27 worst nativity sets: the annual, growing list!

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 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.

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

  1. In the godzilla nativity, I cant figure out which one is supposed to be Joseph and which one is Mary!!!
    On my way to work, there is a nativity scene in a garden. It is sure is tacky but the best part is that it proudly stands in there ALL YEAR LONG.
    anyway, thanks for the great laugh :D

  2. Just the other day I saw a Peanuts Nativity when I was at a local Sears store. Of course it had Woodstock as the baby Jesus.

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  4. To J “Knotty” Willman & Bill:

    Are you two even remotely aware of Woodland Critter Christmas? It’s horribly sacrilegious, but if you get a chance to watch that episode of Southpark (season 8) you’ll see that there DEFINITELY was a Southpark nativity – just not quite in the traditional fashion. Santa is AWESOME in that episode! (You will want to watch the Imaginationland trilogy in season 11 to follow up.)

    A most Merry Christmas to all, and thank you so much for the giggles with my morning coffee!

  5. i would LOVE to show #36 to my youngest son, but being a huge fan of Godzilla, i’m afraid he would like it enough as to try and replicate it!

  6. The sausage thing was hamming it up too much. At least the Irish got it right, serve the Guinness mate.

  7. Wow, what a collection of BAD!!!! It is a tossup between several as to which I think is THE WORSE. Maybe the sausage/bacon one or the spam one.

  8. I like your selection…but the one of the Peruvian cowboy nativity….most “lower class’ Peruvians wear these and they are definitely not cowboys.

  9. As Jews, my husband and I think this is the funniest “Conservative, Committed (to an institution, maybe?) CHRISTIAN ” depiction of their hallowed Nativity scene(S) What a scream……God will surely have them all roasting in hell (the sausages will be yummy, likewise ther marshmallows, if not overdone) for their sacreligious nativity displays….keep ’em coming, funniest thing we’ve enjoyed all season…..take that Michell Bachman, Sarah Palin and Sharon Engle……you biotches outta be outraged by now, or are you too stupid to get it? We vote for “STUPID”…..HAPPY HOLIDAZE

  10. It’s so nice to see the right rear Wise Man in #1 (Kitty Nativity) proving his wisdom by wearing a bicycle helmet.

  11. oh my, guilty as charged. I have one of eskimos on an animal skin with walrusus rather than sheep. I suppose you want to add it to the list?

  12. I have a collection of over 200 nativities. In all of those there are only two duplicate sets – both were gifts from other people. Amazing diversity out there. I have one carved into a pistachio shell. There there is the candle snuffer set. And the Brazilian marble set. And the one my sons always called “he Scary Nativity” which is made of seed pods from South American jungles. Gotta love it.

  13. Cathy,

    With that many nativities, are you able to display them? Do you have a web site with photos?

  14. We were so inspired by your site we have made the Boozy Nativity – a whole Nativity made out of booze bottles.

  15. Oh the meat nativity, for sure! Who could have thought of draping bacon over little sausage people, in a big aluminum pan, to create the scene of the birth of Christ. But I loved the spam nativity. Hey wait, maybe I’m just hungry! Keep posting the odd ones, because you know someone really liked it enought to put it on their mantle for Christmas. Yes, as you said, I believe that our Lord loves the laughter. I laughed several times at these pictures, often not really knowing why…

  16. My son & I laughed out loud! Hilarious. The meat one! :) (Is that sauerkraut or mashed potatoes at the base???) But… the Godzilla one is the best — loved the three-headed creature – the 3 wise men all-in-one! Hahahaha! The longer your list, the weirder they get! Keep on posting!

  17. Secretly, I think the MerJoseph is totally hot. (No wonder I’m still single.)
    I know that is TOTALLY inappropriate, but aren’t you at least glad I’m finally on youtube? I mean, myspace? Oh wait – I mean FACEBOOK!!
    You know who this is!!! ;-) xo

  18. Oh, snap. I thought this site was created by one of my friends. I’m so sorry! Please forgive me and disregard my post! All meant in fun, but for someone else! Sorry! Sorry sorry!

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  20. Ten years ago I worked for Lifeway, (Baptist Book Stores), when we first recieved the Veggie Take Nativity we decided not to sell them in stores. They are available in Christian retail stores today. Guess the carrot won.

  21. Ahh, very fun gander at an odd_ball collection of ghastly kitchmas goofiness. Makes the recesses of my primitive communal human brain cringe knowing someone, somewhere actually bought and displayed these bizarre little uglies. Thanks for sharing! Glad I’m not a Christian I’d hate to see Buddha put through these reincarnations
    , ha!

  22. I take some offense at the author’s list of worst nativities. I have several traditional nativitiy sets, I have one that is made of terra cotta from Haiti, one from Mexico, and I must confess, I have two cat nativities. My wife and I had no children, so our kittiies were our kids. They are both tastfully done and I enjoy them. Who says the image of Christ can’t be found in the face of a feline?

  23. Thanks for the chuckle. Most of the pics left me speechless… Will think about these when I put up my own nativity scene…

  24. Personally, I thought they were clever and creative. Besides, if you don’t put the birth in about August, and throw out the fact that only Catholic tradition not scripture tells you most ‘information’ about the 3 kinds… you have it all wrong anyway…

  25. It appears I should not read this while at work. I burst into fits of hysterical laughter. Especially at your burrito with a face comment.

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