The "gifts" on stage are opened one by one to become the background scenery. The cardboard wrinkled with the wet paint, and considering all the time we put into the scenery, thin plywood and hinges may have been a better choice. After painting the scenes and taping the bright paper to the front flaps, we added artificial grasses to give more depth to the scenery.
Bethlehem stands on folded tables on the choir pews so that the star shines over the scenery and the town sits in the background.
This picture was taken during rehearsal. During the play, two of the angels opened the blue "gift" to show Bethlehem. A bright star hung on a line tied to each flap so that it rose over the town when the flaps were opened. The flaps were held in place by a large rock on each side. (See below.)
Mary and Joseph sit where the manger scene was to be opened. The manger was glued at the correct height to fold outward when the flaps were opened. The characters in the play said their parts, opened the "gifts", and took their places at the scenery.
The shepherds took their place to the left of the stage. Sheep were made of cardboard, covered with white fleece and cotton balls. They were placed behind the flaps and were brought out as part of the scenery when the ribbon was untied.
The back of the "gifts" were taped to large boxes full of heavy items to keep them from falling forward or backward as the scenes were opened.
The camels were made of plywood and stood on the right of the stage as part of the scenery for the wisemen.
The tree in the background is a Christmas wrapping paper tube on a paper towel holder with an artificial fern placed on top. A few large rocks were put on the bottom of the paper towel holder to keep the tree from falling over.
The final gift is the Gift of Love. A young couple carried the gift to the front center of the stage. The gift was opened and the cast bowed at the altar in prayer during the last song. The cross was also three dimensional and came forward when opened.
The scenery was simple, but had a big part in the presentation of our play. Instead of opening the play with the scenery in place, each section was opened one by one, as the "Gifts of Christmas" were presented.
The youth of our church were the characters and narrators, and performed many of the songs... and the audiance loved it!