Research Shows Baby Jesus Crazy Popular

By Wendy Thomas Russell | November 26, 2012 | 4 comments

For the last few weeks, I’ve been prepping for the first edition of Relax, It’s Just God’s Shopping Guide, which, if all goes according to plan, will appear here on Thursday — just in time for the Christian and Jewish month of giving. (See how I timed that? Aren’t I clever?) The guide will give reviews and buying information about my favorite “props” — including toys, books, movies and music — all of which are intended to help parents talk to kids about religion without confusing them, scaring them or boring them to tears.

Feel free to let me know if you have favorite books or movies you’d recommend — and be sure to point out any of your favorite science-centered resources, as well. As interesting as it is for kids to hear how world religions answer the Big Questions of the universe, it’s just as interesting (and even more important) to hear about how science has gone about answering those same questions.

One thing I thought would make a great prop — particularly for “cultural Christians” who are celebrating Christmas in their homes this year — is a nativity set. There are not a lot of things better for the under-10 community than little figurines that can be “played with,” and nativity sets certainly lend themselves to that. I even went online a couple of weeks ago to see if I could find one for Maxine. I figured I’d store it with the other “special holiday toys” that only come out at Christmas time. Just to be clear: The nativity set wouldn’t be a decoration in our home, but rather an educational toy that is kept in Maxine’s room for one month out of the year. Anyway, I went online thinking I ought to be able to find something that would suit, and was quickly and completely overwhelmed by the options. Apparently, and I say this as a result of my tireless research into this area, this country loves itself some Baby Jesus.

On Amazon alone, I found a little something for everyone. Here is a tiny fraction of what you can find.

For those with toddlers…

 For those with a puppet theater…

For those loyal to Playmobil…

For those loyal to Lego…



For those on a budget…


For those not on a budget…


For those short on storage…

For those who love vintage…


For those who love handmade…

And for those prone to nostalgia…

The question is: Which one do I buy?


  1. Christine says:

    My favorite is my Montana Silversmith set up with horses as Joseph and Mary, a barn cat as Jesus, Border Collie as angel, a sheep as a shepherd and a stack of hay bales for the backdrop. :)

    One can be seen here…

  2. Kimberly B. says:

    I finally ordered “Meet Jesus: The Life and Lessons of a Beloved Teacher” and read it to the girls last night. They LOVED it. Soaked it up and learned a lot about who Jesus was, why people love him, and why you see him a lot around Christmas. Definitely a wonderful resource.

  3. Rich Wilson says:

    If Lucy and Charlie are intended to be Mary and Joseph, then that Peanuts one if frankly kinda creepy. Oh, I see, Woodstock is Jesus. I guess that’s not so creepy after all- kids playing pretend.

    If I recall correctly, Toys R Us had an amusing categorization for an Ark playset a while back

    Something about ‘Fantasy’ or something. It’s more benign now.

  4. Susan says:

    Last year I found that Peanuts one at CVS and bought it immediately. It just cracks me up (although they seem to have tweaked it a bit – mine doesn’t have the kings). It also comes with a little sign you can put up that says Christmas Pageant today at 4 or something like that…to keep people from being offended?

    And as a kid, I loved, loved, LOVED playing with my mom’s manger set at Christmas time. Especially baby Jesus. He was the best. And the sheep. I really liked the sheep.

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Relax, It’s Just God

A Blog for Secular Parents
For parents who aren’t religious, the task of talking to children about religion can be daunting. So daunting, in fact, that the entire subject often gets glossed over or ignored completely. Relax, It’s Just God is a blog (and soon a book) intended to help parents break their silence without breaking a sweat.
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