How Do I Arrange My Nativity Scene?

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about this Nativity scene and how to arrange it. Okay, it’s true, what it boils down to it there really isn’t much planning involved. But I still have a few suggestions I want to put out there for all of you.

Set Up Your Nativity Scene with your Children

Before I get too deep into this, I want to know that if you have small children, and a strong faith, a great way to set up your Nativity scene is to wait until a few days before Christmas when you know you’ll have the free evening.

Clear a space where the Nativity is to go, whether it be underneath your Christmas tree or on a dedicated table. Then, the family can take turns position where they think the settings should go, keeping in mind that if you have more than a couple of buildings, the stable should go in center of the display.

Have your children take turns choosing figurines until they are all divided up among them. With their piles ready to go, it’s time to sit down, pick up the Bible, and start reading the Nativity story to them.

As the story is read to them, pause for important points. Ask them questions to make sure they are following and understanding the story. Smaller children may have a more difficult time understanding Bible verse, so have them repeat the story in their own small words.

When a person enters the story that you happen to have a Nativity figurine to match, have the child who has possession of that figurine placed it in the Nativity. The more figurines you have, the longer the story will take. This is why I advise an entire evening be set aside.

This is a great way to teach children the true meaning of Christmas, as well as to involve them in something truly Christmas themed.

No children? Try arranging your Nativity scene like this!

In the Nativity scene, each individual figure has some sort of  meaning. Sometimes, even though we as adults have still heard the story many times before, it is a really great idea to go through and read the story yourself as you set it up.

But as adults, we really should remember first and foremost that arranging Nativity scene needs to be done with some respect. After all, a Nativity scene is a representation of Jesus and the day he was born.

The first step is to place the stable front and center of where you’re Nativity scene will be displayed.  because this is where the story takes place, focus needs to be emphasized on this building.

The manger should be placed front and center of stable, as this is where baby Jesus is to rest. While it is not uncommon to place Jesus in the manger right away, some traditions do state that Jesus should not be placed until late on Christmas Eve, because he wasn’t born until then. However, I don’t feel that there is any right or wrong time to place baby Jesus in the manger.

Next, place Mary directly next to the manger.  Since Mary is the mother of Christ, she becomes second most important. Most figurines of Mary are designed so that she can look down upon the manger and her child. Placed her as such.

Joseph can also be placed near the manger. If he is designed to also look down upon manger, placed him as such as well. However, if he is not designed to look down upon manger, place him close, but not as close as Mary.

You have just completed positioning the focal point of your Nativity scene.

If you have secondary scene components, now is the time to place them. If you have both shepherds and wise men, place them in groups, but remember that the shepherds need to be placed closer. If you have in your possession the Angel Gabriel, he can be placed either with the shepherds, or inside your stable.

Any animals that you might have may now be placed. Barn animals should be placed in and around the stable, but not blocking view of the manger, Mary or Joseph. Sheep can be placed with the shepherds, and camels should be placed with the wise men.

Any other Nativity items you may have in your collection can be placed behind and around what you have already set up, but again, not blocking the view of the rest of the scene,  because they are not vital to the Nativity scene.

Want to learn more about Nativities? View more information on the history of the Nativity scene, or the Nativity story.

You can also visit my Fontanini Page, as well as My Favorite Fontanini Nativity Set.