We created this set for a Christmas series I wrote called Unexpected Presence which is available for you to purchase right now. In this series, kids will learn about the unexpected visits and the good news that led up to Jesus’ birth. It’s a fun and unique way to tell the familiar Christmas story to kids of all ages. The cost for this set design was around $50, but could be done for cheaper if you choose to forgo the lighted presents. My inspiration for this set design and series was presents, obviously! Who doesn’t love presents, especially when they light up your stage? For this series, we focused primarily on the main stage area, but you could definitely add more presents to bring this set design out into the rest of your environments.

You will have to excuse my pictures for this set design. I seem to have forgotten to take pictures when it wasn’t during a service time for this series. Christmas time, am I right? The picture above allows you to see the majority of the set design. My main vision and obsession for this set was to make light up presents. You have probably seen them at the store, but they are pretty small and cost $50 for a set of 3. That just wasn’t in the budget so I set out on the internet searching for a way to DIY my own light up presents. I found this awesome tutorial, and basically followed it.

Can I be honest for a moment? This project was a bit of a failed it moment for me. I chose to use hot glue instead of the wood glue and nails that are suggested in the tutorial because I thought I could shortcut the process. I would have been wrong. The presents were fragile at best and basically falling apart the whole month. Two of them ended up getting completely destroyed because a kid fell on top of them!

Anyways, if you follow the tutorial and don’t try to use hot glue I believe you will be successful! I bought the squared sticks in 36 inch lengths at Hobby Lobby and cut them down to 12 and 18 inch lengths. I bought the mesh wrapping and ribbon at At Home, but have seen similar wrapping and ribbon at Walmart. I used red and white Christmas lights to light the boxes. The presents with the red lights did show up a little more in pictures. I promise they were all lit. I had plans to make six-eight of the lit presents, but due to our glue debacle we only ended up with two larger presents and two smaller presents. That’s ok because we made up for it by wrapping some large boxes with red and blue wrapping paper and added some festive red ribbon to the front of the boxes.

The picture above is from our final week of the series after we lost two of the light up presents. May they rest in peace. You can see that we also had a couple more of the large wrapped presents on the sides of the stage to fill it out more. If I had had more time/energy I would have added a lot more presents to the stage. If you are feeling ambitious, head over to my Pinterest board for the series and check out even more ideas to add presents to your set design. You could make whimsical stacks of presents, a present pyramid, or even a present arch over your entry way. Have fun with it, but just remember DON’T USE HOT GLUE… at least not for this project!

If you loved this set design, make sure you check out the Unexpected Presence Curriculum Series.