Minimalist Nativity Set – Style for a Holiday Tradition

What do you think of when you hear the phrase “minimalist nativity set”?  It might surprise you!  We’re going to look at some variations of minimalist nativity sets in this article.

Minimalism is about “less is more”, even when it comes to the holidays. Minimalist nativity sets can be simple yet beautiful, made of several different materials, and are easier to clean and store once the holidays are over.

Did you know minimalists can decorate for the holidays?  What do you picture when you think of nativity sets, or minimalist nativity sets?

What Is a Minimalist Nativity Set?

Minimalism is the focus on the essentials, or the “less is more” approach in terms of possessions, décor, and more.  A nativity set is a Christmas decoration to portray the birth of Jesus Christ, a Christian tradition.  So what is a minimalist nativity set?  It’s less than what you might think!  If you can picture a Jenga game, you can imagine a minimalist nativity set. 

It’s a very simple design, like wooden or glass blocks, with differences in size or words and names printed on them to depict the people and animals in a traditional nativity set. Minimalist nativity sets often use neutral colors or natural tones. These colors contribute to the simplicity and modern aesthetic while allowing the focus to remain on the symbolic elements. Minimalist nativity sets take up minimal space, making them great for small living areas or minimalist home environments.

Nativity set table decor - Minimalist Nativity Set - Gone Minimal
Nativity set table decor

Physical Elements and Style of a Minimalist Nativity Set

The important focus of Christmas is the birth of Jesus, which leads us to the physical elements and style of a minimalist nativity set.  The physical elements of a nativity set include the following:

  • Infant Jesus
  • Mary, Jesus’ mother
  • Joseph, Mary’s husband
  • Manger
  • Shepherds
  • Angels
  • Sheep and other farm animals

There are some variations in who is in attendance in the nativity set as well as the farm animals, but the essentials are the first three.  In minimalist style, the nativity set is very contemporary and simple, to help one focus on the true reason for the season.  It’s a very simple design, made of simple materials, and quite the opposite of what you’d find on most fireplace mantles.

Minimal nativity set - Minimalist Nativity Set - Gone Minimal
Minimal nativity set

Benefits of a Minimalist Nativity Set

With minimalism, the focus is always on simplicity and the essentials.  When we talk about the benefits of a minimalist nativity set, it is believed by some that it assists in the focus on the reason for the season-celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.  In some cases a minimalist nativity set occurs by accident-due to lack of funds, stores being closed, or even social media trends. 

Because of this people can simply use materials and objects they have on hand, or use a simply designed set from common materials.  There are several benefits of a minimalist nativity set:

  • Uncluttered
  • Simplicity
  • Creativity
  • Saves money (using items on hand)
  • Easy storage
  • Conversation starter

This sounds very interesting so far, right?  Let’s look at what some of these minimalist nativity sets can be made from in terms of materials.

Minimalist nativity sets come in many different types of materials, which can determine price range as well as style.  Let’s take a look at the most popular minimalist nativity set materials to help you find the look you want at a price you can afford.

Glass is a lovely and delicate way to display a minimalist nativity set.  From glass statues to stained glass sets, even this material can make a colorful and interesting portrayal of the nativity.  Prices for glass minimalist nativity sets can range anywhere from $30 to $200 or more, depending on how detailed or modern you want your display to be.  Glass is sleek and feels upscale, giving an elegant minimalistic look.

Wood is a bit more versatile because it can be simple or intricately carved, painted or stained, or left in its natural state for a minimalist nativity set.  A bit more sturdy than glass, a wood minimalist nativity set ranges from $15 for a figurine-style set up to $2,500 for a modern, limited edition set.  Wood gives a more natural feel and can has many options.

Wooden Nativity set - Minimalist Nativity Set - Gone Minimal
Wooden Nativity set

In minimalist style, the nativity set is very contemporary and simple, to help one focus on the true reason for the season.

Steel is another material that can be used indoors or out, with many of this style being more of a cutout-style nativity scene.  Steel is also a very sturdy material and ranges from $15 to $180 depending on size and amount of material used.  Steel gives a very modern and sleek minimalistic look.

Bronze is a metal that can also be carved and molded into simple or intricate shapes with detail.  A little harder to find, a bronze minimalist nativity set is a heavy and pretty metal that can cost anywhere from $30 in the US to over $5,000 for handmade sets from overseas.

Paper and paper mâché is an interesting take on the minimalist nativity set.  From paper-cutouts to simple mâché figurines, this material can display a simple to more complex minimalist nativity scene.  Paper is generally cheaper, from $12 for a 3-D cutout scene to $15 for a vintage 3-piece set.

Best Minimalist Nativity Sets

There are plenty of minimalist nativity sets out there, made of many different types of materials and ranging from the simplest of simple to the most modern.  Let’s take a look at some of the best minimalist nativity sets currently available:

Nativity set with candles - Minimalist Nativity Set - Gone Minimal
Nativity set with candles
  1. Labeled wooden block nativity set: This Jenga-inspired set is very typical of the minimalist style, and some may even find it comical!  There are small sets with only Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus in a “manger” up to larger collections with farm animals and wise men. 
  2. Resin Christmas Nativity with LED tealight: This modern sculpture features Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus “cradled” between them-and an LED light behind Jesus to draw your attention to him.  This is a beautiful and meaningful statue that would look lovely on a mantel, as a centerpiece, or in a window.
  3. Nambe Holy Family with Creche: This modern glass set is a beautiful and simple depiction of Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus.  Elegantly crafted and museum quality, this set is absolutely gorgeous and very classy.

How To Make a DIY Minimalist Nativity Set

You don’t have to spend a great deal of money to create your own nativity set!  There are many different ways in which you can make a DIY minimalist nativity set.

  • One option is to go to your local craft or hobby shop. 
  • Use clay to mold figures in different sizes (and colors if you’d like) and shapes.
  • Paint or stain some wooden blocks or shapes, or keep them natural. 
  • Use a wooden box as a manger, which can also serve as storage for the figures.
  • Another option is to use items around your home.  Get creative!
  • Building blocks in different sizes and colors.
  • Everyday objects like candles, office supplies, and decorative objects.
  • Natural items like rocks and plants.

There really are no limits to what you can use to DIY your own minimalist nativity set.  It’s all about how creative and how brave you’re willing to get!  Would you make your own minimalist nativity set?

This helpful DIY video will show you how you can turn your Nativity set into a minimalist upcyle.

Other Resources:

Minimalist nativity sets have been around for several years now, and it seems they get more creative and modern each year.  With different materials available and lots of different retailers, there are no rules or barriers to what you can create.  That being said-what are you willing to use for your minimalist nativity set?

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