Think of ways you can be helpful to those around you. Then during the month of December, each time you do something without being asked lay a piece of straw in the manger. If you can help someone without being discovered, add two pieces of straw. Soon the manger will be ready for Christmas—and so will your heart!
Glue manger pieces to lightweight cardboard and cut out. Fold on dotted lines and glue flaps to inside edges of manger [see illustration]. You will also need a small bundle of straw or cut yarn.
Discuss some of the ways we get ready for Christmas. Children could tell what they do with the following items as they are taken from a box: Christmas tree decoration, card, wrapping paper, etc. Talk about things that children could do to help others feel happy at Christmastime. Ask them how they feel when they have helped someone and whether that feeling is part of the true Christmas spirit. Make a copy of patterns for each child. Explain manger project, and let each child cut and assemble one to take home. Small bundle of straw could be tied with ribbon for each child.