The best nativity costumes for your little star

nativity costumes Mary and Joseph

by Laura Healy |
Published on

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

nativity costumes wise man
Price: $33.95

If your little one is playing the role of one of the wise men, then this costume will really stand out. The costume kit includes, a gold tunic, a long green jacket, a white rope belt, a golden headpiece and a gold crown hat. With such great attention to detail your little wise man will really shine.

Review: "This Wise Man (Three Kings) outfit is good quality, looks good. Bought it for my 7 year old grandson, he likes it. Can't wait to see him in his Nativity."


  • Available in a wide range of sizes
  • Robe is separate from the tunic


  • Comes up a bit small
Washing instructionsHand wash only
Size range4 - 14 years
  • Kit includes gold tunic, a long green jacket, a white rope belt, a golden headpiece and a gold crown hat.
  • Reduced packaging for sustainability
  • Stretchy fabric is more comfortable

Best star nativity costume

Your little one can really shine like a star in this cute costume. The costume includes a fabric star-shaped front piece with two velcro attached back straps and a matching cone shaped hat. Perfect for nativity, or any Christmas celebrations.

Review: "Great little outfit for the class nativity. My son is 5 and the hat only just fit so bear that in mind when ordering."


  • Great for younger children
  • Lovely glitter star design


  • The hat is very small
Age range3 - 8 years
Length across shoulders77cm
  • Includes hat
  • Starry pattern
  • Velcro fastenings

Best Mary nativity costume

If your little one is playing Mary in their school nativity, then this costume will have them dressed for the part. The kit includes a blue and white dress and a headdress. Your little Mary won't have to worry about what she's wearing, just getting to the stable in time.

Review: "Bought this for my granddaughter as she’s Mary in the Nativity. She loves it. I bought the 5 to 7 size because my granddaughter is 6. I’m sure she’ll look the part on the day."


  • Traditional look costume
  • Lightweight


  • Very long so may be too long for shorter children
Age range3 - 13 years
Washing instructionsHand wash only
  • Includes dress and headdress
  • Wide range of sizes

Best angel fancy dress costume

This beautiful angel dress is perfect for the Christmas nativity play and will definitely bring out the angelic side in your little one. The package includes, a dress with fine gold detailing, velcro release wings and a white halo headband.

Laura, writer at Mother and Baby and mum of two said: "My daughter was so excited to be an angel in the nativity play and wanted a 'real' angel costume, not something too glittery. This was perfect, it is simple and includes an easy to wear halo and wings. My daughter was proud to wear it and also enjoyed parading round the house in it over Christmas granting wishes to all the family."


  • Simple costume
  • Good fit


  • The velcro on the wings isn't very strong
Age range3 - 12 years
Washing instructionsHand wash only
  • Includes headdress and wings
  • Good range of sizes

Best Joseph nativity costume

If your little one is in the starring role as Joseph, then this costume is ideal. With a great detailed robe, along with attached waistcoat, belt and headpiece, your little Jospeh will be proud to accompany Mary on her journey to Bethlehem.

Review: "The quality of this costume is great. It looks exactly like the picture and value for money. My grandson who is 5 wanted to try it on immediately and was very excited."


  • Brightly coloured design
  • Includes headpiece


  • Comes up quite big
Age range3 - 13
Washing instructionsHand wash only
  • Includes belt and headpiece
  • Good range of sizes

Best donkey nativity costume

One of the cutest nativity costumes, this donkey outfit is also a great addition to any fancy dress box. It features a sweet hat with eyes, nose and ears, as well as a long-sleeved grey top with attached tail and matching trousers. It's comfy too for your little one on chilly Christmas evenings.

Review: "Fitted well for my 4 year old son. My son was happy in this for his nativity and great that the donkey's head is a hat."


  • Comfortable costume
  • Good value


  • Donkey's features obscured unless bending forward
Age range3 - 12 years
Washing instructionsHand wash only
  • Separate hat with donkey's features
  • Includes long-sleeved top and trousers
  • Good range of sizes

Best camel nativity costume

This brilliant all in one suit features an attached camel head and detachable tail. Your little one will be perfectly dressed to wow in their school play.

Review: "Excellent costume. Bought for school Christmas performance. Tail is Velcro so I worried that it could come loose so I just sewed it on! Very pleased."


  • A good fit and comfortable
  • All in one suit


  • Detachable tail falls off easily
Age range4 - 14 years
Washing instructionsHand wash only
Material 100 per cent polyester
  • Attached camel head
  • All in one suit
  • Detachable tail

Best shepherd costume

If your little one is playing a shepherd in their school nativity play, then this costume has everything they need, even a sheep. Including a tunic, coordinating head piece, hook and toy sheep they can focus on playing their part without any costume dramas.


  • Incudes sheep and hook
  • Machine washable


  • Hook is quite small
Age range3 - 10 years
Washing instructionsMachine washable
Material 100 per cent polyester
  • Includes sheep and hook
  • Machine washable
  • Good range of sizes

Best sheep nativity costume

What is cuter than a fluffy sheep? Your little one will steal the show in this adorable costume. This sheep outfit has an extremely soft woolly coat as well as a plush sheep’s face attached to the hood. It also features an elasticated waist and fully lined hood. To complete the look there is a detachable tail.

Review: "Exactly like the picture, more practical than a full costume as it can be easily wear above normal cloth with a great effect. Recommended."


  • Durable velour fabric
  • Elasticated waist


  • Sheds fibres
Age range3 - 7 years
Washing instructionsHand wash only
Material Textured velour
  • Elasticated waist
  • Lined hood
  • Detachable tail

Best accessories for nativity costumes

If you already have a costume, but just need to accessorise then these will complete your little one's nativity look. The pack includes hat, crook stick and waistcoat.

Review: "Perfect for the nativity this year, ‘hat’ large enough to fit a variety of heads, and last for a few years in the dressing up / props box."


  • Great for a variety of costumes
  • Full size crook


  • Headpiece quite big
ContentsHeadpiece, crook, waistcoat
Washing instructionsHand wash only
SizeOne size
  • Includes 3 items
  • Full size crook - arrives in 4 pieces to screw together
  • Can be used for more than one costume

Best nativity angel wings

If your little one has a white dress (or you can fashion one from a sheet) but you need wings, these are a great addition to any angel costume. Plus we are sure your little one will love using them for dressing up long after the stage curtain falls.

Review: "Well made and managed 2 kids Halloween parties with minimal fall out. Still good for next year."


  • Great addition to the fancy dress box
  • Suitable for all ages


  • Feathers fall off
Dimensions40 x 55 x 2.4 cm
Age range14 years +
Material Feathers
  • Made with feathers
  • Suitable for children and adults

Best adult nativity costume

If you want to join in the festive fun, or your little one wants a little bit of encouragement, why not dress up in this adult wise man costume, after all children often love dressing as a mini-meand looking the same as their parents. It includes a green robe with attached waistcoat, a belt and headpiece as well as a brown elasticated beard so you will definitely look the part alongside your little one.

Review: "Good quality not see through. Fit well and good for purpose. Good value for money."


  • Encourages the whole family get involved
  • Includes all the accessories you need


  • Only available in two sizes
Size rangeOne size and plus size
MeasurementsOne size: chest 44”, waist 36-41"<br>Plus size: chest 48”, waist 41-46”
Washing instructionsHand wash only
  • Available in two sizes
  • Includes, robe with attached waistcoat, belt, headpiece and crown

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.

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