My family does a progressive dinner on Christmas Eve every year, and this year I was in charge of appetizers. I decided to just have cheese and crackers, but present it in a festive way — a Food Nativity Set.
I first laid out a couple sheets of wax paper and taped them together, since I didn’t have a large enough platter to put everything on and I wanted it to be flat. Then, I built the stable and worked the crackers around it. The people and animals were made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator.
The following is what I used to create each item in the food Nativity set:
- Baby Jesus: I made Baby Jesus out of a Lit’l Smoky wrapped in a slice of Kraft Singles American Cheese. The eyes were just drawn on with black frosting. I used a small dab of Cheese Wiz to hold it all together.
- Manger: I crafted the manger out of a pre-made cheese ball. I only used about an eighth of the ball, and molded it to hold Baby Jesus.
- Mary and Joseph: To make Mary and Joseph, I used string cheese as the body forms. Mary was cut down a bit so that she looked like she was kneeling. Then, I wrapped lunch meat around each of them to look like robes. I used tooth picks to hold the lunch meat on and to create the arms. Like with Baby Jesus, I drew on faces with black frosting. The robe held Mary up, but I just leaned Joseph against the stable to hold him up.
- Wise Men: The Wise Men were made the same way as Mary and Joseph, but I added a lot of lunch meat to their robes so that they would stand up on their own. My husband said they looked like they were wearing dresses, but I think it made them look wealthy. One of the wise men had two tooth pick arms facing forward that were holding half a lit’l smoky as a gift.
- Shepherds: The Shepherds were made just like Joseph, but they were holding a cracker stick as their staffs. I had to use toothpicks to hold them up. I basically created a tripod at the bottom of each one, which did the trick.
- Animals: The animals were made out of Lit’l Smokies and pretzel sticks. If I did this project again, I would probably wait to make the animals until right before the party because the pretzel stick legs got a bit soggy, so it was hard to keep them all standing up.
- Ground: The ground was made of crackers. I used a couple of different types, but mostly Ritz.
- Stable: The stable was made out of pretzel rods with cheese wiz as glue. The hardest part was actually getting the stable to stand up. That’s why there are support beams on the sides. There are also two support beams on the back that you cannot see from the photo. Originally I made sheets of pretzel rods and stuck them together at the end, but it actually works better if you add each pretzel rod individually to the table so that it is flat on the bottom for stability.
Off to the side of the food Nativity set, I laid rows of pepperoni, salami, and squares of cheddar and colby jack cheese. I thought that was what everyone would eat, but some of the Nativity people were eaten, too.
If you give this project a try, let me know how it goes by sharing a picture in the comments below.