Nothing quite signals the start of the festive period than going to watch your little one perform in their nativity performance. Whether they are at the top of the school and you have watched them every year since reception, or if this is their first time, this special performance never fails to tug on your heartstrings. It is a really proud moment for all parents and grandparents and once your child starts school it becomes a Christmas tradition. But then you remember that first you have to provide, or make, the nativity costumes for your little Wise King or Angel. So where to start?
It might not just be school age children who want to dress up. Perhaps your toddler wants to be like his or her older sibling, or you think it would be cute to dress up the baby too, and there are lots of Christmas baby outfits for them to wear while they watch their older sibling. Even adults might want to browse nativity costumes so it becomes a real family occasion. Pre schools are increasingly choosing to stage a Christmas performance, often with some of the best Christmas songs performed for parents, and so you might also need nativity costumes, or even Christmas jumpers, for preschoolers.
Christmas is an expensive time of the year, especially with all the Christmas presents for your toddlers and bigger kids and adding the cost of one, or more, nativity costumes onto the list might just be too much. Don't feel you have to go out and buy a brand new nativity costume, often schools have ones left over from the previous years, or if your school has a Facebook page, posting a message requesting the costume you need is a great idea. If you already have a costume at home, it might be that you can swap with another parent as nativity roles tend to be assigned by year group. If you have no luck at school, or on social media, then how about making a nativity costume. The video below has some simple ideas. Alternatively, cotton wool on a t-shirt makes a great sheep, or a cardboard crown painted gold is a simple idea for the wise men, as well as tinsel and pipe cleaners for an Angel's halo.
However, if you do want to buy a new costume, especially if there are younger siblings who can use it in subsequent years, we have listed some of the best ideas to keep it simple and fun and suitable for all budgets and ages.
Best nativity costumes at a glance:
• Best Mary nativity costume: Kids Mary nativity Christmas fancy dress costume
• Best Shepherd nativity costume: Shepherd nativity costume
• Best Angel nativity costume: Amscan girls Christmas nativity angel
So if you are feeling festive and looking forward to seeing your little one strut their stuff on the nativity stage, take a look at our round up of nativity costumes to ensure you can capture perfect Christmas photos of your little Mary or Joseph to treasure for years.
Best wise men nativity costume
If your little one is playing the role of one of the wise men, then this costume will really stand
- Available in a wide range of sizes
- Robe is separate from the tunic
- Comes up a bit small
Best star nativity costume
Your little one can really shine like a star in this cute costume. The costume includes a fabric
- Great for younger children
- Lovely glitter star design
- The hat is very small
Best Mary nativity costume
If your little one is playing Mary in their school nativity, then this costume will have them
- Traditional look costume
- Very long so may be too long for shorter children
Best angel fancy dress costume
This beautiful angel dress is perfect for the Christmas nativity play and will definitely bring
- Simple costume
- Good fit
- The velcro on the wings isn't very strong
Best Joseph nativity costume
If your little one is in the starring role as Joseph, then this costume is ideal. With a great
- Brightly coloured design
- Includes headpiece
- Comes up quite big
Best donkey nativity costume
One of the cutest nativity costumes, this donkey outfit is also a great addition to any fancy
- Comfortable costume
- Good value
- Donkey's features obscured unless bending forward
Best camel nativity costume
This brilliant all in one suit features an attached camel head and detachable tail. Your little
- A good fit and comfortable
- All in one suit
- Detachable tail falls off easily
Best shepherd costume
If your little one is playing a shepherd in their school nativity play, then this costume has
- Incudes sheep and hook
- Machine washable
- Hook is quite small
Best sheep nativity costume
What is cuter than a fluffy sheep? Your little one will steal the show in this adorable costume.
- Durable velour fabric
- Elasticated waist
- Sheds fibres
Best accessories for nativity costumes
If you already have a costume, but just need to accessorise then these will complete your little
- Great for a variety of costumes
- Full size crook
- Headpiece quite big
Best nativity angel wings
If your little one has a white dress (or you can fashion one from a sheet) but you need wings,
- Great addition to the fancy dress box
- Suitable for all ages
- Feathers fall off
Best adult nativity costume
If you want to join in the festive fun, or your little one wants a little bit of encouragement,
- Encourages the whole family get involved
- Includes all the accessories you need
- Only available in two sizes
What to look for in a nativity costume?
There are lots of fancy nativity costumes on the market, but sometimes simple is best. If you choose a costume with lots of intricate accessories it might be a distraction for your little one. Remember they might be a little bit nervous, especially if it is their debut nativity, and they won't need a costume that gives them lots to fiddle with, or has bits which are likely to slip or fall off. Also consider if the costume has a mask, if it does ensure your little one can see where they are going.
In a school hall with a large audience, your little star might feel quite hot in their costume so consider this when choosing what they should wear. Onesies are great, especially for animal characters, but they will get warm, although this is handy for a chilly walk home after the show. Also take into account that many costumes can be sized quite large and often, especially robes and dresses, can be quite long, so make sure there are no trip hazards.
It is such a lovely experience for your little one to dress up and perform in front of family friends, we bet they can't wait to deliver those hilarious Christmas jokes they have rehearsed over and over on stage, so don't choose a costume which might hinder them because it is bulky, or doesn't stay fastened, or even has a headpiece which constantly falls off. We all know how easily little ones get distracted, and they will probably already be busy waving at family instead of remembering lines, so don't over complicate their costume.
Do you have to buy a nativity costume?
Of course not! The most special part of any nativity is the children and really what they wear is secondary to their actual, very cute, performance. You will be a proud parent whatever costume, or role, they are in. However, listen to what your child wants. Some may want an elaborate costume and want to strut their stuff on the stage, while others may be more shy and prefer a costume that is less flamboyant. Budget is also a consideration too, after all school uniforms are expensive enough, without the addition of costumes. If finances are tight at Christmas, why not have a fun Sunday afternoon with your little one making their costume with old clothes, pillow cases, or craft bits around the house. Easy craft ideas are always popular with kids and they will be so proud wearing something they have made themselves. If you do buy a costume, get something that can be added to your fancy dress box for fun all year and one you can definitely add to your child's Christmas outfits.
Will school provide nativity costumes?
Probably not, but that doesn't mean there won't be parents who want to swap costumes from previous years or even share costumes if their children's performance is on a different night. Charity shops might also be another good place to look and can really help you create a minimal waste Christmas for your family. Also check community pages on social media. At this time of the year, there's sure to be lots of parents looking to buy, swap, share, or sell nativity costumes so always be on the lookout.
If your little one hasn't started school yet, but you still want to enjoy some festive theatre there are lots of toddler theatre shows for them to enjoy, it doesn't have to be a nativity play to spend time together watching a show. Alternatively, you can just cuddle up and enjoy some kids Christmas films together. Your little school goer might even like watching a festive film while wearing their nativity costume after their big performance.
Laura Healy is a Commercial Content Writer for Mother&Baby. She is a mum-of-two girls and loves writing about all things parenting. She has a PhD in Creative Writing and enjoys reading and attending literary festivals, as well as writing fiction.