27 worst nativity sets: the annual, growing list!

NOTE: this is the 2011 list. For the 2016 update, with 70 nativities, click here!

a few years back i posted a long series of bad nativity sets. last year i grouped them all into one post — 20 of them at that point — and it became my highest trafficked post of all time. but people sent me more and a stumbled onto a few myself. so… this year, the list has 27! merry christmas all, and enjoy or be horrified by this weird collection of nativity oddness.

the kitty cat nativity. makes me want to cough up a hairball.

the nativity kitchen timer:

the (peruvian) cowboy nativity. yee-ha!

yeah, the cat nativity is probably worse. but these dogs ain’t much better…

technically, not a nativity. but it’s a christmas lawn ornament, showing (can you believe it?) the flogging of jesus on the way to the cross. there’s some christmas cheer for your neighborhood!

also not technically a nativity; just a horribly cheesy christian kitschmas decoration: the jesus tree topper. dude, that robe is not working for you. and stop using that flat-iron on your hair.

back to actual nativity sets. this one is a craft kit, using marshmallows to make a nativity. yum.

not to be outdone by the marshmallow nativity craft kit, this s’mores nativity just might be the single worst nativity i’ve come across…

this isn’t a whole nativity set, but i think the other pieces are available. i didn’t have the strength to look. this mouse drummer boy is just about as confusing as a bit of kitschmas junk can get.

when searching for tasteless nativity sets online, it doesn’t take long for one to stumble onto multiple versions of bears…

this rubber duckie nativity has to be right up there in the “worst” section of cheesy nativity sets…

lotsa santa nativity sets and pieces out there, but this one is a bit disorienting. is the holy family IN santa’s bag? or does santa have an nice applique of the holy family on his bag of gifts? and, what can the letters in santa be re-arranged to spell?

if cats, dogs, and teddy bears weren’t enough, how ’bout penguins!?

sure. snowmen. shouldn’t be a surprise.

ah, the veggie nativity. i debated on this one, because i’ve always been a veggie fan. but the baby carrot pushed me over the edge into including it.

this nativity — well, i just don’t even know how to describe it. clowns? modern art? the baby jesus seriously looks like something out of a circus or a john waters movie.

oh, the animals. i suppose, while i think the dog nativity and cat nativity are somehow explainable as something people WAY too “into” those particular animals might display, this chicken nativity is just a bit beyond my comprehension as a purchasable — nay, displayable — holiday trinket.

you know those people who have those geese on their porch? yeah, them. and they put a cute little goosey costume on their porch-goose to mark every season? yeah, those people. this costume set is made for those people. or, to clarify, for those who actually have TWO of those geese already. sigh. i’m guessing the rubber ducky baby is “not supplied”.

what better expresses the spirit of the incarnation than owls? i found these at this cavalcade of nativities, where the comment was: whoooo is the son of god? whooooo?

yes, i give you, the naked troll doll nativity. eesh. feh.

the irish nativity, where the 3 irish wise guys have clover, gold and guinness:

the most viral nativity from last year’s holiday season… the meat nativity (yes, bacon and sausage):

and, why not the butter nativity:

the cupcake topper nativity. holy and yummy all at once!

the pig nativity. oink-vey: certainly not kosher…

the mary-and-josesph-as-kids nativity. this one is mildly disturbing, particularly in light of rampant infantalization of teenagers in our culture and the dropping age in puberty (though i’m sure that’s not what the creators of this had in mind).

and, finally, in keeping with our current cultural fascination with all things zombie, i give you the etsy craftiness of: the zombie nativity. really, just, no comment.

let me know if you come across more winners (i mean, losers!).

this just in… (#28!)

the nativity carved out of spam! (thanks, adam!)

more, thanks to the comment from “A” about the plethora of etsy nativity wonders:

#29. the shotgun shell nativity. what a blast (get it!?). perfect for your redneck christmas, i suppose.

#30. the peg doll nativity. other than collecting some larger figures and one smaller one, and telling me it’s a nativity, this one doesn’t exactly scream “manger”.

#31. the mice nativity. say goodbye to the cookies you left out for santa.

#32. the fondant nativity. maybe even tastier than the s’mores nativity? can something be tasteless and tasty at the same time?
ah, sadness — the owner of this pic didn’t see the fun in this, and has demanded i remove the photo and link. merry christmas!

#33. um, the official description is “folk nativity“. but i’m pretty sure that’s a small 7 eleven frozen burrito with a face on it, along with two new age tree fairies, or something.

the list keeps growing!
a day and a half after posting this list, it has had more than 25,000 visitors, and that number grows by the minute. so far, none of this traffic is coming from incoming links from big sites like neatorama (which did link last year) or boing boing. it’s all facebook viral goodness.

and, from a nice reader in the UK (thanks, mary!) who bothered to email this pic…
#34. the soggy jesus nativity. i’m sure there are plenty of nativities in a snow globe, were all three (or more) characters are IN the globe. but this freakish thing just has jesus in there, with mary and joe staring at their baby-in-a-fishbowl. too weird and hilarious.

something’s fishy about this one: #35, the mexican mermaid family nativity. i actually kind of dig this one, but maybe it’s just because the detail of the craft is so amazing. thanks to karen on flickr for allowing me to post this one.

i can’t stop!
so, now that this strange little post has been–as i write this–viewed by more than 55,000 people in 18 hours, i’m getting a flood of nativity suggestions. i’ve tried to draw the line (because this post is clearly all about drawing the line, right?), thinking i’ll only add nativities that are fun or odd or horrible and were originally intended as a nativity by the creators of their various parts. in other words, i’m not including the dozens of lego nativities, superhero nativities, star wars figurines nativities, barbie doll nativities, coke can nativities, alcohol bottle nativities, and others i’m receiving. however, alert reader “joan from the detroit ‘burbs” pointed me to a wad a websites with these kinds of nativities, and i just have to include two of them, because they both made me laugh out loud (proving that i cannot effectively draw the line). oh, and for my fellow christians who have left sour comments: my feeling is that the creative god who invented fun and laughter smiles with us at these.

#36, the godzilla nativity. horrible/funny/creative/sacrilegious.

and #37, what i can only call the ‘minimalist nativity’. props to some kindergarten art class for this one, or some very lazy community college art student.

check out bohemian rhapsody re-written as “bethlehemian rhapsody” (so totally fun!).

also check out this awesome take on the real christmas story, as if it played out on facebook, and this fantastic imagining of the nativity story played out on a a wide variety of social media.

610 thoughts on “27 worst nativity sets: the annual, growing list!”

  1. I have to thank my sons youth director for sharing this link via FB – I truly think God has a creative sense of humor.

  2. I don’t know if mine is (un)worthy, but a woman with a European accent was heard to say at a holiday party, “don’t you just love the baby cheeses?” From the ensuing misunderstanding was “born” groan, this nativity. Yes, the BVM and Joseph are wearing cheese cloth. If you send me an address, I’ll forward a picture for your collection.
    Regards,
    Ken

  3. Can anyone tell me where I can purchase that dog nativity set? I can’t seem to find it on the net and think it is hilarious. Thanks!

  4. Pingback: Really, Internet?
  5. I am a collector of nativity scenes and have more than my share in my house. Thankfully I did not see anything that I own on your site!! Hallelujah!
    That bacon and other food one was obscene.
    Thanks for your sense of humor.

  6. I have to say the butter one is really quite an amazing and beautiful piece. That appears to be hand-carved in great detail, and would require considerable skill to accomplish. Many, many hours must have gone into the design and carving of it.

    Your insulting comments about the Irish one is a bit over the top. That happens to be an Irish pot of gold, St. Patrick carrying a jar of incense (probably frankincense), not Guinness, and a third carrying a cask of what is almost certainly myrrh. By your standard, then every nativity set that adds a national flair is among the worst. You should spend some time in the Alsatian and German Christmas Marts, and see the many, many collections there.

    Perhaps we should paint over the Sistine Chapel painting and The Last Supper, for using European figures? Being of Irish heritage, I thought the Irish is quite cool. It would make a nice addition to a collection of nativities of the nations. Russian ones tend to look Russian. Italian ones look Italian, etc.

    Furthermore, the one you claim to be Santa, may in fact be a St. Nickolaus, or one of the many attempts to merge the two figures. I think you got bored ad added a few that really aren’t all that bad. The bacon and sausage one definitely deserves to be on the list.

    Lastly, one of them is a Veggie-Tales nativity (a cartoon) an is probably a useful educational tool for very young children who enjoy the veggie tales characters. Anything along those lines that stirs interest in children to learn about the Christmas story (even though it is definitely placed in the wrong season December instead of April-September) is a positive thing. IMNSHO

  7. Hi Tony, These are weird and inventive. I laughed all the way through them and wondered why people made them using animals, fish etc., but it wasn’t until I got to the Mermaid ones that I realised that because God actually made everything on earth, there was no slight intended or not, although the bacon and sausage one was a bit yucky. Doreen

  8. This is so very funny! And to be enjoyed all year long not just in December. Actually having distance between myself and Christmas makes it seem more acceptable to laugh at it. I wish there were more photos and they are not complete w/o your funny observations like the baby jesus burrito!

  9. I came across your blog while looking for off-season Christmas Nativity figurines on the Internet. Thanks for setting up this conversation threads about improper/abused nativity sets. I was very shocked about those bad nativity sets’ information and pictures you and your friends submitted & collected. I myself consider Nativity scene sets/figurines as sacred holy religious objects. When I buy new sets/figurines, I seek for ‘holy blessing’ from revered priest at my church. I’d light up candles and pray in front of nativity scene grotto/presipe at my home during Christmas time. Decent people will show respect to nativity scene sets and consider them ad holy. It is not toys or funny miniature models to be insulted. I cannot stand with least tolerance with those cats and dogs, etc. nativity sets, it is real nasty and disgusting!

  10. As far is to clay one goes it was probably a child so lighten up dude. Seriously! yeah a lot of these are beyond terrible like “zombies” not even funny, but you sound like a freak when you compare santa to satan, Santa Claus is to give children an IMAGINATION nothing more as long as they know the true meaning there is no harm in it. And if people think these awful sets are cool you (if truly a Christian) have no right to judge.

    Have a nice day

  11. Hello!

    We love your image of the nativity carved out of spam – most amusing! We’d like to feature this in a blog post and credit image/URL to you. Please get in touch with us: [email protected]

    With warm thanks,

    Sandy

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