A few months ago I decided that this year I wanted my children to have a nativity that was artistic and beautiful, but also durable enough to be touched and played with. I looked around online and found many lovely nativity sets, but they were all upwards of $200-$300! Around the same time I started experimenting with making peg dolls for Zane’s nature table. I thought to myself, wouldn’t these peg dolls make an interesting nativity? One thing I don’t have is tons of cash, but I do have some free time (occasionally) and I love to make things, so I gave it a shot. I didn’t use any patterns; I just created their faces and clothes as I worked on each one. I’m so happy with the finished product, and I hope my children enjoy looking at it and playing with it for years to come. Right now we just have out the shepherds, Mary, Joseph, and the animals because, of course, baby Jesus has not been born yet. The wise men will come on Epiphany (January 6).

[Just a note: I did not make the wooden animals; the peg doll bodies came from ArtDexi.]

nativity 1
peg doll nativity collage
nativity 2
nativity 3
nativity 4
nativity 5
nativity 6
nativity 7

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Kelli Ann Wilson

Kelli lives in rural New Hampshire with her husband Damian and their two children. She works as a writer, and in her free time enjoys reading, gardening, taking pictures, walking in the woods, and celebrating the seasons of nature and the feasts, festivals, and holy days of the Christian year.

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  1. December 10, 2014 / 4:30 am

    This is great!!!! Is that Damian or Joseph? Just kidding. It is fantastic! Love it.

  2. December 10, 2014 / 12:38 pm

    Jessica, the resemblance is uncanny, isn’t it? 🙂

  3. December 10, 2014 / 1:56 pm

    I really want to make something like this too! Did you buy the peg people somewhere?

  4. December 10, 2014 / 1:58 pm

    Oh oops I just saw the link on your blog! 🙂 Which size did you use? And my, those acorn people are so freaking cute (on that site).

  5. December 10, 2014 / 2:01 pm

    Yes, I bought mine here:, but you can get similar ones at Michaels (a couple of dollars for a two-pack). The felt also came from Michaels (I think 33 cents/sheet). I thought about making patterns to share, so maybe if people are interested I could do that.

  6. December 10, 2014 / 2:04 pm

    I used the large people for everyone except baby Jesus who came from a set I don’t see listed anymore. You could convo the seller and ask her. She’s seen my nativity project snd will know what you’re talking about.

  7. December 10, 2014 / 2:04 pm

    I’m totally interested! (Hope you don’t feel I’m stealing your idea). I love the idea of a nativity the kids can play with. I have a few nativity scenes around the house, from different cultures (Peru, Germany, etc). Not to play with of course!

  8. December 10, 2014 / 2:05 pm

    Oh, the small shepherd also came from the other set.

  9. December 10, 2014 / 2:06 pm

    I’m sure I’m not the first to think of it 🙂 It’s so hard to find nativities that are pretty but also durable AND affordable!

  10. December 10, 2014 / 9:19 pm

    The peg doll’s bodies came pre-painted and coated with beeswax, which means they’ll probably last longer. I painted their faces and hair with regular ‘ol craft paint. I recently made St. Nicholas peg dolls for the kids and I just used craft paint on the bodies, which worked fine, too.

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