What makes a Nativity (Christmas Pageant) memorable?

Meaningful?  Engaging?  Inclusive?  Fun?



  • Plan ahead.  I try to have a Nativity drama chosen by early September, so I can work with all involved with plenty of time to spare.
  • Choose a play you like.  I always get my basic play from somewhere else, then re-work it til it’s good by me.  If there is a copyright issue, I write directly to the original author for permission.
  • Do not require memorization.  If parts need to be memorized, this will necessarily exclude several people (including me!).
  • Advertise for participants, asking everyone in the church to get involved (reminding them they do not have to memorize their part, that everyone will be holding a script).
  • Type script and photocopy for easy reading by the actors.  Do not take the easy way out and photocopy a poor copy.  (I’ve found people hold a horizontal sheet better than vertical, and printing in two columns with font 14 results in an easy-to-read script.  Some actors will prefer their section in font 16.)
  • Find a role for everyone interested – big and small, old and young, good reader and silent stars!  Making sure to have the option for any child that shows up only for dress rehearsal and the performance, to step into a non-speaking follow-the-leader type of roll, so no one is left out.  Upholding the aim to include not exclude.
  • Figure out music involved, and arrange withmusicians, and anyone else to be involved.
  • Work with those who will organize costumes and props.
  • Run two rehearsals, the two weeks before hand – Sundays 7 Dec and 14 Dec, 12:30 – 2:30.
  •  Dress rehearsal, the morning of.
  • Sit in front row during the performance and do whatever needs to be done.  Do not be shy about helping with lines, directions and even getting up to move something.  Keep things flowing, and smile!
  • No matter what happens, have fun!


When words are scary,

here are some tips for attracting actors…



  • No memorization required!
  • Allow, even encourage, actors to read from their script throughout the drama.
  • Focus on the words and their presentation, not remembering them. This increases greatly the pool of willing actors.
  • The main requirements for actors are enthusiasm and a sense of delight.
  • All ages can have a part.
  • Assign primary roles  to the the clearest and most confident readers.

Worship Words dramatic nativity resources (Christmas pageants and dramas):

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