Tag Archives: bad nativities

the 62 Worst and Weirdest Nativities (the 2015 revised list!)

NOTE: this post is the 2015 list. for the 2017 list (now with 77!), click here.

coke can nativityYup, I’ve seen the Coke can nativity.

coke can camel nativityAnd I’ve seen the one with the pack of Camel cigs.

live dogs nativityAnd the live dogs posed as a nativity.

godzilla nativityAnd, yeah, the many glorious combinations of Barbies and Godzillas and just about everything else.

But they’re not on my list of the XX Worst and Weirdest Nativities. That’s because this list has a rule: I only include nativities that were made as nativities. (Otherwise this list would be three times longer!)

And before we get going with this year’s revised and updated list, I should acknowledge that I can’t really label all of these “worst” anymore. For starters, I’ve grown fond of some of them over time. Then, as the list has grown, I’ve stumbled on some that I think are absolutely brilliant in one way or another. There’s no question about it: some are horrible and tacky. Some are weird and freakish. Some are merely meh. And some, well, rock.

But you’ll have to be the judge, i suppose.

The Kitty Cat Nativity. Makes me want to cough up a hairball.

The Nativity Kitchen Timer (ding-ding! baby jesus is born!):

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 S’mores Nativity. Yum.

This isn’t a whole nativity set, but there are other pieces available. 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 appliqué 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 my kids loved Veggie Tales back in the day. 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” (not to mention zoologically impossible).

What better expresses the spirit of the incarnation than owls? I found these in an online 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 a few years ago… 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.

In keeping with our current cultural fascination with all things zombie, I give you the Etsy craftiness of: the Zombie Nativity. Full disclosure: after this collection blew up online a few years ago, my business partner, Adam McLane, bought me this one as a Christmas gift. It now sits proudly in my home. and my interactions with the creators were just lovely (they “get it”).

The Nativity Carved out of Spam! (Thanks, Adam!)

The Shotgun Shell Nativity. What a blast (get it!?). Perfect for your redneck Christmas, I suppose.

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”.

The Mice Nativity. Say goodbye to the cookies you left out for Santa.

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 (btw: I had interaction with the creators of this gem a few years ago, and they’re good people).

From a nice reader in the UK (thanks, Mary!) who bothered to email this pic…
The Soggy Jesus Nativity. I’m sure there are plenty of nativities in a snow globe, where 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.

Honestly, this one — the Mexican Mermaid Family Nativity — is some pretty beautiful art work, even if it is fairly strange. Thanks to Karen on flickr for allowing me to post this one.

And 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.

Yeah, this one probably crosses some line. Sent to me by the creators, I give you the Halloween/Christmas Mash-up Nativity.

More animals! This time, it’s Meerkats! Hakuna matata, Jesus.

Not to be left out of the animal kingdom nativities, the Frog Nativity:

Ok. If I had a line, I’ve probably crossed it by now. I hesitated on this one, but it was suggested SO many times in recent years, and it’s from a crafty little website called tamponcrafts.com (really). Yup: it’s the Tampon Nativity:

More animals! This time it’s Moose (meese? mooses?).

Robin, the creator of this Soap Nativity, sent it to me. I suppose the birth of Christ has something to do with getting us all squeaky clean.

I love this one: three wise-men cheers for the Color Nativity!

What’s more fun that a puzzle? I’ll tell you what: little puzzles made out of eraser stuff. And then–in case that wasn’t fun enough!–make ’em a Puzzle Eraser Nativity set! Obvious, right, since baby Jesus came to erase your sins!?
puzzle eraser nativity

Take, eat, this is the body of Christ MADE IN CHOCOLATE FOR YOU, nomnomnomnomnom.
chocolate nativity

A quick Google image search will turn up a wide variety of nativity-themed nesting dolls. But I got a little chuckle out of the idea of the sheep being inside baby J on this one (alert reader Alison pointed out that “maybe that’s the ‘Lamb of God’!”):
nesting dolls nativity

Really, how did this list of wild and weird and wonderful and horrible nativities get to this ripe old age and NOT have a Gingerbread Nativity?? Just like the nesting dolls, there are hundreds (homemade and not) in a quick google image search. Here’s one of ’em:
gingerbread nativity

Speaking of gingerbread… just in case you’re hoping to communicate “WE ARE SO CUTE YOU MUST LOVE US” to your neighbors, here’s a Gingerbread Yard Art Nativity (I’m sure the word “art” is used merely for reference in that description):
gingerbread yard art nativity

What can I say: the world thanks Etsy artist thepinkkoala for finally building a bridge of peace, ending the rancor brought on by the scopes monkey trial. Now Christians and Darwinists can hold hands whilst viewing this Monkey Nativity set:
monkey nativity

I’m salivating as I post this one, the Fondant Nativity, from Etsy wonder craft rosy. Jesus and dessert: Two of my favorite things!
fondant nativity

You saw the Snow Globe Nativity above with only baby Jesus in the globe, right? Well, a lovely and alert reader sent me a photo of this fantastic piece of awesomeness she saw at a thrift shop. Yup, this time the snow globe is only on mary’s head. It’s like a space helmet! HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM.
nativity - mary snowglobe

And here I have to confess: this nativity is amazing. I want. I already have one on the list called the “Minimalist Nativity,” so i’m going to be forced to call this the “Minimalist Balls Nativity.” Seriously, this bit-o-brilliance makes it pretty clear that the nativity is iconic (btw: here are step-by-step instructions for making this one):
nativity - minimalist balls

New to the list this year!

There are so many nativities that try to incorporate Santa in some way. But this Father Santa Nativity takes things to a whole ‘nother level.
Father Santa

Unvirtuous Abbey, on FB, was the source of this confused Frankenstein Nativity.
frankenstein nativity

This has to be one of the strangest and most disorienting nativities on the whole list. I call it the Frog Belly Nativity, and it leaves me with more questions than answers, to be sure. But, hey, if this connects with your soul, you can get your own at The Frog Store.
frog belly nativity

Holy cow, it’s a nativity. Confused? Me too. The Holy Cow Nativity is available as a Christmas ornament for your mediations on beef and spirituality.
holy cow nativity

Nativity Chess Set. Seems pretty obvi, right?
nativity chess set

Three truths about this Paper Mache Nativity:
1. I don’t remember where I got it (I think someone sent it to me; but I don’t have notes on it).
2. I’m not really sure what’s going on in it.
3. It scares me, just a little bit, in an Aliens-want-to-eat-your-soul sort of way.
paper machete

The Peanut Nativity reminds me of a lame craft from Christian summer camp. Sorry, peanuts. And sorry, good summer camps with your brilliant craftiness.
peanut nativity

Food-related nativities are fun, apparently. And the Radish Nativity has an interesting story. Sent to me by Christy, a missionary in southern Mexico, who writes: My husband and I work in Southern Mexico. Every December 23, people from all over flock to Oaxaca City, Mexico to the Noche de Rabanos (Radish Night) celebration. There are always some lovely nativities painstakingly carved out of giant red radishes. Sure. Radishes. Because they’re red, maybe?
radish nativity.4

My friend Josh snapped a pic of this Woodland Creatures Nativity at a Christmas store in NC. Oh, Deer! (Note: Santa in the background sorta ticked me off. Go away, Santa, back to your freaking chimney.)
woodland creatures nativity

How did I get all the way to 2015 without a Salt and Pepper Nativity in the list? Yup, it’s the reason for the seasoning.
salt and pepper

This is one of my new favorites: the Super Minimalist Nativity. Created by French artist Émilie Voirin, who says, “The holy scene that has been broadly reproduced is here recognizable by the names only, giving free rein to people’s imagination.”
super minimalist nativity

People have sent me dozens of nativity scenes cobbled together with independent superhero dolls. But this one was actually made as a nativity, with Baby J in a wee Superman costume! Finally, a real Superhero Nativity. (Haven’t found a source for this one yet.)

I don’t think the creators of this nativity intended to make something that looks like the Star Wars Jawa. So I’m calling this one the Unintentional Jawa Nativity.
unintentional jawa

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.

the weird experience of my weird nativities post

last post on the craziness of my “27 worst nativities” post. a little round up. in the month of december, that post got:
– 68 trackbacks
– 48,108 shares on facebook
– 69,000 likes on facebook
– 530 tweets
– 457,000 visits (just to that post)

holy cow — a half million visitors to one post.

facebook was the machine that spread the thing. but a handful of the others:

fark.com was first with the simple one-line question: Why not mix it up this Christmas with a shotgun shell Mother Mary, a penguin Joseph, and a s’more baby Jesus?

the multi-blogger religion site patheos had a handful of bloggers who provided a steady stream of incoming traffic (in descending order of traffic):
the anchoress, with the blog title “why does god love us?”
the crescat, “according to my nativity set, jesus was irish, so there…”
the deacon’s bench, who just called it “the world’s worst nativity sets”

london’s daily mail newspaper posted an entire article on their website with a bunch of the images.

It’s not so much baby Jesus in a manger as baby sausage on a bed of sauerkraut in one unorthodox – and fully edible – nativity scene.

In another, it’s a stretch to sense Mary and Joseph when faced with two white marshmallows – and as for a group of cupcakes posing as three kings, artistic imagination is key.

But these holiday scenes are all made in good cheer and, from the especially inappropriate gunshell Jesus to the oddly rustic clay ‘frozen burrito’ baby, all will surely give any Christmas celebrations a welcome talking point.
Celebrating the beginning of advent, blogger Mark Oestreicher has put together a fast-growing list of the worst nativity scenes ever.

Having last year created a list of 20 bad-taste holiday features, this year the list expanded to 27. Since being read by over 120,000 people, however, the list has swelled to 37 – with some hilarious, disturbing and downright off-subject inclusions.
The list, at WhyIsMarko.com, includes everything from china kittens to butter figures and even a Godzilla holy birth place.

then, i got contacted by a writer for the ‘weird news’ section of the huffington post. he interviewed me, and wrote this article, which appeared in the ‘weird news’ section and the ‘religion’ section, and was on the front page of huffpo for a while. an excerpt:

“I find the ones that depict the nativity with cats or dogs to be hideously laughable,” Oestreicher said. “Same with the kitchen timer that features Jesus, Mary and Joseph.”

But Oestreicher’s comments regarding the nuttier nativity scenes have made some people cross.

“I’ve had a few sour comments about how the blog post displeases God,” he admitted. “But I point out that this is the same God who created laughter.”

Though Oestreicher used to think that depicting the birth of Jesus with rubber duckies “sucked,” but had an epiphany that helped change his tune.

“These are peoples’ whimsical attempts to engage in a profound mystery,” he said.

He’s even found inspiration from some nativity scenes that helped him explain the concept of God and Jesus to a group of junior high school students.

“I told them, ‘Imagine a giant Lego set and you decide to go into the Lego scene,’ ” Oestreicher said. “That’s what God did when he sent his only son down to Earth.”

south florida’s sun-sentinal newspaper contacted me, and ran this piece first: Bizarre Nativity scenes: Dogs, butter, bacon, Godzilla. Christian blogger puts out tongue-in-cheek Yuletide list. i’m glad they included this:

Oestreicher, who lives in La Mesa, Calif., offers some droll comments but not the condemnation that some readers have reacted with. For them, he has a standard answer: “My feeling is that the creative God who invented fun and laughter smiles with us at these.”

of course, dozens of blogs linked in. but my favorite was when i noticed incoming traffic from author/humor-columnist dave barry’s blog. i have been a fan of dave barry’s writing since i was in high school, when i would wait eagerly for the supplement in the detroit news sunday edition that has his column in it. i’ve read dozens of his books. early in our marriage, jeannie would get frustrated with me when i would read dave barry books in bed, because i would wiggle the bed with my suppressed laughter. she would wake up and say, “you’re reading dave barry again, aren’t you?” so, yeah, i didn’t know that getting an incoming link to my blog from “my friend dave barry’s” blog was on my bucket list. but it sure felt like i checked it off when i saw the incoming traffic from dave (we’re hanging out later, yeah).

even my local la mesa patch did a little piece on it, with a bit more of a “he’s a local!” vibe to it.

as the traffic started to slowly back down to “above normal but not insane”, i got an email from a catholic tv show based in nyc, asking if they could interview me on air and show some of the nativities. they asked me to create my top 10, and the host and i went through that list (i was limited to the ones i had permission to use, but it’s still a good list).

right at the end of the month (just prior to new year’s eve), a surprising link from the national review (an otherwise political magazine and website) brought in another 7000 or so.

all in all, it was simply nuts. and — being fully honest — i’m glad it’s now in the past!

yet three more worst nativities

here’s the original set of 20.

and here are the 3 more i added.

and, now… another 3. it seems there is no end to our love of kitsch (most of these are thanks to helpful commenters or emails).

the cupcake topper nativity

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

and, finally, 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).

3 more of the worst nativities

with well over 20,000 people visiting last thursday’s 20 worst nativities post so far, i’ve received a handful of additional suggestions. here are three that seem worthy:

from john tobey, the irish nativity (hey, i’m going to ireland tomorrow!), where the 3 irish wise guys have clover, gold and guinness:

from about 100 people (wow!), after i’d already seen it on neatorama anyhow… the meat nativity (yes, bacon and sausage):

and, from one of a comment of a forum that linked to my original post, the butter nativity:

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

THIS JUST IN: yet another 3 worst nativities!

the worst christmas nativities

2010 update: i collected all of these into one post, here

a year or two ago i spent way too much time finding the worst collection of nativities i could find on the internet. seems they should be an annual tradition here, though not as a 20 post series, but, rather, all in one shot! so, click away and have fun (or be horrified, or both)…

the naked troll nativity
owl nativity
porch goose nativity
chicken nativity
clowns? ikea? who knows what these are nativity
veggie nativity
snowpeople nativity
penguin nativity
holy family in a santa bag nativity
rubber ducky nativity
teddy bear nativity
little drummer mouse nativity piece
marshmallow nativity
another marshmallow nativity
freaky jesus tree topper
whipping jesus lawn lights
dog nativity
cowboy nativity
kitchen timer nativity
cat nativity