NOTE: this post is the 2011 list. for the 2017 list (now with 77!), 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 (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.
617 thoughts on “27 worst nativity sets: the annual, growing list!”
Glad to help up your click count! Great post.
As an atheist, I find these to be not much less absurd than the traditional scenes of nativity. That sentiment is probably what motivated the creators of some of these non-traditional pieces. Having said that, its refreshing to read comments from Christians who can find humor in something that many would be threatened by and hold up as false examples of persecution. We will never agree. However, as a gesture of good will, I guess I can say that I hope – since it is something you believe in – that you all have a merry Christmas.
I have a ceramic Indian Nativity scene that I picked up at a rummage sale years ago. I can send you the pic if you would like to add it to your collection here.
Gnomes Nativity http://s7.orientaltrading.com/is/image/OrientalTrading/VIEWER_IMAGE_400/gnome-nativity-set~95_6349
I’s like to purchase that Irish Nativity set but can’t find it anywhere. Any suggestions??? Thanks and Happy New Year!
I have a nativity made out of corn husks that I scored for one dollar at a garage sale.
I like the Irish Nativity. Where can I buy one?
Sorry – I have no idea!
Please tell me where you found the dog nativity set!
What a menagerie, evrything but the kitchen sink!!
Does anybody know where I can get the Irish Nativity Set??? Thanks.
You made my day! (I have refrigerator magnets forming a nativity, a shower curtain with the nativity on it, all sorts of plastic shine in the dark ones, I saw one made out of tampons….)
Cool! Thx! http://whyismarko.com/27-worst-nativity-sets-the-annual-growing-list/comment-page-10/
I have the cat nativity and really want the dog one and no, I don’t think they are tacky. I think they are hilarious.
I would Love to buy the Irish Nativity. I don’t see it on Ebay or Amason. Does anybody know where I can purchase it? Thanks.