I love nativity sets, but I’ve never really gone for the Jesus-as-a-Precious-Moments-cherub style. So I’ve rounded up 8 modern nativity sets that skip the uber-traditional but still deliver on all the festive Christmas vibes. If you’re looking for cool graphic design, a little humor, or just beautiful minimalism in your nativity set, consider this list your guiding star, ha.

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Related: 24 of the absolute coolest advent calendars for 2023

Modern wood nativity set from LovingWoodCom - made entirely from a single piece of wood, in your choice of woods and finishes

I’m loving the understated elegance of this modern wood nativity scene made entirely from a single piece of wood by Loving Wood Com. Wow. The aesthetic is so modern, even if the holy family feels rather traditional.


Diverse peg doll nativity set from Progressive Peg Dolls on Etsy

We’ve featured a peg version of the classic nativity every year, and this Waldorf style diverse peg doll nativity set from the aptly named Progressive Pegs Shop really caught our eyes this year. How charming are they? And so nice to see more accurate Middle Eastern skin tones represented, too.

Progressive Peg Doll nativity wooden animals set

For fun: Add in these adorable wooden baby nativity animals.The cutest!


Modern nativity sets: Terrarium Nativity Scene | Joanne's

If you like the idea of a peg doll nativity set but want to put your own spin on it (or let the kids add theirs), check out this clever diy terrarium nativity scene craft I found at Joann Crafts. You can paint the figurines, then get creative with setting the scene with supplies they stock; I’m thinking some cotton ball sheep might be in order.

Becky Kemp modern nativity peg doll set in the style of mid-century modern folk artists like Alexander Girard
The modern Vitra nativity scene by Alexander Girard at the very top is no longer available, but if you like that mid-century modern folk art style, with bold patterns and bright colors, check out this: A gorgeous modern peg doll nativity set from British artist Becky Kemp — who seems to love his style too.


Modern, minimalist nativity in wood from Baynes World Designs.

If you’re super minimalist, look at this lovely freestanding, handmade wooden nativity from Baynes World Designs on Etsy. This stained brown is so simple and lovely, but you can find other combos too, including a subtly blue-stain wooden dress for Mary. It’s child-friendly too, so don’t worry if this one is within reach of little hands that won’t be able to resist touching.

Modern wooden nativity ornament - at a really great price! from Baynes world designs

Couldn’t resist — It’s also available as a very affordable nativity Christmas ornament. Add that to our big list of gifts under or around $15.

Modern nativity sets: LEGO nativity set | My Lego Ideas

I love the occasional ironic nativity set, and I couldn’t resist this LEGO nativity set from Dublin-based My LEGO Ideas. Think of it as a way to preempt your kids — who will inevitably play with whatever nativity set you use anyway, amirite? While the shop is on a break, take a peek at this affordable and clever cool LEGO brick nativity set from ToysRElse. No minifies — just impressive brickwork!

zombie nativity set - for people with a very particular sense of humor!

We’re laughing so hard at this zombie nativity set by NerdTalk toys, which is definitely for people with a very very particular sense of humor. Still trying to make sense of the zombie angel though because, if angels are already in the afterlife…well. Maybe you can figure it out and let us know.