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How to Set up Your Christmas Nativity Set

If you want to know how to set up a nativity set in your front yard, you first need to research the nativity story. You should know who the characters are and what their roles were in the story. If you are using the traditional Middle Eastern style you could research the clothing from the era. If you do it right it will delight all the people cruising by to see the holiday decorations. You will need some photos to guide you as well as some tools and possibly paints and glue.


Choose the space you will use. This will determine the size of the characters. It shouldn’t look too crammed together but it needs cohesiveness. Examine the trees and shrubs, path ways and windows to find exactly the right spot. If you have purchased a set that gives you directions on how to set up a nativity set, so much the better, but if you need to do it yourself you need a list of figures. If you prefer you could use only Joseph, Mary and Jesus, otherwise the full list also includes angels, shepherds, three kings, a manger, one donkey and a couple of sheep plus a big star and some hay. The figures also need the proper clothing; Mary in blue and beige, Joseph in a dark or striped robe, the kings full of jewels, turbans and opulent robes, the angles in white and the shepherds in brown.


Once you have collected your materials start with the stable and hay. The stable may just be a wooden outline to give the impression of a shelter. Put the hay on the ground and in the manger and wrap your doll in white cloth and put it in the manger. Mary and Joseph are on either side of the manger; Mary is usually on the left as you look at the scene and Joseph on the right. The donkey should be tied up outside the stable and the sheep lying or standing next to Mary and Joseph. The star and angel are on the roof of the stable. The star could be a Christmas tree ornament that can be lit. Now that you know how to set up a nativity set you can have one every year and vary or improve it.


If you have purchased the figures for the nativity scene separately and need to know how to set up a nativity set in your home there are a few simple rules. Traditionally there are seven pieces but there is always the possibility to add more. It needs to be set up in the right way so it evokes the deep meaning and shows respect for the story. Baby Jesus is always in the middle, after all the scene is about him, and Mary and Joseph are on either side. The secondary figures should be place in concentric circle around the three main ones. The shepherds should be the closest to Jesus then the three kings. For small, indoor figurines the star will probably already be on the stable but the angel can either be kneeling in front or on the top.


It is not difficult to learn how to set up a nativity set. Your personal artistic talents can elaborate on the basic theme and make something amazing

This article was published on Thursday 19 November, 2009.

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