For several years now, our family has had a baby crib sitting under our tree. 
During Advent it’s empty:

Christmas Morning
Christmas morning the best gift of all can be discovered under that glowing tree! 

On the Epiphany
 Then, on the morning of the Epiphany, our King of Kings, baby Jesus, is found to be wearing a golden crown, red velvet cloak, and holding a jeweled scepter!

The crib is a cradle that my father made for my older girls years ago, but you could use a wooden crate or box. The “hay” is actually raffia. It’s much cleaner than hay because it stays together in the crib and it has very few small pieces to make a mess. Baby Jesus is a toy baby doll, but it’s one I keep just for this family tradition. That makes this baby seem more special to the kids! The baby is dressed in a plain white newborn-size onesie and is wrapped in an old white baby blanket.
The King of Kings crown is a golden cardboard crown for kids. I cut down the length and height so it would fit the doll. Then I added a few gems to make it look more royal! The cloak is a piece of velvet. I sewed a drawstring into the top.  I hot glued the decorative edging to the sides since I’m not much of a sewer. The scepter is a wooden ball on a stick. (a styrofoam ball would work) I covered the ball with some of the velvet and tied it together at the stick. Then I glued on some fancy trimming and gems. I covered the stick with a gold ribbon.

Another idea: In the first year of this tradition, our kids did a play of the three kings. The kings each carried one of the three  “King of Kings” items. Then they dressed Him as they gave him his gifts. (but if you do this, have the kids dress Him starting with the cloak and add the crown last!) ☺
Hope you all have a blessed Advent while waiting for our Savor’s coming,


  1. What a wonderful idea to keep Jesus the focus of Christmas. Your children are blessed to have such a thoughtful and faithful mother. Thank you for linking up through NOBH. Smiles –

  2. I liked how you showed how to use this idea all the way through Epiphany! And I like the idea of using raffia instead of hay. Thank you for sharing and linking at Familia Catolica's Advent Link Up!!

  3. Jennifer, you are so creative! It makes it more real to the kids by using the doll as baby Jesus. I agree with Xhonane, I like how you even celebrate the Epiphany!

  4. Hi Jennifer! I just found your blog from Twitter! I absolutely love this idea for a tradition of Baby Jesus and then another celebration for Epiphany…I am going to start this next year! Thanks! Good luck on your surgery…be gentle with yourself!

  5. Great tradition! I pinned it on pinterest so hopefully others will discover it too. Praying for you this month.

  6. Hi Nicole and Sunnymum I'm glad you stopped in for a visit! And thank you for the prayers! God Bless!

  7. I love this idea! However, right now I have a 2.5 year old and a 1 year old. I'm wondering, do you think that it's too early to start this? I'm a little bit worried that the kids will kind of make a mess of it and it won't be around anymore by Christmas! Also – does 'Jesus' stay in the cradle until Epiphany, or are your kids allowed to play with him?

  8. Hi Jenn, It's never too early to start a new family tradition. But yes it can be tricky to find a spot to place the manger so the little sweets don't rip it apart. We have a fence around our Christmas tree to keep the kids from pulling the ornaments off, so I place our manger inside the fence. This fence has been a huge help for many things!! If it works better for your home, you may need to find a smaller manger and doll/statue and place it on a high table.I don't let the kids play with baby Jesus. In fact, he is a special doll we keep just for this tradition. The kids are never allowed to play with him. It makes him feel more special to them. Just as Jesus should be more special! God bless and have a blessed holiday!

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