As a child, one of my favorite toys was, strangely enough, my mother's nativity scene. Once a year, it made its appearance, and I would make up all sorts of stories, like how the wise men got lost in the mountains, or how there was a freak storm and all the animals and little people would have to cram into the barn (it was a tight fit). Our nativity set was very traditional, all classical robes and adoring looks, but if you're looking for something a bit more modern (or a bit more unusual), look no further than this roundup. Shown above, clockwise from top left:
- These designs remind me of Russian iconography; printing them on wood is a modern twist. Alexander Girard nativity set, $800.00 from House Industries.
- This cut-steel nativity by Valerie Atkinson stores completely flat. $266.00 for the 24K gold version; other colors from $98.00 (and a paper version is only $8.00!).
- Hand-knitted meerkat nativity. Yes, meerkats. $74.00 from Nifty Knits on Etsy. Wise men, shepherds, and meerkat angel also available, naturally.
- Inuit Jesus, Joseph and Mary, accompanied by arctic wildlife. What could be cuter? Igloo nativity, $18.00 from Ten Thousand Villages.
- The baby Jesus has a slightly cheeky new look in this porcelain nativity by Alessi. $100.00 from A plus R Store. (Wise men and sheep are also available, but alas, no shepherds.)
- Matryoshka doll nativity, with a wee three kings. $12.09 from Amazon.
- A small, sweet representation of the holy family, made in Peru. Holiday Warmth nativity, $5.00 from Ten Thousand Villages.
(Images: as credited above)