Best Nativity Set – Reviews & Buying Guide
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Best Nativity Set – Reviews & Buying Guide (November 2019)

Updated: November 1, 2019

Willow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity Set

After 43 hours spent researching the best nativity sets, we think Willow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity Set is the best for most people.

This choice is based on several criteria: set, figurine height, material, color, handpainted, stable, holy family, three wise men, angel, shepherd, sheep, donkey, other animals, set weight, and set dimension, among other things.

 ProductPriceOverall RatingQualityDurabilityAppearanceMaintenanceValue for Moneysetfigurine heightmaterialcolorhandpaintedstableholy familythree wise menangelshepherdsheepdonkeyother animalsset weightset dimension
Willow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity SetWillow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity SetCheck Price5.05.05.05.05.05.028 pcs12 inWood composite, iron, resinWhiteNot specifiedYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes26.6 lbs25 x 25 x 18 in
Three Kings Gifts 19-Piece Nativity SetThree Kings Gifts 19-Piece Nativity SetCheck Price4.85.04.54.55.05.019 pcs7 inNot specifiedMultiYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes14.5 lbs10 x 15 x 10 in
Jim Shore Heartwood Creek 12-Piece Nativity SetJim Shore Heartwood Creek 12-Piece Nativity SetCheck Price4.65.04.04.55.04.58 pcs5 inPolyresinWhiteYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesYes3.6 lbs12 x 3.8 x 9.5 in
Kurt Adler 9-Piece Porcelain Nativity SetKurt Adler 9-Piece Porcelain Nativity SetCheck Price4.34.54.04.04.54.59 pcs9 inPorcelainMultiNot specifiedNoYesYesNoYesYesYesNo7.2 lbs5 x 9.9 x 17.5 in
Lenox 7-Piece Holiday Nativity SetLenox 7-Piece Holiday Nativity SetCheck Price4.45.04.54.04.04.57 pcs4 inPorcelainWhiteYesNoYesYesYesNoNoNoNo2 lbs1.5 x 1.5 x 4 in
Best Nativity Set

The best Nativity set centers your holiday decorating on the very origins of Christmas – Christ’s birth and the details surrounding that event.

Surprisingly, the very first Christmas Nativity scene was created nearly 800 years ago, and that was to combat materialism and secular influences!

In all honesty, the Christmas tree probably receives the greatest attention in holiday decorating.

Questions arise about whether to buy a real tree, or if it’s better to save time and effort using an artificial Christmas tree. Decisions need to be made whether to use stylish Christmas ball ornaments, or perhaps homemade decorations suit your style better.

But tree questions aside, giving top priority to beautiful Nativity sets for your home is not simply a religious statement – the choices are fun! There are many different styles and materials from which to choose, ranging from classic vintage styles to more modern and unique sets.

Whether you display your Nativity at floor level in front of a skirted Christmas tree stand, or elegantly arranged on a Christmas table runner, you’ll want to consider which components bring you the most satisfaction.

Nativity scene sets are decor you’ll have around for years. They’ll be packed away most months in the decoration box or tucked into the Christmas tree bag, but the holiday season puts Nativity sets for Christmas front and center. It’s likely that others of all ages will view and handle them. Use our guide to determine which of the many options are important to you.

Selection Of The Best Nativity Sets

Here are the best nativity sets for most people according to Outlinist:

Willow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity Set

Willow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity Set
(rated 5.0 / 5)
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With everything that happens around Christmas it is easy to forget why we celebrate.

Even if you’re not religious, the simple messages of peace and goodwill strike a chord this time of year. A Nativity set is a timely reminder.

You don’t have to be uber-religious to see the charm of Nativity sets with a crèche.

For some a gentle reminder of what Christmas means is all they need to remember to take the time to be nice to others.

A wooden Nativity set is a way of expressing the real meaning of Christmas but not getting overly preachy.

Information

This Christmas creche designs has 28 pieces including a crèche and star backdrop.

This Willow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity Set is a delightful way of expressing the Christmas story in a new, yet old-fashioned sort of way. It is a large Nativity set with 28 individual pieces which can be extended with others in the series. This Nativity scene from Willow Tree has everything you need to tell the story of the first Christmas and children will love all the animals which, happily, include a camel.

This Christmas creche designs has 28 pieces including a crèche and star backdrop. There are 15 different figures; Mary holding the baby, Joseph, three kings, four angels, and a combination of shepherds and animals making up the remainder of the pieces.

The set weighs 26 pounds giving you a sense of how sturdy this unique Nativity set really is. It stands about 17″ high, although the individual figures are shorter; 17″ from floor level to the top of the highest angel.

set28 pcs
figurine height12 in
materialWood composite, iron, resin
colorWhite
handpaintedNot specified
stableYes
holy familyYes
three wise menYes
angelYes
shepherdYes
sheepYes
donkeyYes
other animalsYes
set weight26.6 lbs
set dimension25 x 25 x 18 in

All the figures will not fit into the stable part, and there is no real dimension for width as you can place pieces as close or as distant from each other as you choose.

Each of the Nativity scene figures are made from resin and so are sturdy and damage resistant, but should be treated carefully, they will break and it isn’t meant as a toy.

The set comes from the Willow Tree stable and bears all the stylized marks of the Willow Tree figures designed by Susan Lordi. If you have some of her pieces, this set will fit in.

Pros

Not of the figures have facial markings, even the animals. The idea is you project your own emotions without being told or steered in a direction.

With 28 pieces to choose from, everyone will have their favorite character from this delightful set. There really is something charming here. Here are some features which make this Nativity set stand out from all of the others available.

  • This is a curated set pulled together from other pieces: There are pieces in this set which are pulled from other individual Willow Tree items which is great if something gets broken or damaged. But the whole assembly of 28 pieces is plenty to tell the story without adding any additional figures.
  • Each collectible piece is inspired by the artist and could standalone: This set comes from the workshop of Susan Lordi who has created a series of figures that fit together in a theme and have become collectible in their own right. This Christmas specific set fits in with her other work.
  • Each piece cast from the original artist’s carving: Ms. Lordi hand carves each figure and it is used to create the mold from which all her pieces as cast. Made from resin, they are hand finished and painted. Each is individual but has similar flowing lines and colors
  • All of the figures don’t have a face – on purpose: Not of the figures have facial markings, even the animals. The idea is you project your own emotions without being told or steered in a direction. It is a great way of working out what Christmas means to you.
  • The figures let you tell the Christmas story your way: With shepherds, angels and wise men, you can use this set to tell the traditional Christmas story or take a bit of artistic license. Build the story, allowing the wise men to arrive after the shepherds and angles if you like.
  • Create a tradition for your family with these collectible items: Willow Tree figures make great gifts for those who collect them and they are the sort of thing you could use to build a family tradition. They make nice wedding gifts for the next generation and help make a family Christmas.

Cons

Are there any features which detract from this attractive Nativity set? All products have their downside or supposedly they do. Here are three items which can be classified as, perhaps, slightly less positive features.

  • Doesn’t have a manger: A kneeling Mary figure is holding the baby, so he’s there alright, just not in the traditional manger setting. This makes it a little difficult if you want to set the scene ahead and add the baby on Christmas Eve.
  • The stylized figures really grow on you as time passes: Some find the idea of the faceless figures a little challenging. But when you realize why there are no faces, and feel the emotional responses, they grow on you. The Willow Tree fans, in their legions, love the featureless faces.
  • The crèche is like a doorway more than a stable: This is entirely a personal preference. The stars and the angels really make it Christmassy. If you love a straw floor for the manger, this fascinating representation might seem a little minimalist. However, it is so charming, you’ll be won over.

Comparison

 

Willow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity SetWillow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity Set

Three Kings Gifts 19-Piece Nativity SetThree Kings Gifts 19-Piece Nativity Set

Jim Shore Heartwood Creek 12-Piece Nativity SetJim Shore Heartwood Creek 12-Piece Nativity Set

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
set28 pcs19 pcs8 pcs
figurine height12 in7 in5 in
materialWood composite, iron, resinNot specifiedPolyresin
colorWhiteMultiWhite
handpaintedNot specifiedYesYes
stableYesYesYes
holy familyYesYesYes
three wise menYesYesYes
angelYesYesNo
shepherdYesYesYes
sheepYesYesYes
donkeyYesYesYes
other animalsYesYesYes
set weight26.6 lbs14.5 lbs3.6 lbs
set dimension25 x 25 x 18 in10 x 15 x 10 in12 x 3.8 x 9.5 in

Summary

Created by artist Susan Lordi, each piece is cast from a mold made from a hand carved piece. The figures are hand finished to create a look all of their own.

The Willow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity Set is a charming Christmas set which will become a treasured family tradition for years to come.

Created by artist Susan Lordi, each piece is cast from a mold made from a hand carved piece. The figures are hand finished to create a look all of their own. In this set, each figure is between 4″ and 8″ high. The crèche is 17″ high, and then there is another angel on top of that.

The Willow Tree figures are famous for being featureless. With no expressions on their faces, you are invited to add your own feeling and emotions and let the pieces in this Nativity set inspire you to remember the Christmas story and feelings.


Three Kings Gifts 19-Piece Nativity Set

Three Kings Gifts 19-Piece Nativity Set
(rated 4.8 / 5)
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Beautiful Nativity sets work wonderfully to give any home the spirit of the Christmas season.

With Christmas just around the corner, now’s the time to find that perfect set of decorations that depict the Christmas Nativity scene accurately.

The best sets are those that will provide enough pieces to accurately portray what happened during the very first Christmas.

Alongside the rest of your decorations, this is the type of thing that will bring life to the spirit of the season inside your home.

This Christmas, find yourself a beautiful set that’s real to life, and enjoy the holidays with your loved ones.

Information

When it comes to artfully depicting the Christmas Nativity, the beauty of the artwork is paramount.

The Three Kings Gifts 19-Piece Nativity Set includes real to life, 7 inch tall Christmas nativity figurines that accurately portray the most important figures of the Christmas story. Like other indoor Nativity sets, Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus are depicted beautifully with amazing artwork; however, this one also includes the Three Wise Men, shepherds and angels, and a variety of different animals.

When it comes to artfully depicting the Christmas Nativity, the beauty of the artwork is paramount. Each of these nativity figures is intricately hand-painted, providing the owner with a real piece of art that is also quite historically accurate.

This particular set is so accurate, in fact, that it includes chests that are filled with actual 23 carat gold. This not only adds to the realism of the entire set, but it also adds some actual value.

set19 pcs
figurine height7 in
materialNot specified
colorMulti
handpaintedYes
stableYes
holy familyYes
three wise menYes
angelYes
shepherdYes
sheepYes
donkeyYes
other animalsYes
set weight14.5 lbs
set dimension10 x 15 x 10 in

The lighted stable provides a beautifully lit background for this iconic scene, allowing observers to fully appreciate the humble nature of Christ’s birth.

There are 19 pieces in total, each crafted and painted in beautiful detail. With the help of the lighted stable, this is the perfect set to make the scene come to life. Everyone who wants to enjoy the real reason for the season will truly appreciate the way that this was put together.

By comparison, there are few sets out there that come anywhere near as close to a depiction of the actual events as this one, making it one of the premier sets on the market right now.

Pros

The lighted stable is the backdrop of the scene, providing a warm glow that would likely be able to put Ebenezer Scrooge into the Christmas spirit.

Those looking for realism in their Nativity set will be thoroughly pleased with this one. Here are a few of some of the more notable aspects of this set. There’s certainly plenty to get excited about.

  • A complete set with all the most important figures: This set includes 19 pieces, including every important figure of this iconic scene. This is not just Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus, but also the Three Wise Men, shepherds and angels, and a variety of animals. Few sets are this complete.
  • Large, 7-inch figures: Each human figure is 7-inches tall, with the exception of Mary who is kneeling next to the manger and one Wise Man who is on his knees before the newly born King. With figurines this large, people will be able to see the beauty of the scene from across the room.
  • Each figurine is beautifully hand-painted: The artwork is one of the more amazing aspects of this particular set. Each figurine is individually hand-painted in stunning colors, and the detail by which they were done is absolutely amazing. Those looking for a realistic, yet artistic, depiction will not be disappointed.
  • Lighted stable is the perfect backdrop: The lighted stable is the backdrop of the scene, providing a warm glow that would likely be able to put Ebenezer Scrooge into the Christmas spirit. Dim the lights in your home and let this beautiful depiction of the nativity shine.
  • Real gold, frankincense, and myrrh: This doesn’t include just a depiction of the gifts of the Three Wise Men, but the real thing, even down to the gold. The gold is actual 23 carat gold, providing an extra level of value. It also includes a certificate of authenticity.
  • Quality that can be passed down as an heirloom: The overall quality and value of this set means that you will likely want to pass it down for generations to come. With this set, you’ll not only get a great Christmas decoration, but true value that your children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy.

Cons

There are few sets out there as stunning and detailed as this one, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have any concerns. Here are a few things you might want to think about before you spend the money on this Nativity set from Three Kings Gifts.

  • Only works on batteries: This set does not come with any sort of cord or adapter, and it only runs on batteries. The batteries ought to last you the entire season, which is good, but you might find that finding the right replacement batteries isn’t easy. Using a wall outlet would’ve been better.
  • Can only be used indoors: Those who want something they can place on their porch or lawn will want to look elsewhere. These are porcelain figurines, making them somewhat fragile, and while the finish is beautiful, it is likely to get damaged if outside for very long at all.
  • Some slight disproportionalities: While each figurine is beautiful, many of them are somewhat disproportionately sized. For instance, the camel is only slightly bigger than the sheep, and it is much smaller than any of the human figures. Also, the stable seems small in comparison to the human and animal figures.

Comparison

 

Three Kings Gifts 19-Piece Nativity SetThree Kings Gifts 19-Piece Nativity Set

Willow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity SetWillow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity Set

Jim Shore Heartwood Creek 12-Piece Nativity SetJim Shore Heartwood Creek 12-Piece Nativity Set

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
set19 pcs28 pcs8 pcs
figurine height7 in12 in5 in
materialNot specifiedWood composite, iron, resinPolyresin
colorMultiWhiteWhite
handpaintedYesNot specifiedYes
stableYesYesYes
holy familyYesYesYes
three wise menYesYesYes
angelYesYesNo
shepherdYesYesYes
sheepYesYesYes
donkeyYesYesYes
other animalsYesYesYes
set weight14.5 lbs26.6 lbs3.6 lbs
set dimension10 x 15 x 10 in25 x 25 x 18 in12 x 3.8 x 9.5 in

Summary

Those who want quality that is so good that it could be an heirloom will find that this is probably the best bet.

The Three Kings Gifts 19-Piece Nativity Set is one of the most beautiful sets that you’ll find on the market right now. With each piece individually hand-painted, and 19 pieces in all, this is a complete set that realistically portrays the very first Christmas.

While it only runs on batteries, can only be used indoors, and has some slight problems in size proportionality, it is still one of the best sets that you’ll be able to find this holiday season.

Those who want quality that is so good that it could be an heirloom will find that this is probably the best bet. It is, without a doubt, one of the best Nativity sets and makes for an amazing decoration.


Jim Shore Heartwood Creek 12-Piece Nativity Set

Jim Shore Heartwood Creek 12-Piece Nativity Set
(rated 4.6 / 5)
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Does the Nativity set meaning prevent a Nativity set from meeting the American arts and crafts movement head on?

The answer is a resounding no. Christmas crèche sets can surely be American just as well as they can be any other style.

When an American artist is strongly influenced by the traditional American arts and crafts the result is something special.

The Christmas crèche design takes on a flavor which is both Christmassy and familiar too.

This small Nativity set is a whimsical take on a story we all know to make us look at it anew and reconsider the meanings today.

Information

Each of the figures is intricately decorated. Mary for example is wearing a cloak pulled back by a rabbit to show the design underneath.

The Jim Shore Heartwood Creek 12-Piece Nativity Set is not the same as the traditional Nativity sets; it even has some different nativity scene characters, ones we are not familiar with in this context.

This Heartwood Creek set is small scale. The structure, which might be a stable or a crèche, is 12″ wide x 9.5″ high by 3.8″ deep. This means there is not enough space for all the figures and so effectively the Nativity scene can be as big or as small as you would like. The stable structure is topped off with a golden star.

The figures are Mary, Joseph and the baby, the three kings and a shepherd along with the Nativity scene animals. In addition to the animals we normally see, Jim Shore (the artist) has added woodland creatures like owls, rabbits, doves and deer. The effect is whimsical and charming.

set8 pcs
figurine height5 in
materialPolyresin
colorWhite
handpaintedYes
stableYes
holy familyYes
three wise menYes
angelNo
shepherdYes
sheepYes
donkeyYes
other animalsYes
set weight3.6 lbs
set dimension12 x 3.8 x 9.5 in

Each of the figures is intricately decorated. Mary for example is wearing a cloak pulled back by a rabbit to show the design underneath. The three kings have opulent robes and carry their gifts, but each is carrying a bird of some sort too.

The set is made of polyresin which should make it quite durable and resistant to discoloring over time, if correctly put away between seasons. It weights approximately 3.6 pounds, so has enough weight to be sturdy.

The nativity scene has all the traditional facets of the Christmas Story, but tells the story in an untraditional, American way.

Pros

The colors are neutral; a beige and green that is just a few shades darker. Even the star atop the stable is a muted gold.

Jim Shore is famous for all sorts of different themed Christmas items. The Heartwood Creek theme is one of Shore’s more popular designs and the images of this unique Nativity scene shows us why. Here are six features which really stand out.

  • This set has a deliberate unbalanced charm: Part of the Nativity set’s charm comes from a delicate imbalance; three Kings, Mary Joseph and a manger, and one shepherd plus a host of animals. The effect is to add to the whimsy. This is not like any other set.
  • The inspiration is American Folk art at its absolute best: The artist, Jim Shore, comes from a tradition of American folk artists and their influences are strong in his work. The attention to detail and intricate design requires immense skill and patience.
  • Native American animals root the design in a different paradigm: This Nativity scene is different. Everything about the scene is rather a sideways step. For example, the figures are traditional but the setting isn’t. The set demands you rethink your views. Wealth is displayed by ornamentation, but there is a sense of equality.
  • The colors step back from the story which tells itself: The colors are neutral; a beige and green that is just a few shades darker. Even the star atop the stable is a muted gold. The effect is understated and suggests peace and the Christmas values of goodwill to all.
  • Handcrafted and hand painted design: The set is made of polyresin which will make it durable and keep the colors true. Plus, each piece is finished by hand giving attention to detail reminiscent of Jim Shore’s original artwork. This would be a great gift.
  • The style is recognizable as Jim Shore, but is different: Although this is a standalone set, it is markedly a Jim Shore design. If you’re a collector of his work and have some of his Christmas tree ornaments, they will flow together. If you’re about to become a collector, this is perfect.

Cons

There’re always some things which aren’t ideal in any product and for something as special as a Christmas nativity scene, it seems almost more important that there are no surprises. To that end, here are three points that may not be ideal for you.

  • This is a small Nativity set, especially for little children: Although the stable is 12″ x 9.5″ the figurines themselves are only 2.5″ high. They would sit quite comfortably in your palm. If you are buying the set to tell children the story, you will need to place it at eye height.
  • With so many animals, one shepherd seems odd: The reason is because many animals are part of the stable building. The fox and the deer are attached to the supporting beams. It is a question of production, but the shepherd seems somewhat lost all by himself.
  • If you want your nativity scene traditional this isn’t it: This is a beautiful American designed Nativity set. But it is not a traditional one. Some of the figures are almost Disney-esque (Shore also produces Disney themed pieces). It’s a unique piece with its own take on the Christmas story.

Comparison

 

Jim Shore Heartwood Creek 12-Piece Nativity SetJim Shore Heartwood Creek 12-Piece Nativity Set

Willow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity SetWillow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity Set

Three Kings Gifts 19-Piece Nativity SetThree Kings Gifts 19-Piece Nativity Set

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
set8 pcs28 pcs19 pcs
figurine height5 in12 in7 in
materialPolyresinWood composite, iron, resinNot specified
colorWhiteWhiteMulti
handpaintedYesNot specifiedYes
stableYesYesYes
holy familyYesYesYes
three wise menYesYesYes
angelNoYesYes
shepherdYesYesYes
sheepYesYesYes
donkeyYesYesYes
other animalsYesYesYes
set weight3.6 lbs26.6 lbs14.5 lbs
set dimension12 x 3.8 x 9.5 in25 x 25 x 18 in10 x 15 x 10 in

Summary

The result is a delightful representation of the story told in a way that will immediately draw children in and amuse the adults.

The Jim Shore Heartwood Creek 12-Piece Nativity Set springs from the imagination of an artist. The traditional Christmas story is presented in a way that is reminiscent of the American crafts movement where traditional skills and attention to detail have been bound together.

The result is a delightful representation of the story told in a way that will immediately draw children in and amuse the adults.

The neutral colors allow the Nativity set to stand out from the remainder of the Christmas decorations but it is still understated and calm. By comparison, it creates a welcome moment of peace in the mad dash from Christmas to the New Year.


Kurt Adler 9-Piece Porcelain Nativity Set

Kurt Adler 9-Piece Porcelain Nativity Set
(rated 4.3 / 5)
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No home is truly decorated for the Christmas season without a high-quality Nativity scene decoration.

While lights and wreaths are beautiful and will help you get your home into the Christmas spirit, nothing shows the true meaning of Christmas quite like a Nativity scene set.

A traditional Nativity set provides an excellent display of the true reason for the season, and that is Christ’s birth.

There is a wide variety of these types of decorations, allowing you to go artsy or realistic with your display.

This holiday season, warm your home with a beautifully constructed and painted set that the whole family can enjoy.

Information

There’s no better way to celebrate the true glory of the Christmas season than by displaying one of the best Nativity sets for Christmas available today.

The Kurt Adler 9-Piece Porcelain Nativity Set is the Nativity scene for sale that ought to catch a lot of people’s eyes this Christmas. It includes a total of 9 pieces: the Holy Family, the Three Wise Men, a shepherd, and two animals. Setting up these Nativity scene figurines in your home for all to see will remind everyone about the miracle of the first Christmas.

Each figurine is crafted from porcelain, with the tallest being 9 inches tall. There’s no better way to celebrate the true glory of the Christmas season than by displaying one of the best Nativity sets for Christmas available today.

Each figure is painted in beautiful, stunning detail, and the Kurt Adler depiction is one that many people have grown to accept as extremely accurate to the Biblical story.

set9 pcs
figurine height9 in
materialPorcelain
colorMulti
handpaintedNot specified
stableNo
holy familyYes
three wise menYes
angelNo
shepherdYes
sheepYes
donkeyYes
other animalsNo
set weight7.2 lbs
set dimension5 x 9.9 x 17.5 in

The baby Jesus, which is the centerpiece of any sort of set like this, is breathtakingly done. If you have small kids in your home, you will also be happy to note that Jesus doesn’t come out of his manger so you never have to worry about a child getting their hands on him and he suddenly disappearing.

Because every major figure of the scene is included, there’s no better way to depict it that with this particular set. It truly is one of the best around.

With so many different depictions of this scene, it can be difficult to find the perfect set, but this one is definitely up there with the best of them.

Pros

The largest figure is 9 inches tall, which helps to expose the detail and allow people to see the full display clearly from across the room.

Few sets are as inclusive as this one. There’s so much to like that it might be difficult to know exactly where to begin, but here are a few of the finer points of this set that just about anyone should be able to appreciate.

  • 9 pieces in all: Because it includes 9 figurines, it’s able to perfectly set the beautiful and humble scene of the Nativity. All of the important figures are here, including Mary and Joseph, the Three Wise Men, a shepherd, a donkey, and a sheep. There’s really not much else to ask for.
  • Beautifully painted with stunning colors: Each figure is painted beautifully in vivid colors that will stand out among your set of decorations this Christmas. You also want the colors on your figurines to be precise, and these each offer amazing precision as well as bright variety.
  • Crafted from porcelain: These are porcelain figurines that provide amazing detail. From the facial expressions to the beards of Joseph and the Wise Men, the porcelain design offers the necessary detail to make the scene feel as real as possible.
  • 9 inches tall: The largest figure is 9 inches tall, which helps to expose the detail and allow people to see the full display clearly from across the room. No matter where in your home you place this set, it is likely to draw the attention of your friends and family this Christmas.
  • Baby Jesus connected to manger: Those with small children know that sets like this can have small pieces go missing rather easily. Because the baby Jesus is attached to his manger, however, you’ll never have to worry about the most important piece suddenly becoming misplaced because a little one wanted to play with it.
  • Lightweight and easy to wrap and store: The entire set together weighs a total of five pounds, allowing you to wrap them and store them in a box together without it being weighted down. Because you want to keep this around for a long time, storage is important, and the light weight helps.

Cons

With all the positives also comes a few flaws. There are simply things that this set doesn’t have that you might expect with a Nativity set. Here are a few of the downsides to this particular set of figurines.

  • No stable included: Unfortunately, there is no stable included in this set, meaning that the Holy Family neither has a shelter or a backdrop to center the entire scene. Many sets include a stable that lights up the scene from behind.
  • No angel included: The holy nature of the entire scene is one of the most important aspects, and an angel always helps to show this. Unfortunately, this set does not come with an angel, and that does put a little bit of a damper on the set as a whole.
  • Set was made in China: Many would prefer to buy American, and those who do will be disappointed to find that this set was made in China. It is still excellent quality, but those who prefer to buy American may want to choose a different set.

Comparison

 

Kurt Adler 9-Piece Porcelain Nativity SetKurt Adler 9-Piece Porcelain Nativity Set

Willow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity SetWillow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity Set

Three Kings Gifts 19-Piece Nativity SetThree Kings Gifts 19-Piece Nativity Set

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
set9 pcs28 pcs19 pcs
figurine height9 in12 in7 in
materialPorcelainWood composite, iron, resinNot specified
colorMultiWhiteMulti
handpaintedNot specifiedNot specifiedYes
stableNoYesYes
holy familyYesYesYes
three wise menYesYesYes
angelNoYesYes
shepherdYesYesYes
sheepYesYesYes
donkeyYesYesYes
other animalsNoYesYes
set weight7.2 lbs26.6 lbs14.5 lbs
set dimension5 x 9.9 x 17.5 in25 x 25 x 18 in10 x 15 x 10 in

Summary

For those looking for a simple way to enjoy the beauty of the Nativity, this is an excellent choice.

The Kurt Adler 9-Piece Porcelain Nativity Set is a beautifully crafted and painted set that all of your friends and family will be able to enjoy. With 9 pieces in all and the tallest measuring at 9 inches tall, it’s got the most important figures of the scene and is large enough to be admired from a distance.

The lack of a stable and an angel may disappoint some, but it does give you the flexibility to use the figurines on smaller display tables, on a mantle, or nestled in winter greens as the centerpiece for the holiday table.

For those looking for a simple way to enjoy the beauty of the Nativity, this is an excellent choice.


Lenox 7-Piece Holiday Nativity Set

Lenox 7-Piece Holiday Nativity Set
(rated 4.4 / 5)
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People have been collecting porcelain figures since the beginning of the seventeenth century. But it was not until the 1890s that they started being produced in the USA.

From then on, making a truly unique Nativity set from porcelain was a matter of time.

Collectors of porcelain are on the lookout for new collectibles all the time, and adding a Christmas crèche set seems like a natural addition.

For people who want a small Nativity set and don’t have a house full of toddlers and pets, a porcelain set is an option.

This is not a Nativity scene for children but it is delightful.

Information

Each figurine is made from a rich cream porcelain. The clothing and the legs of the manger are decorated with a holly border of green leaves and tiny dark red holly border.

This special porcelain Lenox 7-Piece Holiday Nativity Set has been designed for those who love the collectibles by this iconic American company. The Lenox company was founded in 1889 in Trenton, NJ. This nativity scene has all the delicacy and attention to detail you are used to from Lenox figurines.

The nativity scene characters are Mary, Joseph plus the baby in a manger. There are the three wise men and one angel who is playing the Temple Trumpet. There are no nativity scene animals in this set.

Each figurine is made from a rich cream porcelain. The clothing and the legs of the manger are decorated with a holly border of green leaves and tiny dark red holly border. Additionally, the edges of clothing, the casks for the king’s gifts, the trumpet, Joseph’s crozier and other minute details are outlined in 24-carat gold giving the whole piece a lustrous finish which is so typical of Lenox work.

set7 pcs
figurine height4 in
materialPorcelain
colorWhite
handpaintedYes
stableNo
holy familyYes
three wise menYes
angelYes
shepherdNo
sheepNo
donkeyNo
other animalsNo
set weight2 lbs
set dimension1.5 x 1.5 x 4 in

The 7 pieces are entirely standalone and are capable of being on a bookcase or display shelf by themselves. If you wanted to add the context of a stable the figures would be just as home there, but it is not necessary.

The largest figure, one of the kings, is 4.6″ inches tall. The remaining figures are all smaller with Mary who is kneeling measuring in at 4″ high and the manger smaller than that.

Lenox has a history of making collectible porcelain ware for more than 340 years and has a reputation for quality.

Pros

As you’d expect, the figures are just as beautiful and well finished from the back as the front or the side.

If you collect porcelain and you would like to add a Nativity set to the collection, this seems to be perfectly made with you in mind. After a long look at this Lenox set, here are the outstanding features.

  • These exquisite figures reflect the meaning of the Christmas story: In a delightfully understated way, these figures tell the story of Christmas without fuss and with only the subtlest and choicest touches of ornamentation. Each piece is reliant on the others for their part of the narrative but are individually beautiful.
  • Like all other Lenox ware figures, these are collectibles: Even though this is the Christmas story, it’s possible to imagine a collector who perhaps doesn’t celebrate Christmas wanting them to round out a collection of Lenox porcelain. These 7 are only a small part of the range of Lenox Christmas collectibles.
  • Lenox is based on the art – with ceramic delivery: When Walter Scott Lenox founded the firm it was centered around the art studio rather than the master ceramicist. It’s the art that matters. The exquisite quality of the bone china is just a reflection of the artist’s vision.
  • These figures look as good from the back as the front: As you’d expect, the figures are just as beautiful and well finished from the back as the front or the side. If you decide to display them in front of a mirror you will be completely happy. The effect is perfectly finished.
  • A lifetime breakage policy gives you great peace of mind: Porcelain is fragile, just like any other glass or ceramic figure. But all sales are backed by a perfect replacement program. While these figures should be out of reach of children, should an accident happen you can get a replacement.
  • In an adult house these could form the decoration centerpiece: There comes a point when decorating the whole house is more than you want to do. This Nativity set is the perfect way to celebrate the season without turning the house upside down and creating Santa’s grotto in the bedroom.

Cons

Even products from a prestigious porcelain house like Lenox have some drawbacks, don’t they? Lenox has such a high-quality reputation it is hard to find any cons with their products. But here are three things which might cause a pause.

  • These are small figures with the biggest only about 5 inches: The point here is to ensure you know what you’re buying. Mary, who is kneeling, sits 3″ high. The standing king is about 2″ bigger. These small but still exquisite pieces are smaller than some of the other Lenox Christmas sets.
  • If you’re a traditionalist, you will miss shepherds and animals: As above, this is just something to be aware of. If you’re planning to use the Nativity set to teach with, you will have some gaps. If you’re creating a decorative display, you will be elegantly and sophisticatedly good to go.
  • In the past there’s been some discrepancies in the gold: This is not normal. This is a slip in quality and is not normal for Lenox products. The gold on the wise men’s casks and Joseph’s crozier may not be quite right on some sets. Lenox will replace them if it happens to you.

Comparison

 

Lenox 7-Piece Holiday Nativity SetLenox 7-Piece Holiday Nativity Set

Willow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity SetWillow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity Set

Three Kings Gifts 19-Piece Nativity SetThree Kings Gifts 19-Piece Nativity Set

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
set7 pcs28 pcs19 pcs
figurine height4 in12 in7 in
materialPorcelainWood composite, iron, resinNot specified
colorWhiteWhiteMulti
handpaintedYesNot specifiedYes
stableNoYesYes
holy familyYesYesYes
three wise menYesYesYes
angelYesYesYes
shepherdNoYesYes
sheepNoYesYes
donkeyNoYesYes
other animalsNoYesYes
set weight2 lbs26.6 lbs14.5 lbs
set dimension1.5 x 1.5 x 4 in25 x 25 x 18 in10 x 15 x 10 in

Summary

Created in the art studio at Lenox, the seven Nativity scene characters are made from high quality porcelain edged with 24-carat gold.

The Lenox 7-Piece Holiday Nativity Set is something for porcelain collectors and not just people who love a Nativity set. Lenox’s set is backed by the remarkable replacement program. This is an extra level of comfort, because accidents do happen and there would be no point to it if you broke the manger.

Created in the art studio at Lenox, the seven Nativity scene characters are made from high quality porcelain edged with 24-carat gold. Additionally, there are touches of green leaves and red berries from the holly tree to emphasize the Christmas theme.

This is an exquisite, small set; the characters are between 3 to 5 inches high while the manger is slightly smaller. These are stand-alone figures and are beautifully finished to world-class Lenox standards.

Best Nativity Set Buying Guide

Entire set vs. individual figurines

Your first decision is whether to purchase a complete Nativity set, or select Christmas Nativity figurines individually or a few at a time. There are advantages either way.

Purchasing an entire set is the most cost effective choice. But you’ll have to take whatever components come with it. Purchasing individual pieces will guarantee that you get exactly what you want. Your collection can be added to over a longer period of time rather than having to get all the pieces at once.

Overall dimensions of the display

The surface area available to display Nativity figures determines which Nativity set to purchase. If you plan to set up on the floor, you don’t have to worry much about size limits.

One option is centering the set on a Christmas tablecloth in the dining room. Determine what portion of the table is not needed for place settings. Fireplace mantels work well too, but again, measure width and length, keeping in mind any Christmas ball ornaments or garlands you’ll want to place on the mantel.

Choosing the best figurine height

For sizable rooms or floor level displays, look at large indoor Nativity sets with figures 12 inches high or more. The smaller heights (4 to 6 inches or less) of some sets will get overwhelmed in a big setting and seem to disappear in the surroundings.

At the same time, large Nativity sets for churches are too big. They’ll look odd in your home decor. Figures too large appear awkwardly like mannequins, and might even cause some people to feel uncomfortable.

Type of material

Polyresin, olive wood, metal, porcelain, glass – materials used to make the individual pieces sets vary almost as much as the design styles. Go with your style preference, but consider how and where it will be displayed.

Olive wood originates in the Holy Land, which is meaningful to many. Metal and wood are less breakable and a better choice for handling by children. Avoid accidental breakage of glass, porcelain or polyresin with a high-level display like a fireplace mantel or the top of a bookshelf framed by Christmas lights.

Design style of Nativity

What’s your style? You’ll find realistic or semi-abstract, detail-rich or plain, traditional or modern among the choices. If you admire Christmas traditions that have lasted for years, there are sets or individual pieces which will be close to, or identical to, those your parents or grandparents had.

Alternatively, you can choose a design style to match your home decor. Lovely modern sets often have less detail, such as smooth figurines with no distinct facial features, or a monochromatic color scheme.

Hand painted or not?

Most Nativity sets are hand painted to ensure the details are pleasing, but not all of them specifically say ‘hand painted’. Sets made of resin especially can include considerable levels of detail, since the material can be molded elaborately. Metal or wooden sets tend to be more uniform in color.

Hand painting allows for tiny features such as eyes to look realistic. To increase the attractiveness, some Nativity figurines have gold paint embellishments added after the colors have been applied.

Weight of the components

It may seem unrelated, but consider the weight of the Nativity pieces. It’s not the shipping weight that’s crucial, since many sellers include free shipping nowadays. More important is the stability or weight of each individual piece.

Displaying your Nativity scene where pieces can get bumped, fall over, or end up in kids’ hands warrants getting heavier, longer lasting figurines. They’ll take more potential abuse and stay upright better to help ward off chips or dents.

Components of a true Nativity set

There’s no way to be certain who was actually present at the scene of the Nativity, or which animals shared the space. Tradition has played a definite role in which elements are displayed in a Nativity scene. Different cultures may add or subtract figures based on their history or customs.

Keep in mind that buying a set may not allow you to include all of these components, whereas purchasing individual pieces will. These are some of the choices you’ll find.

Include a stable or go without

Over the years, tradition has dictated the Christmas Nativity scene be located in a wooden sort of stable. Perhaps not accurate historically (some believe it was a cave or lower room of a home where animals were sheltered), it does make a nice backdrop for figurines.

Not all sets come with a stable. Figurines are easily arranged even without a stable in your set. Drape a Christmas garland to creatively frame the arrangement, or backlight with Christmas lights for even more drama.

Holy family figurines

The holy family – Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus – are the main focus of the Christmas story. In most sets they are separate figures. Generally a manger (crib) is included. Either the baby is to be placed in it, or baby and manger can be molded together.

Less frequently, Mary is holding the baby, and if that’s the case a manger won’t be part of the set. Occasionally all three family members are molded into one group rather than being separate.

The three wise men, or magi

Three wise men, or magi, came from afar searching for the newborn king of the Jewish people. Scripture says they came to worship him, so at least one of the wise men is usually kneeling. They wear distinctive headdresses which often include a crown-like feature.

Their gifts were gold, frankincense and myrrh, depicted in a box or other container held in their hands. Look for gold painted details on the gift boxes and headdresses since it’s believed these were either wealthy travelers or royalty.

Angels (called the heavenly host)

Angels came to the fields where the shepherds were watching their sheep, and announced the birth of the Messiah. The Bible doesn’t actually describe them as being in the location of Jesus’ birth.

Some sets include several angels since they did play a part in the Christmas story. Many sets leave them out though. These may have a star displayed over the stable, which was said to have led the wise men and then hovered over the location where they found Jesus.

Shepherds hurry to see the baby Messiah

It’s recorded that the shepherds went to see newborn Jesus after the angels left. Sheep are almost always depicted in Nativity scenes, but there’s no mention in scripture of the shepherds bringing sheep or lambs with them.

Lambs and sheep would have been found in many stables, so it is perfectly appropriate to find them in nativities. Some argue that they’re symbolic of future references to Jesus as the ‘Lamb of God’ or represent his purity and eventual sacrificial offering of himself.

The donkey Mary rode to Bethlehem

Donkeys are another common figurine in most Nativity scenes. It is very likely that a donkey was present at the location of the Jesus’ birth since Mary was carried by one as she and Joseph made their way to Bethlehem for a census that had been ordered.

Like the lamb, there is much symbolism attributed to the presence of a donkey in Christmas Nativity scenes. A donkey was the mode of transportation for Jesus’ humble entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

Other animals in Nativity scenes

If you have the room or inclination, it’s fun to add other animal figurines. Nativity sets for children tend to include plenty of sturdy animals to play with. Oxen (a type of cattle) were common animals of labor so they’re often in a stable scene.

Although not specifically mentioned in the Christmas verses, camels may have transported the wise men. A kneeling camel makes a charming addition. Many feel that a variety of animals helps visually to create the best Nativity set.

Willow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity Set
Our pick for the best nativity set is: Willow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity Set. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching nativity sets.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of Nativity set should I consider buying?

It depends on several factors. Nativity sets can last a long time since they are safely stored away for many months out of the year. Many end up being considered family heirlooms and if so, a high quality one is desired.

Take your style preferences into consideration. Modern decor in your home may influence you to choose a trendy simple design. If you like traditional nativities better, the classic figures with lots of color and detail are a better choice.

Which type of Nativity set is best if you have kids?

If you want to allow children to touch, or even play, with the figurines (perhaps to act out the Christmas story) you have two clear choices. Either spend time explaining and showing them how to handle gently, or look for a Nativity made of a sturdy material.

Olive wood for example, is hard, heavy and durable, and its smooth texture is lovely to hold. Large-scale Nativity sets with a lot of animals may appeal to kids too. Just make sure pieces are stable and don’t fall over easily.

Do some Nativity sets more accurately follow the Bible story?

The pieces definitely listed in scripture on the night of Jesus’ birth include the Holy Family, of course, then the shepherds, and most likely the donkey since Mary rode on one to come to Bethlehem. Other pieces have significance in the overall Christmas story, even if they weren’t all present at the same time.

The addition of wise men bearing gifts, an angel or whole angelic host, and various animals will pull together additional events mentioned in the Christmas passages of scripture.

Is a crèche the same thing as a Nativity set?

Manger scene, Nativity scene, and crèche are all terms applied to a traditional Christmas Nativity set. To be very specific, crèche is a French word that refers to the manger Jesus was placed in as a place to sleep.

All of these are simply a miniature scene of what took place at the birth of Jesus. You can find tiny nativities, ornament nativities, life-size Nativity sets, and everything in between. You can even add a Christmas tree topper like a star or angel to the manger scene.

What size Nativity figurines should I get?

Much depends on location used to set up your Nativity scene. Small figures get lost if surrounded by too many other decorations, so try to make nativities the center of attention and leave empty space around the scene. A mantelpiece is a good location, and a spotlight on the Nativity is especially effective.

Larger figurines (12 inches for example) work very well for a floor or simple table display and will be attractively framed by placing them on a Christmas tablecloth or runner.

Willow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity Set
Our pick for the best nativity set is: Willow Tree Complete 28-Piece Nativity Set. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching nativity sets.

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