How to Set Up Your Nativity Scene

setting up nativity scene at home

What Is a Nativity Scene?

A nativity scene is a special exhibition depicting the birth of Jesus. This is a Christian tradition which is done during the Christmas season in homes, shopping malls, churches and other places. All nativity scenes display figures representing Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus.

Animals like sheeps and donkey are often exhibited along with other biblical characters like the Magi and their camels, angels and shepherds. Model figures are often used to put on display various nativity scenes but some cultures recreate the nativity scene in which real people and animals participate in the exhibit and are called living nativity scenes.

Static nativity scenes using model figures and statues have been popular for centuries. These nativity scenes are either displayed indoors or outdoors and in some cases, both. These displays always consist of model figures of the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Other biblical characters like the Magi are included with later additions like shepherds and angels. Animals have also been prominent in nativity scenes. Donkeys and oxen have always been part of the nativity scenes with sheeps and camels as later additions. Almost all nativity scenes are depicted in a stable or manger while others are in caves.

Nativity scenes have not changed much ever since it was first introduced as a Christian tradition. Churches and other public places like shopping malls still decorate and exhibit nativity scenes during Christmas time.

Most home nativity scenes are displayed a few months leading up to Christmas Day and packed away a few days after while churches keep nativity scenes on display until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord.

Due to the environmental implications of plastic, many homes display eco-friendly nativity scenes made from sustainable materials like wood. Wooden nativity scenes have been around for centuries but they have remained popular because of their sustainability and timeless appeal.

How to Arrange Your Nativity Scene

First, you need to collect figurines for your nativity scene. We highly recommend going for wooden nativity scene figurines. They’re aesthetically better than those made from plastic. And they look classy and traditional.

Your nativity scene should include the following figurines:

  • Baby Jesus
  • Mary
  • Joseph
  • Barn Animals
  • 3 Wise Men
  • Angels
  • Shepherds

Once you have collected your nativity scene figurines the next thing to do is decide where to put them. You can either place them on top of a table or shelf or below your Christmas tree.

How you arrange your nativity scene all comes down to your personal preference. However, there are a few things to keep when setting up your nativity scene.

For instance, baby Jesus should be at the center of the nativity scene with Mary and Joseph on opposite sides. Group the shepherds together with barn animals on one side and the 3 wise men on the other. Place the star at the top of the manager, parallel to baby Jesus. You can add a few ornaments like miniature bay hales and barn straws.

If you have children, let them help you set your nativity scene. This is also a good opportunity to gather the entire family and read the nativity story from the Bible. Your children can place the figurines as you progress through the nativity story and ask them questions to make sure they understand the story.


Next Up: How to Choose the Best Nativity Set

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