Outdoor Nativity Set: The Ultimate Guide

Outdoor nativity scene

An outdoor nativity set enhances your Christmas décor and creates a charming scene that professes your faith. They are available in many stores and online, and there is one to fit almost every budget.

Buying Options

Outdoor nativity sets can have a lot of figures or just the Holy Family which includes Joseph, Mary, and Baby Jesus. Choose a set that suits your tastes, budget, and available space.

Lighted Plastic Holy Family

The lighted Holy Family nativity from Kmart is made of blow-mold plastic and is a nice choice if you have limited space. It features Mary, Joseph, and Baby Jesus in a manger. The tallest figure is 28" high. The set is priced around $40 with free in-store pick up; enter your zip to find shipping charges and if free pick up is available in your area. If you're handy with tools, you can make a stable to place your nativity figures in.

Customers who bought the nativity set give it positive reviews for quality, price, and ease of set-up. Customer comments include, "This product is amazing. The lights are just perfect in it," and "Very good quality. Lights up very well. Great price."

Silhouette Nativity

Outdoor nativity set
Outdoor Nativity Sets

The silhouette nativity scenes from Outdoor Nativity Sets are unique. They're made in America using sturdy marine-grade materials. Some assembly is required and an instructional video is offered on the company website to assist. Each set stores flat. A few choices are available to fit most budgets such as their best-selling 50" white Holy Family nativity, which works well for smaller yards and costs around $170, or a 72" white Holy Family nativity for about $800 which is great for larger yards, churches, or businesses. A 50" color Holy Family nativity is also available for just over $200. Ground shipping is free.

You can purchase additional figures in white or color to complete your scene such as angels, animals, wise men, and shepherds. If something should happen to the nativity, replacement parts are available.

Customers give the nativities high marks for ease of assembly, durability, and beauty. "...easy to assemble, looks great on my yard..." says one customer. "Since we set up the nativity in our front yard, many cars have stopped to take in its beauty..." says another.

Yard Decoration Nativity Set

Christmas Nativity Set - 8 Pcs Total with 17 Short Stakes
Christmas Nativity Set

If your budget and space is small, consider this Christmas Yard Decoration Nativity Set from Amazon. It costs around $50 plus about $9 shipping for eight pieces and 17 stakes. Each piece is made of corrugated plastic which range in height up to just over thirty inches. Pieces include a manger with the Holy Family, camels, a donkey, a cow, and three wise men. Each piece is vibrantly colored but only decorated on one side which may limit your display options.

The set earned a four-and-a-half star rating on Amazon for its budget-friendly price, durability, and appearance. One satisfied customer says, "It was just big enough for my little front yard. Easy to put up, holds up in the weather. It's great!"

Inflatable Nativity Set

If you're a fan of inflatables, check out this inflatable nativity from Home Depot. It's a show-stopper at six feet high and costs around $100. Standard home or ship-to-store shipping is free. The nativity features the Holy Family in a manger, a sheep, and a donkey. A star and sweet angel perch atop the manger. The inflatable lights up and self-inflates and deflates in seconds. Stakes are included to help keep the set stable.

A few customers gave the nativity five stars for its ample size, durability, and for being easy to put together. Says one reviewer, "This inflatable added so much more to my yearly decor... nice, big and durable!"

Life-Size Nativity Set

Life-Size Nativity Set
Life-Size Nativity Set

If budget and space are of no concern, opt for a life-size nativity set from ChristmasNightInc.com. The set is a once-in-a-lifetime purchase and includes ten, almost life-size figures which stand up to 55" tall. Figures include Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, and three wise men. The set is made in the Philippines from fiberglass resin which retains its beauty when maintained. The set itself doesn't light up, but you can use a spotlight to illuminate it at night.

This nativity set costs around $3,500. Because of special shipping considerations due to its size, weight, and fragility, there is an additional shipping cost of up to 40 percent of the purchase price. A customer who gave the set a five-star review says, "Outstanding design and quality with great beauty."

Classic Nativity Set

Classic Outdoor Nativity Set
Classic Nativity Set

This classic Holy Family set from Amazon includes the family within a creche topped by a bright yellow star. Unlike other nativity sets, Mary is holding Baby Jesus instead of sitting next to him while he is in the manger.

The set is made in the USA of PVC plastic, measures 58" wide and 44" tall, and costs around $120 with free shipping. It's designed to withstand up to 20 mile-per-hour winds. The set is also available in a larger size which stands 66" high and costs about $240 with free shipping. Each figure is full-color and the set comes with stakes to keep it stable. The set is collapsible for easy storage.

This nativity earned nearly an overall five star rating for easy set-up, durability, and appearance. "This is a beautiful manger scene that was very easy to put up," says one reviewer. Says another, "Easy to put up, only need a hammer. Beautiful to view. Weatherproof..."

Purchasing and Decorating

Before purchasing a nativity set, there are a few things you should consider before setting it up.

  • Location - Choosing the right location will affect the rest of your planning. If your nativity set is your sole Christmas display, you may want it in the middle of your yard or in a prominent place in front of your home. You'll want to place the nativity set where it is easily seen from the road. For example, if your home sits far back, you may want to place it closer to the road. If your nativity set is part of a larger display, be sure you allow plenty of room for your other decorations.
  • Amount of available space - Measure the available space in your yard that to be dedicated to the nativity scene. You'll want to consider height besides length and width.
  • Ground conditions - If the ground will be frozen or snow covered when you're decorating for Christmas, opt for heavier sets that don't require deep posts being hammered into the ground, or those with other options for securing them.
  • Lighting - Some nativity sets come with embedded lighting to maximize the display. Make sure your set is within reach of an outlet to plug in these lights. Otherwise, you can purchase single spotlights for holiday lighting to make the display more visible at night.

There are many ways to create a charming Christmas display with a nativity set.

  • Place a shepherd's hook near one side of your set and hang a lantern with a flameless candle from the hook.
  • String white lights in the trees, bushes and grass surrounding your set. Green lights on the trees and bushes add realistic flair to your scene.
  • Add a bale or two of hay to your display or scatter hay across the ground surrounding your set.
  • If your set includes a creche, attach a star with white lights to the top. If no creche is included, place your set underneath a tree or in front of a tall bush and hang a star with white lights above it.
  • If you're having company, place a CD player near your set and play Christmas carols such as Silent Night or O Little Town of Bethlehem as guests arrive

Storing Your Outdoor Nativity Pieces

When Christmas is over and it's time to pack away the decorations, follow these tips to help you keep your nativity set looking like new from year to year.

  • Make sure each piece of the nativity is dry before storing. Packing items that are wet or damp can cause warping, and colors can fade.
  • Remove light bulbs and extension cords where applicable.
  • If the figures are being stored in an outdoor location such as a shed, wrap them in plastic sheets or tarps to keep them safe and dry.
  • Smaller pieces or those prone to breakage can be wrapped in old blankets or towels, bubble wrap, or thin foam.
  • If your nativity set is made from wooden boards with stands, stack these for storage as long as you place a protective layer like a blanket or cardboard between each item.
  • If you've purchased your nativity set brand new, check the box it came in for any special storage instructions.

Make the Nativity a Family Affair

As Christmas becomes more commercialized each year, adding a nativity scene to your outdoor Christmas display is a great way to remember "the reason for the season." Placing a nativity set outdoors each year can become a special family tradition. Use the opportunity to teach your children about the story of the nativity, explaining each figure and its importance to the scene.

Outdoor Nativity Set: The Ultimate Guide