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Journey to Bethlehem Decorations

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The following is a series of articles on the Journey to Bethlehem Christmas Party event that I coordinated.

The week before the event I began staging all of the booths in my home. I took photos of them all set up so that I could text those to my helpers and they could see my vision. This also made it easy during the evening of set up, they knew what I wanted and I didn’t have to be right there with them.

Set up for this event was at least 12 hours.

I began Friday evening as soon as the building was clear and then all day Saturday until the event began that evening. I had a team of two ladies help me Friday evening {a BIG thanks to Robin and Heather}. I then went over the next morning for the fine details and to be at the church when the auxiliary teams brought in baskets and decor for the booths.

I had everything gathered and loaded up the day before to make it an easier task. The huge wood pieces for the set were brought over by a friend. It took many hands to put this together. Decorations are one of the most important parts so that it looks and feels as authentic as can be. Which makes it more fun too!

The following are some photos (I apologize that they are not that great, they were taken in the dark.) In hind-site I would have taken a good hour to get some professional looking photos and to preserve the memory. Many of the booths did not get photographed after they were filled with baskets and lanterns, which was a shame. It all turned out beautifully.

Make sure you check out my article on how I built the booths here {link coming soon}. My unique one of a kind solution where I built the frames to slide directly on the ends of each table really made everything so much simpler and the look was amazing.

I set up in the gym area as well as the over flow areas. The first thing I did to set the scene was buy plastic coverings for every wall so it seemed like one was in the gates of Bethlehem. I did this early before they were sold out. These were very simple to attach and I used a staple gun to do it. Outside in the foyer and down the hallway I began with plastic wrap that looked like stone and then I made out of solar lights “torches” and had them hung ever few feet down the dark hallway. The plastic coverings were purchased here: 4-Feet by 50-Feet, Rock Wall. I also purchased 4-Feet by 50-Feet, Night Sky to go above all of the rock walls.

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The torches were made from inexpensive Outdoor Solar Lights and Colored (Red, Orange, Yellow TISSUE PAPER to look like flames. They even had movement as people walked by as the tissue paper would move. {A big thanks to my friend Lisa and her family for taking over this “torch” project for me}. For a tutorial on how to make these solar light torches click here. {link coming soon}

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I taped the stone wall and then starry night to the over flow curtain {my building did not have a stage so I had to make one}. I built a frame out of 2×1’s and taped this Stable Scene Backdrop Banner to it.

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A friend had the wooden fencing that finished building for her and placed on either side. I simply made it come to life with back lights because the plastic will glow if you put spot lights behind.

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I borrowed the light up animals from a friend as well as the manger.

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I brought the little wooden chair from home as well as the lantern. This is where the play was performed as well as the musical numbers.

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I hung a huge star high above the set {purchased from IKEA}.

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The audience sat on the floor, they were told to bring their own quilts.

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I had an Inn of Bethlehem set up under my husbands canopy. I made a banner sign for it and hung lanterns on the posts as well as Christmas lights. Inside I had several long tables for the older families in the ward who could not sit on the floor.

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I also purchased a few palm trees to put up around the room and two scenes on either side of the overflow curtains that showed in the distance the city of Bethlehem.

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I made a road sign that showed which way to go to Bethlehem as well.

I had several booths set up and on either side so that there was a huge area in between for people to line up and buy their food and drinks. Behind the booths were long tables for extra food to be sat until it was used to fill the baskets.

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At the far end was a Toy Shop where the Young Men handed out Dreidel games and taught the kids how to play. This was a huge hit. During the eating time we had fun music playing like The dreidel song. I purchased small bags Muslin Bags 50 Count Packand gave every person who entered the gates into Bethlehem one muslin back with six Gold Coins – 400 Ct. to pay for their food at each booth. I took the same bag and made gifts of dreidel with these 20 Wooden Dreidels for all the primary kids to purchase with their tokens. I brought extra pillows for staging, lanterns, baskets, battery operated candles. Anything I could stage with so it would look fuller. I used twine and made banners on every booth. The toy shop banner is accented with little dreidel’s hanging off the twine.

Remember it is supposed to be loud and noisy, just like the city. Christ was born during every day circumstances so the juxtaposition of everything crazy in the market place mixed with the program starting and everyone calming down, gathering around the stage to listen is beautiful. It comes when no one is expecting it.

For more ideas to plan your Journey to Bethlehem Celebration see the following links:

Booth Construction

Gathering & Staging

Decor & Set up

Costumes: Easy Biblical Costumes for Children

The Program: Script and Inspiration

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