The basic props for a church or school Nativity play include a stable, a manger, bales of hay, a Star of Bethlehem, gifts from the Wise Men and staffs for the shepherds. Animal and Baby Jesus props may be necessary if actors are not filling these roles.
Costumes for a Christmas Nativity play can include fabric robes and headdresses for the characters of Joseph, Mary and the shepherds as well as white clothing for the angels with optional wings and halos. For animals such as sheep, cattle and the donkey, actors can wear hats with felt ears sewn on or animal masks. Although a backdrop is not necessary for the play, a large curtain of fabric may be used to enhance the illusion of the performance.
Volunteers needed for a Nativity play include costumers to collect materials, sew costumes and assign them to actors as well as set workers. Children or other actors are needed to play the parts of the animals, shepherds and other characters. If desired, a family with a newborn baby may take the parts of Mary, Joseph and Jesus.
Although many scripts for Nativity plays exist, a popular option is the classic Luke's Nativity, which uses the Biblical verses in Luke along with classic Christmas hymns and an organized progression of events for the actors to follow.