Monday, December 1, 2008

Sources for Nativity Sets

This post is in response to various inquiries I’ve received on where to find nativity sets. Some of my nativity scenes were bought while outside the U.S., but most come from antique and thrift stores, eBay, catalogs, and just wherever I spot something that fits my collection criteria. Gifts from family, friends, co-workers have also brought nativity scenes to my collection.

Catalogs from Fair Trade stores and their websites are an excellent way to acquire exotic creches while supporting artists and artisans in poor countries. The fair trade organization works to assure that they are paid a proper wage for their products.

SERRV International "is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating poverty wherever it resides. Your purchases give you the chance to have a direct impact on our global market’s great injustices: the inequality in income and quality of life for people living in developing countries. With your help, SERRV becomes a powerful tool for putting right the imbalance in the world.

Felted Wool Nativity Set. Made in Nepal. 8-piece including stable
Mary, Baby Jesus, Joseph Angel Brown Sheep White Lamb states, "This Nativity scene was acquired through a Fair Trade organization. Fair Trade pays impoverished artisans a fair price for their work. Fair Trade puts people first, not profits."Here is a link to their nativity offerings:

Heartbeats makes this statement:
"Fair trade means artisans, workers, farmers and tradespeople from places like Africa, Asia and Latin America can depend on living wages, safe work environments and humane work schedules."

National Geographic’s Novica catalog and website has offerings from across the globe:

Painted Wood Retablo, 'Celebrating The Birth' by Alejandro Chavez. Made in Peru. 7.1" W x 9.3" H x 2.8" D
Floral doors hide a scene of eternal attraction – the birth of the Baby Jesus. The Three Wise Men accompany Mary and Joseph, every figure attired in the typical clothing of the Peruvian Andes. Alejandro Chavez crafts this retablo altar entirely by hand, constructing a wood frame to house delicately painted figures in ceramic plaster.

Here is a sampling of some of my other fair trade nativity scenes:

Handpainted Wood Nativity Set. Mitra Bali Foundation. Made in Indonesia.
2 pieces, 6 3/4in. T. Hand-painted wood with an antique finish. Mary holding Baby Jesus , Joseph
Mitra Bali, a non-governmental, non-profit organization on the mostly-Hindu island of Bali, was started in 1993 to provide marketing and export assistance to 15 family workshops producing handcrafts. The director of Mitra Bali was convinced that local artisans should consider producing "eco-friendly" handcrafts for export instead of competing for sales in the tight local tourism market. *0501t Indonesia

Olive wood. Hand carved. SelfHelp Crafts. Made in West Bank, Palestine.
3-piece set. Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus

Recycled Metal Hand-painted Nativity. Comite Artisanal Haitien. Made in Haiti. 6 1/4in. L x 4 1/2in. W x 7 1/2in. H
"Warm nativity scene lovingly hand painted on recycled metal."
Joseph/Mary with Jesus/ Three Wise Men/ in Stable with two sheep.Comite Artisanal Haitien is a non-profit marketing cooperative representing more than 200 Haitian artisans. SERRV places orders for products from them.

Palewa Stone 2-piece Nativity Set. Tara Projects. Made in India.
2 pieces, 5 in. T. Hand carved of polished palewa stone in shades of deep green.
Mary holding Baby Jesus, Joseph
Tara Projects started as an outgrowth of a study group of intellectuals and social workers at Jamia Millia University in Delhi which wanted to make an impact on the lives of the "untouchables" they had met who lived nearby. To that end, Tara has become a leading voice in the movement opposing the use of child labor in India and also works to improve the status of women.

These are a few sources for nativity sets which will help impoverished artists and artisians to maintain an adequate lifestyle.
Additional sources for nativities are

1. Online auctions like eBay or Goodwill

2. Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, in Frankenmuth, Michigan, "the world’s largest Christmas store provides year-round access to Christmas goods the year round. Their online store provides a convenient shopping venue:
Here is a blown glass ornament from Bronner’s. It is a nativity ornament placed on a wreath.

3. Catalogs such as Worldwide Collectibles & Gifts have Anri, Hummel and other sets.
4. Religious shops like Abbey Press and Jude's offer lots of nativities.
5. General gift catalogs such as Shannon, Cashs, Ross Simons, also offer nativities.
I hope that the sources given in this post will be helpful for those looking to buy a nativity.


  1. Thank you for this info. I will check it all out for a favorite scene.
    The plates were beautiful for your Blue Monday Post.

  2. That Chavez set is beautiful. I love the Mexican/Latino designs - they are so colorful and happy.

  3. Hello I am a fan of cribs, let me know if you can tell me the websites where to buy cribs from all over the world.
    My email is