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Christmas Nativity Scenes: What is the Best Nativity Scene or Set for Your Home?

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Marissa is the writer of ThePracticalMommy and the blog Mommy Knows What's Best. She is a stay-at-home mom to four and was a teacher.

Nativity Scenes for Christmas

How to choose a Christmas Nativity Set or Scene for Your Home

How to choose a Christmas Nativity Set or Scene for Your Home

Christmas Nativity Scenes

Along with the Christmas season comes holiday decorating. While Christmas music is playing in the background, garland is hung on the banister and atop the doors with little red bows. Little handcrafted ornaments are strung about, each one a special piece. Sparkly snowflakes adorn the windows and a welcoming wreath is placed on the door. Finally, nativity scenes are carefully displayed, showing the peace and love for which we celebrate this holiday.

One of my favorite things to decorate with is a nativity scene, as you can tell, displaying the birth of the baby Jesus and the witnesses of that miraculous birth. It has been my favorite decoration piece since I was a child in my parent's home. On Christmas Eve, with Bing Crosby playing in the background, my siblings and I would take turns placing each delicate piece of my mother’s porcelain nativity scene, complete with a handmade wooden shelter. I even remember being at my grandmother's home and looking at her very delicate, hand-painted Nativity scene that was displayed in her dining room every year. It was so old but still so beautiful.

In my home for Christmas, I actually display more than one nativity scene, one from my mom, one from my husband’s mom, and my son’s Fisher Price Little People set. My sets are a Precious Moments collection and a resin set, both very special to me. All are displayed for Christmas around my home, along with my other holiday decorations.

Nativity Scene for Christmas

My resin Nativity scene

My resin Nativity scene

Nativity Scenes for the Whole Family

My son and his Fisher Price Nativity Scene set

My son and his Fisher Price Nativity Scene set

Precious Moments Nativity Set

Displaying Nativity Scenes : Things to Consider

Are you thinking of a nativity scene display for your home? There are several things to consider:

1.Space. Where are you going to display your nativity scene? Do you have a shelf, table top, or other flat surface on which to display your nativity scene? I display one of my nativity scenes on the top of my piano while the other is displayed on a glass table. Both are in visible spaces and are not hidden from the view of any visitors.

2.Basic or elaborate. Some nativity scenes may consist of Jesus, Mary and Joseph while others include the angel, Wise Men, shepherds, sheep, a cow, a donkey, camels, etc. Some nativity scenes might be basic in color while others are ornate. Some sets are meant to be presented as an actual depiction of Jesus’ birth while others come in nesting sets. Also, there are plastic cling sheets to display on a window or little handcrafted ornaments.

3.Price. How much are you going to spend for your nativity scene? Some of the really ornate decorative sets can sell for upwards of $500 while some of the simpler sets sell for much, much less, usually starting around $20-$30. If you cannot afford a large set, start off with a basic set and add more pieces every year.

4.Material. There are more than several options here: porcelain, resin, plastic, ceramic, glass, wood, cloth, etc. The material you choose will depend on where your scene will be displayed (indoors or outdoors), how much you can afford and how durable you'd like it to be.

5.Indoor or outdoor. Nativity scenes are not limited to the indoors. There are many options for an outdoor display. There are wooden displays, plastic displays, lighted displays or even the popular projector display. One year, I even placed one of my sets in front of a window so it could be seen indoors and outdoors.

6.Children and pets. This goes hand in hand with space. Do you have small children or pets like a dog or cat? You will want to be careful of the placement of the nativity scene, especially if it’s delicate. My Precious Moments nativity scene is placed out of the reach of my children and my dog so the pieces are not broken. The resin nativity scene is of sturdier nature, so I do not mind if my children handle the pieces or if my dog bumps the table and a few pieces fall over.

7. Ease of Cleaning. Will your scene be in an area that is easy to clean and access for cleaning? Since your nativity scene will be displayed for up to a month (sometimes longer) you'll want to display it in a place in your home where you can easy access it for a daily or weekly dusting.

8. Accessories. What will be around your nativity scene? Will you have a manger, hay, or lighting? Will you place something beneath the figurines, like a linen cloth? Adding little touches such as these can give your nativity scene a unique look within your home.

Nativity Scene Sets

After you choose the best Nativity Scene for your home, it’s time to integrate it into your Christmas décor. Displaying my sets has become part of the tradition in my home. After Thanksgiving, when I decorate for Christmas, I display my Nativity sets first and decorate around them. Usually I place little tea light candles (battery operated kind, not the real flame kind…) around the scenes to give them a pretty glow in the evening hours. You can also put a spotlight on them to light them up. When my mom and grandmother display their sets, they sometimes actually add some real hay (not recommended if you suffer from allergies). Any way you decide to display them will be just right for your home.

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Nativity scenes can be beautiful displays for the Christmas holiday season. They show the story of the birth of Jesus, the reason for the season. Have a Merry Christmas, everyone!


What Child is This?

Away in a Manger--Beautiful Song to Play When Displaying Your Nativity Scene



Marissa (author) from United States on December 08, 2014:

Audrey, thanks for sharing! :)

Audrey Howitt from California on December 02, 2014:

Timely post!!! Sending this around!!

RTalloni on December 02, 2014:

I treasure a snow globe/music box style nativity that was a gift, and have seen the Fisher Price child's set that is delightful help in directing little ones' focus from the materialism of the season.

Marissa (author) from United States on December 17, 2012:

kidscrafts, I don't remember having a set when I was young, but my kids do enjoy playing with the Fisher Price Nativity set.

I bet the sets you have from the other countries are beautiful! I would love to add to my collection, but I think I'll wait until the kids are older. :)

Thanks for reading and commenting!

kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on December 17, 2012:

Voted Up, Interesting and Beautiful!

I love the giraffe on top of the Nativity Scene...just too cute!

I didn't know that Fisher Price had a Nativity Scene. I suppose that it didn't exist when my kids where young! It's really nice and at least, they can play with it! Good idea!

Because I always had cats, I wrapped my first Nativity Scene into plastic (saran wrap) and don't dare unwrap it!

But in recent years while I travelled, I found a miniature Nativity Scene in the South of France made in a typical way for that area and I keep that one near my desk. And just recently, I accompanied my husband to Argentina for his work and I found a new Nativity Scene made in a typical way of that area. So I tthink I will place that one in my dining room where cats are not allowed!

My younger cat (one and half years old) loves the Christmas tree and he just stole one ornament a few days ago (I had to search for it for a while). I keep unbreakable ornaments in the bottom...and I have also ornaments especially for my cats..also in the bottom. My 16 and half years old...she doesn't care!

Marissa (author) from United States on December 08, 2012:

mizjo, what lovely nativities they must be! I'd love to have one from the Holy Land. Someday, perhaps!

Thanks for reading and commenting! :)

mizjo from New York City, NY on December 08, 2012:

Lovely childhood memories. I had one of olive wood carved in the Holy Land that was sold by a charity fundraiser from there. He was given a table at the side of the Church to sell from.

I also had one with tiny figures glued into a delicate blue glass gourd. It had a loop to hang from the tree. I loved that one best.

This is a very nice hub.

Marissa (author) from United States on December 04, 2012:

ComfortB, thank you very much! We have a few village scenes as well that we inherited from my husband's father, but the kids just adore the Little People Nativity set. My daughter has been playing with it since October now!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Comfort Babatola from Bonaire, GA, USA on December 03, 2012:

TPM, Your kids are so adorable! I totally love the Fisher Price Nativity Set, those are cute too. I used to just use the village scenes with the trains, houses etc. Now, my kids think they're too grown for all that.

A Very Merry Christmas to your family too.

Great hub. voted up and beautiful.

Marissa (author) from United States on December 22, 2011:

Kathleen, that Nativity scene certainly is a special one! It must be beautiful. I think that's really great that you collected Nativity scenes from all over the world. Have a hub on that yet? ;) Thanks so much for commenting, and Merry Christmas!

Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on December 22, 2011:

I collect nativities. I started when we were in the Army and living in different parts of the world. My favorite is one simply carved out of wood, made by a Philipine worker while living in Saudi Arabia. The practice of Christianity is against the law in that country, which is what makes having a nativity from there so special.

Marissa (author) from United States on December 22, 2011:

missolive, isn't the Fisher Price Nativity Scene a great set for kids? It's neat to watch my daughter play with it now along with my son. She really likes the song it plays ("Away in the Manger") and the star. :)

It would be a great gift for a new baby! I'm sure he or she will love it as he or she gets older. :)

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Marisa Hammond Olivares from Texas on December 21, 2011:

I absolutely love the Fisher Price Nativity Scene - adorable and perfect for the little ones. My son always goes through our village and likes to rearrange the trees. I think he has finally grown out of it. :)

We have a new baby scheduled to arrive this coming year (my niece is expecting) maybe I can gift the nativity for next year. :)

Marissa (author) from United States on November 02, 2011:

randomcreative, I could only imagine how curious little kitties would be...I definitely know my Weim could take out the entire set in one fell swoop! ;) Thanks for reading and commenting!

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on November 01, 2011:

Great topic for a hub! Pets were always a consideration with our nativity scenes growing up. Many kitties love to knock little figures right off the tables. :)

Marissa (author) from United States on November 01, 2011:

Movie Master, I'm glad you too share in the happy memories of Christmas! Thank you very much for reading and commenting. :)

Movie Master from United Kingdom on November 01, 2011:

Setting up the Nativity display is one of my fondest childhood memories of Christmas.

Great hub thank you for sharing.

Marissa (author) from United States on November 01, 2011:

ajaodegaard, don't you love memories like this? I hope my children have the same happy memories of our traditions of Christmas. :)

Thanks for reading and commenting!

ajaodegaard on November 01, 2011:

One of my fondest memories at Christmas time was my sisters and I setting up the nativity scene with my mom. Thanks for the article!

Marissa (author) from United States on November 01, 2011:

thebookmom, I love the idea of having individual sets and one in every room! It must be so nice to see them all around your house for the holidays. :)

Thanks for reading and commenting!

thebookmom from Nebraska on October 31, 2011:

Great hub! I love nativity scenes too. All our girls have one, all different and I have one for each room. They are by far our favorite decoration. Really well written and helpful.

Marissa (author) from United States on October 31, 2011:

blog8withJ, thanks for reading and the kind comment! :)

blog8withJ on October 31, 2011:

You always get this nice idea and share it to the world. Good for you and for everyone.

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