger filled with straw by Christmas Day. Come Christmas morning, they would then place Jesus in the manger resting symbolically on all their good deeds.
Popsicle Sticks (12)
* Non-toxic Glue or Glue Gun
** Hay (Sandwich baggie full)
*** Miniature plastic baby doll
Fabric (little piece to wrap baby doll in)
* This is a fun project to make with children when using non-toxic glue. I have burned myself enough times that I would NOT recommend a child use a glue gun even with adult supervision.
** I don't buy hay. I go to a Pumpkin Stand in the fall and ask if I can have a handful of hay that has gotten loose and scattered on the ground.
*** The baby doll pictured is part of a nativity I already have. But, I have also bought miniature plastic baby dolls at party stores in the Baby Shower aisle.
DIRECTIONS FOR MANGER:
STEP 1: Glue (non-toxic glue dries invisible whereas glue gun looks slightly messy in between the sticks) 4 popsicle sticks together lengthwise. Then glue a second set of 4 popsicle sticks together lengthwise.
STEP 2: Glue 2 popsicle sticks together in the shape of an "X:. Then glue a second set of 2 popsicle sticks together in the shape of an "X".
STEP 3: Stand one of the "X" shaped popsicle sticks up and glue one side of the top of the "X" on the inside as pictured. (Glue gun sets faster than non-toxic glue and with non-toxic glue you have to find a way to keep the sticks propped up until it sets. I have made them both ways and Step 3 is the only step where a glue gun is much more convenient as long as you aren't in a big hurry for the manger to dry.)
STEP 4: Then press one of the sets of 4 popsicle sticks t:o the glued inside of the "X", making sure the glue has dried before releasing pressure.
STEP 5: Stand the second "X" shaped popsicle sticks and glue one side of the inside top of the second "X" as you did in Step 3 for the first "X". Then press the same set of 4 popsicle sticks to the glued inside of the second "X", making sure the glue has dried before releasing pressure.
STEP 6: Then glue the remaining inside sides of the top of the "X's" and press the second set of 4 popsicle sticks to them.
Once the manger has dried you are ready for the good deeds to begin making sure the manger is filled by Christmas Day!
NOTE FOR PARENTS :-) This works so much better than Santa's warning of being "Naughty or Nice"!
~ Debbie ~
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