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

Updated on December 1, 2015
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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 | Source

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 | Source

Nativity Scenes for the Whole Family

My son and his Fisher Price Nativity Scene set
My son and his Fisher Price Nativity Scene set | Source

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.

My Son and His Fisher Price Little People Nativity Set

Click thumbnail to view full-size
My son and the Fisher Price Little People Nativity set. There's supposed to be an angel on top... A close-up of the Fisher Price Little People Nativity set. The elephants, lion and bear from the Noah's Ark Little People collection decided to join...
My son and the Fisher Price Little People Nativity set. There's supposed to be an angel on top...
My son and the Fisher Price Little People Nativity set. There's supposed to be an angel on top... | Source
A close-up of the Fisher Price Little People Nativity set. The elephants, lion and bear from the Noah's Ark Little People collection decided to join...
A close-up of the Fisher Price Little People Nativity set. The elephants, lion and bear from the Noah's Ark Little People collection decided to join... | Source

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.

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


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