If you are planning to put on a Christmas play, telling the Christmas nativity story in a Christmas pageant or nativity play, one of the biggest challenges you will face is finding a way to dress the characters in biblical costumes.
In earlier times, most stay at home moms would be happy to help out with their dressmaking skills, sewing machines and free time. These days, the economics of dressmaking at home have changed. The cost of imported and mass produced clothing, as well as the ravages of brand promotions on the expectations of children, have greatly reduced home dressmaking as a craft. Many homes today lack the home crafts skills and sewing equipment that was commonplace a couple of decades ago.
Another factor has been the the free time available for home craft activity, with many moms now going out to work or having other priorities for their time.
Fortunately a market for biblical costumes has filled the gap, and it is now possible to purchase ready made theatrical costumes representing the various characters in the nativity play story for a very reasonable price.
There may need to be some costume adjustments for players of varying sizes, but most church or community groups putting on a Christmas pageant are able to find the few key people with the necessary skills that they need for this role. Costume adjustments require much less work than making costumes from scratch.
The main characters for which you will need biblical costumes are Mary, Joseph, some shepherds, a few angels and the Three Wise Men. If your story goes into more detail, you will need an innkeeper costume, and perhaps a range of Roman soldier costumes, and perhaps more if your story extends beyond the classic nativity scene. If your cast is large, either to encourage participation of to assemble a choir on stage, you may need to add a range of biblical costumes that simply reflect the style of clothing of the era.
Costs can be reduced by using relatively simple gowns but adding accessories, such as shepherds’ crooks, angels’ halos and wings, beards and wigs to re-create a biblical appearance.