A slice of three-layer cake with a chocolate layer, a red layer and a green layer sits on a plate. A child with a fork can be seen in the blurred background.
This Christmas activity for kids teaches children the reason for the season — and creates a delicious treat!

Christmas Activity: Make a “Happy Birthday, Jesus” Cake

Little ones never forget the memories made when families take on fun activities together. As they laugh with you, learn from you and ask questions, they also have a great opportunity to form their faith and develop a deeper relationship with Jesus.

That’s why I treasure the Advent and Christmas seasons. They provide some of the best occasions for teaching our children about our Catholic faith.

When my kids were growing up, I always appreciated any tool my parish could offer that would help me communicate the Gospel in an easy-to-understand way — and the activity I want to share today does exactly that. Some of our own staff members have shared it with their children, and it’s been a big hit every time! It involves creating a “Happy Birthday, Jesus” cake, but there is much more to it than you might think. Every color and symbol incorporated into this “Happy Birthday, Jesus” cake has a significant meaning and gives you a chance to simply explain why Christ came to us as a baby.

I hope you enjoy this special Christmas activity. It’s memorable, meaningful — and tastes delicious too!

A round white cake, the top decorated with red hearts, a yellow star and a candle, sits on a table.
Every color and symbol on the cake is significant and helps tell the story of Christ’s love.

Getting Started: How to Make a Birthday Cake for Jesus

To make this cake, you’ll need three round layers:

  • A chocolate layer for the bottom.
  • A red layer (strawberry or red velvet) for the middle.
  • A green layer (white cake with green food coloring) for the top. If you prefer not to use dyes, several recipes are available online for using spinach and other vegetables to make natural food coloring.

You can make it easy and use a boxed mix for the cakes or any recipes you love.

Once the cakes are fully cooled, stack and cover them with white frosting. Draw red hearts in a circle around the top edges of the cake. In the very center, use yellow frosting to draw the star of Bethlehem.

Once finished, place a large red candle in the center of the star.

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A man hands a shoebox-size gift to a smiling girl while other people stand around them.
CEO Jim Cavnar gives a Box of Joy® to a student in the Dominican Republic. You can give memorable gifts to children who would otherwise go without or provide essentials such as food, clean water and more.

Explaining the Gospel to Children

After your cake is ready, use its colors and symbols to easily explain the Christmas story and how it fits into God’s plan of redemption for the entire world. 

  • The shape of the cake is round to signify the world that Jesus came to save (John 3:16).
  • The white frosting signifies the perfection, righteousness and purity of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21).
  • The border of red hearts represents Christians around the world who are followers of Jesus (Mark 16:15-16).
  • The yellow star represents the star of Bethlehem, which announced the first coming of Christ. All people should know about the grace and mercy of God (Galatians 3:28).
  • The red candle in the center represents Jesus, who brought light into a dark world (John 8:12).
  • When you cut into the cake, you can see the three layers and their colors. The chocolate bottom layer represents each person’s sin, the reason Jesus came to Earth (Romans 3:23).
  • The red center layer symbolizes the blood Jesus shed for our sins on the cross (Ephesians 1:7).
  • The green top layer represents our new life in Christ once we have been covered in his blood (1 John 5:12; John 6:35).

READ NEXT: Christmas Activity: Make a Collection Box to Bless Lives

Next Steps: Putting Faith Into Action for Christmas

Whether you’re a parent, a Catholic teacher or a catechist, we sincerely hope you enjoy this activity and the others featured on our blog. We also encourage you to help your children or students take the next step by putting their faith into action!

Gift-giving is a significant part of the Christmas season; it symbolizes the greatest present the world has ever received — Jesus Christ himself! Our Lord displayed sacrificial generosity by leaving his perfect home in heaven to live among us on Earth. In the same way, we are called to follow his example of love by giving generously to help others.

Cross Catholic Outreach offers many opportunities to share that generous love with some of the people who are most in need around the world. In our Christmas Catalog, for example, you can select from a variety of life-transforming gifts that will bless the lives of struggling children and families. Please consider giving as a family or collecting funds to provide food, clean water or another special gift of your choosing.

God bless you as you lead young hearts — the next generation of the Catholic Church — in faith, love and meaningful service to the poor!

Bless Lives This Christmas


Proceeds from this campaign will be used to cover any expenditures incurred through June 30, 2024, the close of our ministry’s fiscal year. In the event that more funds are raised than needed to fully fund the project, the excess funds, if any, will be used to meet the most urgent needs of the ministry.