Let’s face it: Some nativity sets are just begging to be played with. Their tiny animal figurines and family of little dolls is simply irresistible to little hands. And as anyone who’s ever tried to convince a preschooler that these are not actually toys knows, not touching the pieces is an uphill (and, often, losing) battle.
I can’t even count the number of shepherds and cows my sisters and I lost or shattered as kids. And let’s not even get into all the places we hid the baby Jesus (cough, hamster cage).
So maybe this year, instead of breaking out (heh) your ceramic Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, consider giving one of these unexpected nativity sets for kids a try. They’re all unbreakable and playful, which is a huge plus. And the polyresin hipster family that even your teens are sure to love is definitely one you have to see to believe.
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This awesome Nativity Puppet Show (also shown at top) proves that nativity sets can be a lot more interactive than a typical just for decor scene atop the mantel. Just print out the characters and cool puppet show backdrop and unleash your little thespians on the Christmas story. ($8, Caravan Shoppe)
I just love all the peg doll nativity sets I’m seeing on Etsy, including the one Christina included in her 2015 nativity round-up. But this year, the Peg Doll Nativity Set at Peg and Plum (above) landed at the top of my list for its attention to detail, cool design, and…those sheep! ($75, Peg and Plum)
This handmade Christmas in El Salvador nativity scene is sturdy enough to handle your kids’ most dramatic retellings of the story, and I love that it comes with information about the artisans who crafted the set. And since it’s from UNICEF, buying this product helps to provide nutritional supplements and vaccines for kids in underserved countries, so it’s a great purchase all around. The only bummer? It’s currently out of stock but we think it’s worth keeping an eye on, even if you have to wait until next year for this one. ($35.99, UNICEF Market)
We’re all big fans of Lia Griffith here at CMP, especially when she gives us a cool freebie like this Papercut Nativity Scene. All you need is some cardstock and a good pair of scissors. This one comes as a PDF (and did we mention it’s free?) so you can reprint it every time your kids come up with a different way to color in the scene.
Each figure in this Wood Blocks Nativity Set is hand-painted to perfection. It’s as gorgeous as it is durable, making it one of our favorite hands-on nativity set for the playroom, or sweet holiday decor for the nursery. ($75, Woodland Affair)
The details in this Hipster Nativity are cracking me up. From the stable solar panel to the 100% organic barnyard animals, and the Amazon gift boxes to the Snapchat selfie, this one really caught our attention. I’d consider this one for a teenager or a friend with a real good sense of humor (i.e., definitely NOT my devout Baptist grandmother) or use it as a sure-fire conversation starter for your next holiday party. ($129.99, Modern Nativity)