Christmas Pageants 101

Saturday December 12th, 4-4:30pm (followed by a brief time to chat for those who are interested).

(Bonus: Sign-on early (3:50pm) for a slideshow of past pageants and instrumental piano carols by Eliza Thomas).

Join the Zoom via the yellow button on our main page ( that says Join Children’s Chapel.

The information below should answer most of your questions, but since it is our first time going virtual, feel free to reach out to Liza if you have other questions we haven’t thought of!

A Christmas Pageant is usually the retelling of the biblical nativity story. It differs from a play in that it is generally a procession with limited, if any, dialog. The story is usually told by a narrator with actors portraying the various parts.  Since my job title is Director (of Spiritual Exploration) I will help direct the actors…so…trust me…no rehearsal needed. It will all be good. Correction…it will all be great!

Though it will be sad to not be clustered together on the chancel like the photo above, Zoom will allow us to show our resilience and adaptability and keep this tradition alive.   It is a chance to be even more creative.

WHAT TO EXPECT on Zoom: We encourage you to sign on a bit early to get your tech all set-up… maybe 3:50 or 3:55pm. At 4pm we’ll start with a chalice lighting and brief introduction.  If you have a chalice, have it nearby! Once the story begins, at certain points in the “action” we will pause to “spotlight” the Zoom images of those of you playing the characters being highlighted — shepherds, angels, or magi.

BACKGROUNDS: Your living room or kitchen is fine!  If you want to get creative, perhaps a blanket fort in the background as a manger scene? Or a tin foil stars on the wall. If you want to get really fancy, here’s a video tutorial for how to set up your own virtual background on Zoom.  

Photo (right): Here is shepherd Liza with some middle eastern mountains in the background! I found the image at the right for free at when I entered ‘Judea’ as the key word for an image search.  You could try ‘starry sky’ to be an angel or ‘sheep’ or ‘camel caravan.’


Like always, we are asking that anyone who wishes to have a part come dressed as the character they would like to play. This is not just for children. Adults too. It might be a really fun thing for your family to do together in fact. What a great memory maker!

Folks should come as angels, shepherds or magi..the wise men. BTW…It is only tradition that says that there were only three and that they were men..but as Unitarian Universalists, we know there have always been wise people of ALL genders! In fact, none of the roles in our pageant are gender specific.  We will have already coordinated with a specific family to play the role of the Holy Family.  

Which brings me to the costumes. Nothing elaborate is needed here, but you might like some suggestions.

Angels…usually something white…but not necessarily. I’ve seen white dresses, a nightgown, white pants and a t-shirt…anything really or could simply be a piece of cloth with a slit cut in the middle for the head and tie something around the waist. A piece of garland or tinsel around the head for a halo…wings if you want them…and ta da…an angel.

Shepherds…light layers. These folks worked outside. Could be a bathrobe, the basic cloth with a slit for the head and usually some sort of headgear…how ‘bout a pillowcase secured with a headband or one of Dad’s old ties. Use a scarf.  Find a nice stick on a walk in the woods to serve as your staff.  

Magi…something regal. A deep color, shiny fabric, beads and gold. A cape…fur…a chance to get your bling on. Maybe you want something to hold that represents a gift of frankincense, gold or myrrh. 

These are just ideas. Don’t stress over the costumes! Make it simple! Do whatever is easiest. We also need some viewers, who are simply there to watch and have some fun with us.  You can even have your Zoom camera off if you prefer (though we’d LOVE to see you too)!

The important thing is not what you’re wearing…it is that you come–with your family if you have one–and take part in the service. It is bound to be meaningful for all of us and lots of fun too. Your children won’t remember …or care… what they wear, but they will remember being a part of it all as we tell this special story.

Looking forward to sharing in this fun UCM tradition with you,

~Liza Earle-Centers, Director of Lifespan Spiritual Exploration