It’s nativity play season – have you made your own or spent a small fortune buying the best outfit?

Last week was my son’s nativity play…but even though it’s come and gone, every so often I get a little niggling thought: I was stunned when a my son’s classmate’s mum said that not only didn’t she remember where she ordered her son’s soldier outfit from, but that she’d thrown all the packaging away when she took it out and therefore couldn’t share the website with us three other soldier mums so that all the soldiers would look the same….

But it seems that she isnot on her own when it comes to making (or trying to) make her son take the spotlight in the Christmas nativity play. Ultra competitive parents are spending up to ?150 to make sure their child is the star of the annual nativity play, says a recent poll.

It seems that the tattered tea towels, tinsel or cheap ready to wear off the org outfits of the past are good enough. Instead, new designer clothes bought especially for the occasion are becoming the norm in church halls and school assemblies across the UK.

Virgin Marys are appearing in luxury pashmina shawls instead of old towels, and the Angels of the Lord are swapping cheap tinsel for expensive glittering imitation jewellery.

So great is the trend that Debenhams has now asked its country wide team of personal shoppers to persuade customers to see sense.

?The amount of money that some parents want to spend on their child?s Nativity Play appearance would enable Baby Jesus to leave the stable and check into a five star hotel,” says Ed Watson of Debenhams.

? It?s silly and we?re doing all that we can to persuade competitive parents to change their minds it is the season of good will after all.

?Their sons and daughters will still look wonderful wearing a pair of pyjamas and a sheet rather than the latest dress or coat straight from the high fashion cat walk.?

Debenhams first noticed the trait – nicknamed ?Manger Chic? two weeks ago – the start of nativity play rehearsals. The company?s teams of in store personal shoppers were suddenly deluged for advice on how to create the ultimate Nativity Play makeover. While the majority of parents simply wanted advice on how to use cheap, readily available materials for the greatest effect, others have been insistent that only the best will do.

Brand new dresses instead of old cast offs, new striped dressing gowns, bangles, faux fur wraps, jewelled turbans, brand new Egyptian cotton pillow cases and sheets are just some of the items in demand. And ironically, parents whose children are playing minor roles such as Donkey or Sheep are prepared to spend DOUBLE the amount spent on the lead characters such as Virgin Mary and Joseph.

?They feel they have to compensate for their child?s minor role by putting on a much greater display of Manger Chic to win attention,” says Ed.

?The demand for places at good schools seems to be to blame. Parents have told our personal shopping teams that they feel they have to teach their children to excel at everything from a very young age.?

?They have to possess an exemplary CV – including, it seems, a star role in the school Nativity Play – if they want to gain a place at a coveted primary or secondary school.

?It may be a reaction to the recession. Parents are more anxious about the future now than ever before. MOthers may be panicking because they are expected to make their children?s costume for the play but don?t know how, and so have decided to throw money at the problem.?

Among the most popular items bought by competitive parents are:

  • Brand new ivory white bridesmaid dresses costing ?40 for the role of ?Angel.?
  • New Artic Fur throws costing almost ?60 for the role of ? Sheep?
  • New grey fleeced duffle coat with hood, costing ?14. When ears are added it makes the perfect ?Donkey? costume.
  • Blue Velvet dress costing ?21 for the Virgin Mary.
  • Baker stripe Velour dressing gown costing ?25 for Shepherds
  • Glamour jewelled turban costing ?8 for Wise Man.

Well, in the end,us three soldier mums found identical soldier outfits for our boys, but the mum I was talking about before…well she ordered a really short soldier outfir for her son, who then looked a bit strange with black tracksuit bottoms covering his bit.

If you’re going for the tradition of making your own, here’s a video on making a shepherd’s outfit… sorry if your little one is the Virgin Mary…

How to Make a Shepherd Costume for Toddlers — powered by

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