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The Spirit of Christmas Good Deed Manger Activity

This Good Deed Manger Activity has been one of my children’s favorite Christmas traditions.

To get into the spirit of Christmas, here’s a fun activity for your children.

It involves good deeds without recognition–the reward is putting a piece of hay in the manger that awaits Jesus’ arrival!

I love that it makes the focus more about the giving than the receiving by highlighting a good deed daily and treating others with kindness.

It all begins weeks before Christmas with an empty manager.

Good Deed Manger


A Good Deed Manger is a Christmas activity that helps children understand the importance of good deeds and acts of kindness, without the need for credit.  

It’s a family activity that begins with an empty manger.

Start on the first day of Advent.

As children and family members do good deeds for one another, and neighbors, they earn pieces of hay to help prepare the manager for Jesus’ arrival.

Do a good deed, place a piece of hay in the manger.

By the end of Advent, the manger should be laid with hay and comfortable for the arrival of the new Baby Jesus on Christmas morning.

Feel free to use the templates here, or use something else as the manger–cardboard, a shoebox, anything.

The manger Jesus was born in was made of stone–so anything works here.

It’s the holiday tradition as told in the bible when Mary places baby Jesus in the manger.

It’s an activity that demonstrates how rewarding it can be to follow Christ’s example.

There is no better gift to give our children than teaching them service to others and kindness.

Good Deed Manger Activity

You will need:

Manger  template printed on cardstock–color if you like

hay or yarn or shredded paper
Baby Jesus–you can cut out the one below (we use one of those babies for baby shower favors that I have wrapped in “swaddling clothes”)

Poem (pdf below or print the card above)

Good Deed Manger

To assemble the manger:

Cut out pieces (3).
Fold along dotted lines (I’ve pointed to them with arrows to make it easier) on the two side pieces and main piece.

Glue the side pieces to the main pieces

Manger Template below:

good deed manger template

Baby Jesus:

baby jesus for good deed manger

The Good Deeds Manager:

The good deeds manger is an interactive nativity set that helps teach us the true meaning of Christmas.

Through your good deeds and selfless acts of kindness, each family member will earn straw, so on Christmas morning baby Jesus is asleep in the hay.

Bring Christ back into Christmas by serving others and using this scene of his birth to encourage your entire family to love thy neighbor.


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