Minimalist Christmas Nativity Scenes Are A Thing That Exist Now

by Julie Scagell
Oliver Fabel/Etsy

You can, apparently, make anything a nativity scene

If you’ve found yourself reconsidering what’s important and what’s not, you are not alone. There are a lot of people who’ve Marie Kondo’ed their way through the year, keeping only things that, “spark joy” and getting rid of everything else. The minimalist trend isn’t a new one and now, it seems, it’s reached a pinnacle in a very noticeable, very traditional Christmas symbol — the nativity scene.

“Last night I discovered “minimalist nativity sets” and I am WEEPING,” Twitter user Kirby Jones shared alongside photos of several, um, unique nativity scenes. Apparently, some people have had enough with an actual Jesus, Mary, Joseph, wise men, shepherds, and all those animals and have opted instead for symbols and amorphous shapes that sort-of display the holy family??

Her tweet quickly went viral and people were quick to jump in and share options that lend themselves to the “less is more” way of thinking when it comes to objects that represent the birth of baby Jesus. Think colorful blocks, balls, stained glass pieces, and even blocks with names on them like Mary, Donkey, and Sheep. It turns out these minimalist nativity sets can be found all over the interweb.

This Etsy shop sells a Modern Wood Nativity Set for $77 in either a wood stain or painted off-white. “This nativity set includes 11 pieces,” the description reads. “Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, three wisemen, two shepherds, and three animals,” but it’s anyone’s guess which is which.

Etsy/Brooklyn Swenson

If you need a little more clarity in terms of the characters in your nativity scene but are over them needing actual faces, this “purist” version was created by someone who “is of the opinion that we might not need such *iconographic ballast* anymore,” and made “his own crib version of simple wooden pieces with printed descriptions on it.” Here’s another set with labels for only $35.79.


If wood isn’t your thang but you’re still looking for an abstract way to celebrate Jesus, Etsy shop owner SzkloGlass is selling a minimalist nativity scene for $225 made of blown glass.


Listen, there’s no reason a person can’t deviate from your grandma’s elaborate ceramic nativity scene that took up an entire dining room table. Christmas decor is, after all, whatever you make it. Obviously, some of us have a more, well, creative sense of humor about it than others and Twitter chimed in to share the equally random nativity sets they made with nonsensical items around their house.

The good thing is no one can tell you how to spend your money and what brings joy to one may not bring joy to another. To each their own and all that.