Nativity Sets

Written by Abby Luttrell
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The very first Nativity was displayed in 1291 in a church in Rome. Churches all over Europe picked up the idea and displayed their own nativities at Christmas time. In Italy, nativity sets have never gone out of style - there is still a very large outdoor nativity at the top of the Spanish Steps in Rome each Christmas.

In the 16th century, the wealthy began to display nativity sets in their palaces, homes, and private chapels. For the Renaissance nobility, a nativity set was the most prestigious gift you could give at Christmas. And even today, one of the most famous nativity sets is in the Church of the Nativity, in Bethlehem.

A Lesson For Children

Children can experience firsthand the atmosphere and setting on that miraculous day of Jesus's birth. A nativity set helps a child learn about the Christian religion. It's a visual lesson of love and beauty.

Modern nativity sets can be anything from a simple hand carved set to an expensive display costing thousands of dollars. In Mexican and Hispanic communities, life-size nativities are put up in front yards and lovingly tended until January 12. Nativity sets make precious Christmas gifts that are used year after year. The treasured statues of the holy family, the three wise men, the shepherds and the angel make the best collectibles.

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