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.

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

  1. Mariesa Robbins Oh my goodness that booze one is HILARIOUS!!! Sooooooo setting that up at my Christmas Party!!!!

  2. These are hilarious – some people need to get a sense of humor! I’m disappointed that the one picture had to be taken down because its creator didn’t get the humor in it. Lighten up, people – Christmas is supposed to be a happy time!

  3. Cy,
    These are a riot. Your amazing nativity collection provided the perfect break from work. Humourous,unbelievable. The ever amazing human animal and the things we come up with.
    Thanks!
    Ann

  4. Many of these are indeed horrible, and a lot are very funny (I also should not have been viewing them at work!)

    But I guess I don’t understand why the cat, dog, children, mouse, etc. ones are considered among the worst nativity sets. Too cutsie for sure, but aren’t these more like a representation of a Christmas Pageant rather than Nativity? Or would you put a Pageant in the same category as somehow inappropriate?

  5. OMG, too funny!!! (BTW, G stands for gosh, NOT God.) I am totally christian and I still agree that “my feeling is that the creative god who invented fun and laughter smiles with us at these.”

  6. The dogs are worse than the cats, but that’s not saying much – there are so many much worse than either! I see that no one has come up with what my husband & I had joked about: a lawn flamingo creche. You know, so you can leave it up all year long? A pale flamingo for Mary (of course, rolling eyes), a purple flamingo for the black king, a white flamingo for the angel – and an egg for Jesus, of course – one of those old L’Eggs (remember the pantyhose?). But we respected our neighbors too much to do this one – oh, & yeah, we’re Jewish…

  7. Francie; Loved these. You are so clever. Thanks for spreadidng some joy through laughter.
    Uncle Jack

  8. I love the butter nativity set-up. How would that go down, here in Australia? In about 5 minutes, I reckon, if today’s 33 degrees Celcius (91.4 F) is anything to go by!

  9. Hei,
    I just watched a You Tube Lego Christmas story. It was charmingly campy.
    Last week I saw a table-top statue of the lion and the lamb with Santa Claus hovering over them! I guess the commercial artist added a fourth head to the trinitarian dinosaur. Merry Christmas and Happy other holidays, too.

  10. I am a lifelong and devout Christian and I am laughing my BUTT off over these. The burrito comment about sent me over the edge. God created humor, after all. :)

    And I want the Veggie Tales nativity most of all. The carrot just DOES it for me. But also the peas. :D

  11. Here’s a “politicaly correct” nativity with: sheep plugging veganism, wise man in wheelchair, and an Atheism is Ok banner…yuk!
    http://forums.canadiancontent.net/hot-topics/69890-behold-politically-correct-nativity-scene.html

    Frog nativity with a camel made out of tons of frogs…ribbit!
    http://www.thelmagazine.com/newyork/weird-ass-nativity-scenes/Slideshow?oid=1468652&slide=6

    the ACLU nativity scene…give me a break
    http://amboytimes.typepad.com/the_amboy_times/2006/12/aclu_nativity_s.html
    and then there is the cloth squid nativity…really?

  12. i am gobsmacked. as a jewish girl of the hebrew persuasion, i have always been stymied by these nativity sets, and always thought, they should represent the religious part (which has become more and more commercial)…. and then i see these. hysterical.
    thanks for putting these all in one spot.

  13. That first Irish wise guy looks like he should be toting Lucky Charms…after all, they are “magi”-cally delicious!

  14. The “lawn ornament” of Jesus being flooged on his way to the cross is proof that people can’t even get their holidays right. This belongs with Easter which is when Jesus was crucified.

  15. Wow! Some of those are perhaps more suited to “anti-christ nativities” (“god”zilla one comes to mind ;-)

  16. I saw one the other day where each figure was a candle and someone had actually lit them. This would kind of be the opposite of Advent, wouldn’t it?

  17. You should see the various Star Wars nativity scenes. There are some with the Jedi as the wise men. Some with Jabba’s singers as the angels. And my favorite which has Padme and Darth Vader as Mary and Joseph and Luke and Leia both in the manger…all out of Legos!

  18. OMG! I respect of their own way or own style of how they have done their replications of nativity but let’s also respect that nativity should be the real thing. It should be replicating and showing the real Joseph, Mary, Baby Christ and trough. Guys, Nativity is not for fun. Let’s all remember that we are creating nativity because we want to value and cherish the birth of our Savior. So it should be for real.

  19. Thank you for posting the Veggie Tales one. I cringe every time I see it on CBD. Gag. But just when I thought it couldn’t get worse… MEAT? SPAM? WTH?

  20. I read an interview with VeggieTales co-creator Phil Vischer years ago in which he said they would never portray Jesus as a vegetable. Now that the company is out of his hands, perhaps he can’t do anything about it?

  21. This here 41-yr+ cantor/choirmember/liturgy geek loved ’em all!

    Hey, Mark, I think #7 is S’more-inspired, too–check out the base : )

    Gratias agimus tibi! (Thank you!)

  22. I kept waiting for the Peeps Nativity, but you don’t have one on this wonderful site! In order not to spoil the fun for you, I won’t refer you to one, I will only say that they exist…

  23. At this point in my 78years, I would suppose you could call me an agnostic with leanings towards atheism, however I found the newly created nativity “things” both amusing to a point, but disgusting at the same time. Tacky to say the least. How VERY, VERY SAD and disturbing at the same time, with all our technology, quick ways to this, that one of our greatest gifts, ”CREATIVITY’ is fast disappearing and in its place this is the new thinking on the block! Only a MIRACLE will bring it back where man can be truly creative and not have to copy what once made us stop, pleased our eye, made us wonder in awe, may that return along with a way of life that has disappeared VOID OF ALL THIS DAMNED TECHNOLOGY.

  24. OOOOOH!! I laughed SO hard when I saw these! Thank the good Lord, He blessed us with a sense of humour! Not sure which one was worse, the one with Spam, or bacon. But either way, I laughed til I cried when I saw them all. I’m a Christian, as well, and I’m pretty sure God doesn’t mind a good joke. In the craziness of this busy season, it’s refreshing to not take it all SO seriously!! Thank you for posting, and Merry Christmas.

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