Now that it’s officially December, I will soon unpack and set up my childhood nativity set, even if our holidays are largely secular nowadays. However after three kids who turned my nativity into a sort of dollhouse toy each year, it’s time for me to consider something new. Which is why I have been looking around the web for a beautiful and unique nativity set for families that won’t be easily destroyed, should the kids get a little handsy with the Wise Men. In other words, no $800 porcelain figurines painted with 14k gold leaf.

So I came up with seven nativity sets I really love, and I hope you will too.

Related: 15 of the coolest Advent calendars to make waiting for Christmas more fun.

Peg Doll Nativity Set

Unique nativity sets: Handmade wooden peg doll set from Wooly Llama on Etsy

Though CMP-favorite Wooly Llama is closed to new custom orders of their super adorable wooden peg dolls, you may still be able to grab one of their ready-to-ship peg doll nativity sets in their shop (shown above and at top of page) that comes in a storage box that also serves as a tiny manger. If it’s sold out before you place your order, just message the shop after the holidays to see if you can reserve one for next holiday. Based on how quickly the years have been going, I imagine it be here before you know it.

Wooden Play Nativity Set

Unique nativity sets: Arks and Animals makes this totally handmade wooden play nativity set

Created by Arks and Animals, the same Etsy artisans whose dragon pull toy we fell in love with a couple of years ago, this incredibly detailed handmade wooden nativity set by is actually meant to be used by kids to act out their own Christmas story. The durable organic hardwoods are made to stand up to a child’s play, and there are enough pieces to share with friends. When the holidays are done, the 25 pieces all fit neatly back into the wooden storage box until next year.


Simple Wooden Nativity Set Puzzle

Unique nativity sets: This one is actually a small wooden puzzle  |  Oh Look, It's a Rabbit on Etsy

If you’re a minimalist, you’ll love how gorgeous cherry wood and a few simple cuts become an elegantly simple wooden nativity puzzle set. Made by scroll saw artist Tom Zieg for the Etsy shop, Ohh Look It’s a Rabbit, this small set measures just a few inches at its widest spot, making it a nice stocking stuffer for a child.


Wooden Nativity Puzzle

Unique Nativity Sets: Handmade, hand-stained nativity play set from PuzzlesnToysnWood on Etsy

Such a nice-looking nativity set at a great price, PuzzlesnToysnWood’s wooden nativity puzzle can be displayed inside its puzzle tray or taken out and arranged across a larger space. I love that the artist uses non-toxic stains of different colors to make each of the pieces stand out from one another. If this particular design sells out, check the shop for other unique nativity set options that you may love just as much.


All is Bright Printable Nativity Set

Love this printable nativity set from Caravan Shoppe that can be mounted on blocks or just cut out like paper dolls

We love how our friends at Caravan Shoppe have created a printable nativity set for download. They look fantastic mounted on sanded wooden blocks as shown here, though the beauty of this set is that you can print them out and present them to your kids as paper dolls, mounted on popsicle sticks. Alternatively, glue them to pieces of flannel to create felt story boards that can be changed around as children tell the story. The nine figures come in two sizes so you can chose the ones that are best for your own kids.

Related 15 of the most gorgeous printable holiday crafts for kids and families.


Free Printable Nativity Set for Kids

Adorable, free printable nativity set for kids from Marloes de Vries

Dutch illustrator Marloes de Vries has created a free printable nativity set that’s such a cinch to print out and assemble, your kids will be able to put on their own nativity play before the day is done. The wide bases keep the figures from tipping over and if your child gets a little too enthusiastic with, say, Balthasar, just go back to the printer and resurrect another one. Ha.


Designer Nativity Set Inspired by Alexander Girard Alexander Girard Nativity Set that's entirely screenprinted by hand. This is a major keepsake.
Though most of us only have the budget to admire this incredible, US-made Alexander Girard nativity set set from afar, I couldn’t resist including such a gorgeously bright and detailed option in my roundup. Based on an illustration the renown designer and architect and entirely printed by hand on solid maple and replenishable basswood, this 13-piece nativity set available from House Industries is a true work of art — with the price tag to go along with it. While it’s safe for kids to handle, if this were in my home, it’d be on a high shelf. Behind glass. With a padlock.