Friday, November 29, 2013

The Birthday Boy

I believe that grandparents are chosen by God to be part of a team that brings desire for heaven to our little ones. Whenever they see us pray, or do a kind deed, or offer a gesture of forgiveness, our grandchildren are motivated to do the same. In each of these acts, a priceless lifetime gift is delivered to them.

"The Birthday Boy" invites conversation about the childhood of Jesus. He, too, was born to parents who joyfully anticipated his arrival. He played with toys and learned to read and write. He had a birthday and loving grandparents. Yet we, his brothers and sisters, recognize him as God's only begotten son, born to us because the father we share so loved the world.

When I was in grade school, Franciscan sisters taught us to nestle a flaxen strand inside the bed of the holy infant every time we did a good deed. Each of the cribs I make for my six grandchildren will be accompanied by a little bag of straw. I will encourage them to do the same thing I did more than half a century ago. On Christmas morning, the "Birthday Boy" will lay down his sweet head on pillows of love made soft by the innocence of childhood.

Make a crib from 8 "Popsicle" sticks. Glue 2 sets of crossed sticks for head and foot pieces. Lay horizontal sticks as shown and glue to complete.

Add an optional twig to decorate with paper leaves and birds. Glue to crib as shown, top right corner.

Fill crib with excelsior, straw or similar material.

Make a pattern for Baby Jesus by cutting a 2.5" x 5" paper rectangle. Round corners on one 2.5" side for the head.

Trace pattern, centered, on a folded 7" square piece of unbleached muslin. Sew along traced line, leaving open at bottom. Trim fabric to 1/4" all around sewn line. Turn to right side.

Stuff body firmly so it is 3.5" long. Press firmly with hot iron to flatten it. Hand sew opening closed and trim excess fabric.

Cut a 1" x 36" strip of blue fabric. Cotton, flannel, or any lightweight material will do. Begin wrapping baby at an angle at neck. Crisscross fabric until bottom is reached, then hold in place with a few hand stitches.

Use a fine point permanent marker, such as Micron Pigma 005, to draw the eyes. Use pink craft paint and a fine point brush to add cheeks. Hair is a scrap of jute string attached with a hand stitch at center top of head. Glue an optional button to baby's chest for children over three years old. A heart shaped one is a good choice.

Cut a 3" round paper halo by hand or with a craft punch. Lay baby in crib on top of halo.

If using the attached twig, cut paper birds and leaves and glue on.......
Sing "Glory to the newborn king!"

This original design, like all blog content, is intended for personal use only. Copyright 2013. All rights reserved. Thank you!


  1. What a sweet idea and what a wonderful way to inspire children to do good deeds! Knowing most children as the bed of straw starts to grow they will want it to grow even faster - and then more good deeds.

    Interesting - you don't really hear Jesus' grandparents mentioned much...

  2. What an awesome idea. It's a perfect holiday craft for the family. Thanks for sharing the idea.

    Heidi’s Wanderings

  3. That is such a neat idea. I think I might try that with my little girl.

  4. This one is so sweet! Both the post and the craft...

  5. This is a very creative way to share Christ's story with little ones. Very cute, too! Nice to meet ya!

  6. I love this idea! We always do one large manger for the family, but I love the idea of trying to fill up your own! Thanks so much. Pinned.

  7. This is so sweet...I want to make one with my family! :)

  8. This is a lovely gift and beautiful sentiments and intentions. I know your grandchildren will grow in their faith because of the efforts you're making for them.

  9. This is such a beautiful tradition! I can't wait to share it with my grands- I completely agree that we are on their team to model love, kindness, and forgiveness. The Birthday Boy is a sweet, tangible, hands-on way to grasp those concepts. Once again, I am inspired by you- many thanks! :)

  10. This is a lovely idea for sharing the story! Such a cute craft!

  11. I love your 'Birthday Boy' and I'm looking forward to making that a Christmas project for my girls.
    I would love to have you to link up at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop:

    I hope you can make it!
    Kathy Shea Mormino

    The Chicken Chick

  12. What a cute and inspiring idea. And your birthday boy is so stinkin' cute! Thanks for sharing a great grandma idea with us.

  13. Awesome crafts. Popsicle sticks never cease to amaze me with all the things that are possible with them. I love your little baby Jesus, he just turned out darling. Beautiful way to put chosen by God to be part of a team that brings desire for heaven. <3 Thanks as always for linking up your wonderful creations with us at Inspiration in Progress.

  14. What a great tradition to pass down to the grandkids. I will have to tell my sister to look at this post. Thank you for sharing this on our Four Seasons Blog Hop. Oh I love the toy Cat. I laughed when he started purring when I rubbed his belly.

  15. Hi,
    I am following you from Bowdabra. What an excellent idea! I will plan to make time for this. Thank you. Would you share this post at Creative Saturdays?

    Janis Cox Author of Tadeo Turtle

  16. The craft is wonderful but the story behind it is even more important. This is a wonderful reminder of what the real spirit of Christmas is all about and how we should act the other eleven months of the year. Thank you, Joyce.

  17. this is beautiful. i love it. we have an advent workshop at church each december (which is past now) and always look for meaningful crafts. this is perfect! pinning!

  18. You were featured on All Things Christmas! We hope that you will come back and link up again! Check it out at!

  19. This is so cute. Thanks so much for sharing with Adorned From Above’s Link Party. Have a great week.
    Debi and Charly @ Adorned From Above

  20. This is such a great idea. My mother-in-law collects nativities and I know that she would really appreciate this. Thanks for sharing on the weekend re-Treat link party! Hope to see you again Thurs at 7PM EST.

    Britni @ Play. Party. Pin.

  21. you know something J? you light shines so brightly!
    i love the birthday boy. so very much!