There Are So Many Decorating Options!
For those who celebrate Christmas, decorating for the holiday is an exciting, meaningful activity. Whether the celebration is secular or sacred, adorning the home, church, or business for the season brings people together in joyful, creative ways. One popular activity is shopping for giant outdoor nativity sets, which illustrate the beautiful “reason for the season.”
The outdoor nativity scene is a cherished Christmas tradition. Inspired by a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, St. Francis of Assisi was the very first to enact the original Nativity, with a live recreation of the birth of Christ for the people of Greccio, Italy, in 1223. Since then, living Nativity scenes continue to be presented by churches and religious organizations worldwide. Actors pose as the Holy Family, Shepherds, and Magi. Some scenes even include a variety of animals that, according to the New Testament, attended Jesus’ birth.
Yet, putting together a live performance isn’t something many are willing to tackle. For that reason, many celebrants who want to share Christmas with neighbors and passers-by prefer to put up life-sized outdoor nativity sets for all to see. And happily, there isn’t one “right” set from which to choose; you have many options!
Outdoor Nativity Set Choices
Perhaps you have a small yard on which you’d like to display an outdoor Nativity set. There might not be room for a full entourage that includes shepherds, wise men, angels, sheep, and camels. In this case, a minimalist display would be the way to go. For example, a “Holy Family” set featuring only Mary, Joseph, and the Baby Jesus in the manger might be the perfect fit for your display area.
Another option for a small space could be a display of the just the Christ Child in the manger. After all, it is His birth that Christmas commemorates!
On the other hand, you may have plenty of room in your yard and wish to take the “maximum crèche” route with a colorful, crowded scene that encompasses the Christmas story as a whole. In this case, there are spectacular giant nativity sets available that include the Holy Family as well as the Three Kings, shepherds, an angel, and animals. In this category there are also simple, monochrome outdoor Nativity sets for a more toned-down, elegant effect.
Rather than purchasing all the pieces at once, you could create an enjoyable family tradition by adding a new character to your outdoor nativity set each year. Begin with the Holy Family, of course. But the following year you might introduce the “Gloria in excelsis Deo” Angel who announces the birth of Christ to the shepherds by intoning (in Latin, of course) “Glory to God in the highest.”
Next could be a shepherd or two with their lambs; followed the next year by the Three Kings, or Magi.
Along the way, of course, you will want to bring animals into the tableau, such as:
- a sweet little donkey;
- a docile ox; and
- perhaps one of the Three Kings’ camels.
Clearly, there is no one “correct” set, as each person, family, church, or business will have in mind the best way to present the Christmas story using the resources at hand. There are many options to suit each preference. Regardless, outdoor Nativity sets are a lovely way to commemorate and share the beauty and “reason for the season.”