We have $168,714 to go in our Fall Campaign. Every penny is used to strengthen the Church. See details!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Catholic Activity: Gifts for Jesus, the Advent Manger


  • empty, home-made manger
  • straws
  • Christ-Child doll/statue
  • Prep Time

  • N/A
  • Difficulty

  • Cost

  • $ $ $ $
  • For Ages

  • 3+
  • Activity Types

    Linked Activities

    • None


    • None

    Linked Recipes

    • None

    Linked Prayers

    • None



Placing straws in a manger for each good act is a wonderful Advent practice for small children. The author suggests a personal manger for each child, besides the larger family manger.


On the first Sunday of Advent each child in our family receives an empty manger. An oatmeal box covered with bright paper will do as well. At bedtime the children draw straws for each kind deed performed in honor of Baby Jesus as His birthday surprise. The straws are placed in the child's manger or box daily. It is amazing how much love a child can put into Advent when he is preparing for His Redeemer's coming in grace.

On Christmas each child finds an Infant in his manger, placed on a small table or on a chair beside his bed. Usually it is a tiny doll, beautifully dressed; but one of our children receives a Hummel Infant year after year. This custom, which in no way interferes with the larger manger in the living room, fills the child with a longing in Advent, and gives him an image of his Redeemer as his first happy glance mornings and his last impression at night during the entire Christmas season.

Activity Source: Family Advent Customs by Helen McLoughlin, The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1979

Fall Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Preparing for the Synod on the Family October 2
Making sense of the Pope's message to America-- including the Kim Davis meeting October 2
Coming of (old) age under Obamacare: a rant October 1
1971: The best of times, the worst of times October 1
How Christianity spreads around the globe September 30

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope issues new rules to streamline annulment process CWN - September 8
In Cuba, Pope emphasizes service to the vulnerable, praises thaw in US-Cuban relations CWN - September 21
Pope challenges America in speech to US Congress CWN - September 24