STAR OF WONDER: AN EPIPHANY STORY - Extending the Christmas Season


The crèche

If you have a crèche, don't get out the figures of the Three Kings until Christmas. Beginning on Christmas Eve, light a tall candle near the crèche to represent the star, and set out the three kings way across the room, or even in another room entirely. (You can use battery-operated flameless candles for safety if you prefer; they are available at most discount stores and craft stores as well as online.) Each day, have the children take turns moving the kings closer to the crèche, so that they actually arrive on Epiphany.
on the loose in boston

Stories along the way

You could encourage the children to make up stories as they move the kings a little closer day by day, imagining what trials or joys might have been part of that day's travels for the weary men. (If you don't have a crèche, you might consider making a simple one with clothespin figures and paper costumes.)

Puppet play

As a variation on the storytelling, you could make simple puppets and have the children put on puppet shows about the travels of the Three Kings. If you include Herod, the Holy Family, and the angels who warn the Three Kings to return a different way, you could have quite a lively cast of characters. The simplest puppets might be old socks with painted faces and cut out paper crowns, halos, and hair, but judge the interests and abilities of your children before deciding how plain or elaborate to make the puppets.

on the loose in boston

Also see:
  • Instructions for making Nativity hand puppets (At Angie Asplund's This & That crafts blog)
  • A pattern for Nativity finger puppets (At
  • Suggestions for putting on a Nativity puppet play (At Practical Pages)
  • Game

    For a family game, you could have the children play "Journey of the Magi" by taping a star to the wall, blindfolding them one by one, spinning them gently, then seeing who ends up closest to the star (hence the Holy Family). The child who comes closest to reaching the star could then be the first to lead the star caroling (or the second, if you want an adult to begin).

    Decorating for the meal

    For additional crafts, you can have each child make a star shaped name card to put at his or her place at the table for the Festal Meal, or you could have them make ornaments for next year's tree. (If you have kept the Christmas greens until Epiphany, also take time during the day to put away the tree and other ornaments; if the children want to display their new decorations, you could make them into a mobile by suspending them on different lengths of thread from a coat hanger.)

    star of wonder


    In Star of Wonder, Jesse pressed his hand into fresh snow to make a star shape. Instead of making star-shaped name cards, you might want to consider buying a plain white paper tablecloth (sold in most supermarkets and discount stores) and have the children decorate it with finger-painted handprints in a variety of colors.

    Apple stars

    The children can also make star prints made from cut apples. To make apple star prints, fold paper towels and put them in foil pie pans; soak the paper towels with tempera paint; cut an apple in half crosswise to reveal its star-shaped core; press the cut apple to the paper towel and then to the tablecloth. Tape the tablecloth to the table—or the floor—to keep it in place while the children work. If you do this at the table itself, each child could make a star print or a handprint right in the place where he or she will sit for the meal.

    For more detailed directions, visit the apple star stamping page at

    Marking the door

    Another Epiphany activity is to decorate your front door with the initials of the three kings sandwiched between the numbers of the new year, for example 20 + C + M + B + 13 for 2013. The initials of the magi—Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar—also represent the motto "Christus mansionem benedicat"—or, "May Christ bless this house." If marking the door doesn't work for you, children can write on the sidewalk or street out front.

    After the children finish decorating the door, you can say the words, "May Christ bless this house," or you could do a more formal house blessing.

    Marking the door

    For additional ideas to help celebrate Epiphany, visit

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