A Real Mom Adapts Truth in the Tinsel For Little Kids

This is a guest post by my friend, Lindsey. We found each other via blogs and connected over Children’s Ministry and Truth in the Tinsel. You know I want Truth in the Tinsel to be easy and empowering. Not hard and overwhelming. Lindsey shares today about how she’s adapted  Truth in the Tinsel for the very littlest kids…

using Truth in the Tinsel with the littlest of kiddos // truthinthetinsel.com

When I first spotted Amanda’s amazing resource, Truth in Tinsel, I was eager to try it. Even though my daughter was only 2 at the time, I wanted to begin to help her understand the Christmas story. My son was only one, but often wanted to be “part of the experience”, so I tried my best to adapt Amanda’s brilliant suggestions for my kids tiny hands and short attention spans. If you’re in the same boat, read on to gather up some ideas for your own family (not every day is listed). It’s never too early to share the good news of Christmas in a hands-on way!

As for the Scripture, I generally found a matching story from a Children’s Bible such as the Read and Share Bible, The Jesus Storybook Bible, or the Preschooler’s Bible. If I couldn’t find an exact match up, we simply read through the Christmas story in general.

For the coordinating Scripture, discussion questions and more, pick up your own copy of Truth in Tinsel. There’s still time to make some wonderful Christmas memories with your kids!

Day 1: Candle Ornament (Light of the World)

For this ornament, we still used the candle template, but substituted construction paper for tissue paper. It was much easier for the kids to handle, though the light didn’t shine through quite as nicely. Another idea is to just use the candle in the front and a solid black circle as the background. Kids could easily cover the back and not have to worry about pieces falling through all the little holes.

Coordinating Coloring Pages At:

Coordinating Book: The Light of the World: The Life of Jesus for Children

Day 2: Crown Ornament

This simple crown ornament is perfect for almost any age. At our day care Christmas party, we had kids aged 18 months all the way to 2nd grade participating, and everyone loved it. We did have the youngest kids use glitter instead of jewels.

Truth in Tinsel

Coordinating Coloring Pages:

Day 4: Angel Ornament

For this super fun ornament, we simply substituted construction paper for the suggested wrapping paper to make it more sturdy.


Coordinating Coloring Pages:

Day 5 & Day 6: Mary & Elizabeth

Since Mary and Elizabeth were both included on the day six template, we just combined these projects and skipped making a separate Mary. One day five we painted and constructed the ladies, and then on day six, we role played using our new characters (I put them on Popsicle sticks for easy handling). It was so fun hearing the kids retell the story with the puppets. I love the idea of the pop-dot. What a good idea!

Mary and Elizabeth

Day 7: Mary’s Song

For these CD ornaments, we used stickers to decorate the CD’s. Kids loved it and it’s terrific fine motor practice. Of course, we had Christmas songs playing as we worked. 🙂

Truth in Tinsel

Day 8: Jesus is like the Rising Sun

For this project, we simply painted a paper plate yellow like the sun. Use finger paints if you’re brave! If you look closely, you can see the Bible reference across the bottom. I also wrote “Jesus is like the Rising Sun” across the top after I took this picture. If I were to do it again, I would write the Scripture and title more to the inside and then cut triangles along the outside to make the plate look more a shining sun. This project is a little abstract young kids, but we did talk about how Jesus was the light of the world (again) and read through the book The Light of the World . If you’re using the Jesus Storybook Bible, pages 184 and 190 are great for this lesson.


Day 9: Joseph

For this one, we skipped trying to make a Joseph figure and used some Nativity “build-a-scene” stickers I had picked up from Oriental Trading recently. As can be expected, the stickers were pretty poor quality and my 18 month old kept ripping all the people to shreds before they made it to the paper. As a result, his Nativity scene looks a bit like a massacre!

Nativity Sticker Scene

There are also a ton of printable Nativity characters you can use for this too (to make a puppet like Mary and Elizabeth). Check My Little House, Making Friends, and Prepared Not Scared.

Day 10: Joseph’s Pillow

I appreciate the fact that making Joseph’s pillow is a no-sew project! However, even the pipe cleaner method seemed to be a bit too taxing for our crew. I had some scrap fabric in the craft drawer, so I had each kid pick out their material and then we cut it to about double the size of a pillow. I hot glued two edges (one was sealed by the fold) and then had the kids stuff cotton balls inside. Once the pillow was filled, I hot glued the remaining edge. Then we played out the scene from the Bible (again and again!). We also made a matching blanket to complete the scene. (We used a stick puppet from the printables I listed in Day 9)

Joseph's Pillow

Every time we finished, my 2 year old exclaimed, “Again! Let’s do it again!”. So again we would go! About 4-5 times into it though, Joseph started singing a different tune. Instead of getting up and listening to the angel — he would start saying “Go away, angel. I’m very sleepy.” Oops. That’s not how the story goes!

Day 11: Jesus Name Collage

For this day, we made a “Name Train” to help the kids recognize their own name as well as Jesus’ name. We talked about how everyone’s name is special and has a meaning. I told the kids why we picked their names as well as what Jesus’ name meant.

Name Train

Day 12: Mary, Joseph and the Census

The theme of this day is the census, so instead of making the jar ornament, we lined all our Little People figures and wooden peg people up and counted them as they were “on their way to Bethlehem”. If you want to get really official about it, use an abacus to do your counting!

Truth in Tinsel

Coordinating Coloring Pages:

Day 14: Stable Ornament

For this one, we made a stable out of craft sticks still, but glued it onto a piece of construction paper instead of making an ornament.

Craft Stick Christmas Manger

Coordinating Coloring Pages:

Day 16: Sleeping Jesus in Blanket

Today, we skipped the craft project and did some dramatic play with baby dolls instead. We practiced wrapping up our dolls and rocking them as Mary would have wrapped and rocked Jesus.

Coordinating Coloring Pages:

Day 17: Sheep Ornament

Nothing screams sheep like a heaping pile of cotton balls. For this, I had the kids glue cotton balls to a small paper plate and then I added little legs and a head when they were done.

Cotton Ball Sheep

Day 19: Shepherds

More dramatic play fun for this day. Instead of making shepherds, we acted out what it would be like to be “keeping watch over the flocks at night”. I pretended I was the angel and the kids fell down when I “appeared”. I told them not to be afraid and then encouraged them to run to another room to find the baby Jesus, wrapped up in swaddling clothes. The kids loved it!

Day 20: Star Ornament

For this one, I found a fun folding star trick to do with the kids. I would fold the paper and get it ready, and all they would have to do is make one straight line cut. We would unfold it to find a lovely star! You can find the full directions for the fold and cut star here.

Fold and Cut Star


Day 22: Wise Men

Tomorrow’s lesson focuses on the gifts the wise men brought, so for today, we got out the child-friendly nativity set and acted out the wise men’s journey to see the baby.

Day 24: Birthday Cake

Today, we made a birthday cake in anticipation for Jesus’ birthday tomorrow. It’s standard chocolate, and I’m thinking of letting the kids eat it for breakfast to demonstrate just what a wonderful day Christmas is!

Happy Birthday Jesus!

What About You?

Have have you made the Truth in Tinsel experience your own? I’d love to hear about it!


Lindsey Whitney is a mom of two, home day care provider, Children’s Ministry director and blogger over at Growing Kids Ministry. Growing Kids Ministry is a blog designed to help parents, teachers, and Children’s Ministry workers who want to help the kids they love grow in their faith. Lindsey loves books, coffee, springtime, and a really loud thunderstorm. You can connect with her via twitter or on facebook.


  1. I’ve modified several things as well. For Day 1, I used clear contact paper sticky side up, placed the candle outline on it, and then had the kids stick the tissue paper on. Much easier than gluing!

  2. I am having a hard time getting through the scripture part with my preschooler. The first 3 days of reading, he didn’t really understand everything I was reading to him, seemed like such big “words” for a 4 year old. I do have a few children’s bibles. How do I find the story in those to match the verses we are reading for that day’s project? I also had to stop the craft part and we only do the ornaments. I do like the idea of having a coloring page to go along with it cause my fast 4 year old has the ornament done before I even finish reading the scripture. I have the Jesus Storybook bible and My first hands on bible. Would either of them have the stories I need to read for each day?

    • You’ll have to just look thru each Bible. The Jesus Storybook BIble only has 3 stories focused on Jesus’ birth. The Zechariah story is hard to find in kids’ books!


  3. How very helpful! I’m definitely going to use some of these ideas for my almost-3-year-old. Last year I just had him color the printable ornaments sometimes while Sissy did the “big girl” ones.

    What I have always done for day 1 is cut out one black template, I give the kids a piece of contact paper to put tissue paper on, then put the candle on top, then another piece of contact paper and cut around it.

    For day 2 we painted and then used stickers to decorate. So Jesus has one lovely Lightning McQueen crown and another Hello Kitty and pink sparkles. I think He would love them.

    I usually skim the Scriptures and read the parts pertaining to the big idea for the day. Even my 5-year-old has a hard time letting the Isaiah Scriptures sink in at all.

  4. I’ve modified them also. I love that you use tissue paper in day 1. . . we’ve been doing that since the beginning with contact paper because I love the effect it gives with the lights on the Christmas tree! THanks for sharing!

  5. It’s funny. I’m on the opposite side of modifying! With a full day of kindergarten, then homework and an early bedtime, we just don’t have time for crafts every night. I know we will enjoy doing some crafts on the weekend when we do have time, and during the last week before Christmas when she doesn’t have school. For now, I am glad for a good suggestion of how to read through the Christmas story daily. I printed the key word/phrase and the Scripture on paper links and made a chain. We remove one each day and read and discuss the passage.

  6. Any advice for a child’s birthday that is also on Christmas. How do you honor and focus on Christs birth but not dimish the gift of your child. Our child we adopted, and we want to really celebrate her as well on her birthday. Sometimes but not always children can struggle with self worth when they think of thier birthparent(s) who “give them up” /make an adoption plan. We always want her to know that God sees her worth and celebrated the day she was born.

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