This morning I was chatting with my friend Dee at a playgroup, and we were debating the pros and cons of pushing Santa on our kids now, only to come back later with a glib “Oops. We lied!” It’s hard to deceive unsuspecting children, and at the same time, we realize that Santa is a big part of the fun and magic of Christmas. We settled, sort of, on a: “The story goes that there was a Saint named Nicholas a long time ago…” We both believe strongly in keeping the focus of Christmas where it belongs, and for us, as Christians, it’s on the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s why I was so proud when Lola explained to her little friends at preschool that Christmas is Jesus’ birthday. Dwelling on the true meaning of Christmas, through story and song, all through this special month takes the focus off of the commercialism of Christmas, of Santa and Frosty and the reindeer and presents, and puts it back where it belongs. There are many ways to do this. I love to use a wooden Advent calendar that features a different object from a nativity scene each day, with a voice that explains the significance of it in the Christmas story. But my favorite way to celebrate Christmas is by displaying Nativity scenes wherever I can, from a gold-flecked crystal threesome of the holy family that I got as a gift, to a magical little scene in a snowglobe which I also received as a gift, to the two nativity scenes that my children have and love to play with. Today I will focus on decorative nativity scenes, and tomorrow, on kid-friendly ones! Catalogs and shops are full of beautiful sets, so there’s bound to be a scene to suit any decor. Here, a few of my favorite Nativities:
Medieval French Style Nativity, $579/11 piece set: Wisteria, one of my favorite catalogs ever, recreated a 16th century nativity from a French chapel. A beautiful old world look!
Another French Nativity, $186.75: Beautiful and serene, this polyresin set is detailed to look like wood, and is based on another French design!
Krinkles Nativity by Patience Brewster, $899/20 piece set: I am a little obsessed with Patience Brewster, but my old Spanish style house doesn’t lend itself to her whimsical designs, so I reserve them for the girls’ rooms. This colorful, charming scene will appeal to Krinkles lovers everywhere.
Nativity Tealight Holder, $24.99: If you don’t have a lot of room or a lot of money, you can still pay tribute to Christ’s birth with this charming candle holder.
Schwibbogen (Christmas Arches), $198: Traditional German Christmas arches are displayed on windowsills throughout Saxony at Christmastime, and they make simple, striking statements of your faith. Una Alla Volta offers two to choose from, the one above and this one, which features a little color, for $148.
Cartapesta Nativity, $1699: Worthy of a museum, this stunning set is made using a half-century old technique of applying plaster over paper mache. A real investment, this set is heirloom quality.
Santos Nativity Sets, $39-199: Modeled after a Central American nativity from the 18th century, these rustic pieces have a folksy charm and handmade beauty.
Origami Nativity Set, $145: Striking in its simplicity, this pristine white porcelain set suits the most modern decor.
Blue/White Nativity Set, $55.99: Fans of blue/white porcelain will love this delicate Delft-like set.
Excelsis Wall Nativity, $375: A breathtaking and unique way to display the nativity from artist Mark Roberts.
Holy Nativity Water Globe, $59: This magical, musical nativity globe will enthrall all ages. My daughters and their cousins played with a similar one for hours today at my mom’s house!
Nativity Cross, $18: An inventive, compact way to celebrate Christ’s birth.
Limoges Nativity Christmas Box, $298: Tiny and intricately detailed, this precious porcelain box features a lovely rendition of the Christmas story.
Renaissance Nativity, $125: An elegant nativity at a reasonable price, this detailed, old-world style set looks much more expensive than it is.
Lighted Outdoor Nativity, $379 for Holy Family: Many outdoor Christmas decorations are too chintzy for my taste, but this spectacular all-white lighted nativity is tasteful and beautiful.