What your nativity scene says about you

A fun listicle I pitched before the holidays about the various nativity scenes I saw all over the internet

You’re just looking for a classic scene to pacify the parents. No one needs to know you stopped going to church the day you moved out and they sure don’t need to know you scooped this piece of garbage up on your commute to welcome them to your good Christian home. You’re pretty confident you can name the core group, but if anyone asks you what you’re doing for epiphany, you’ve already decided impressing your wife’s homophobic dad isn’t worth learning a new fucking holiday. I wish you luck and applaud your resolve.

You’re the type of person who sends Christmas cards the day after Thanksgiving and they’re depicting you and your cat doing something “silly.”  In actuality, it’s always your cat looking unbothered after you’ve staged a grand scene, but you don’t mind because the halfhearted chuckle you get from a cousin who has long forgotten your familial attachment before tossing it in the recycling bin is worth it.  You also chose this set up because your cat is the same shade of tabby as the Jesus kitten, which persuaded you either consciously or unconsciously and should warn you that you need a two-legged friend.  By yourself a vacuum to suck up that cat hair and drink less wine, we’re all starting to worry about you.

You have Mexican heritage, yet you’ve never met any family that still lives there, and you don’t speak a word of español. Whether you bought it yourself or it was gifted to you by one of your (definitely white) friends, you think its charming.  Despite the confusing visual metaphor of the birth of a deity shown through the style of a holiday from a different century and hemisphere, you believe there is a special symmetry in the set.  You’re wrong but no one will point that out to you because if you had people in your life that were honest with you, they would have told you to throw out this eyesore the second it rested on your counter.

The minimalist nativity scene was made for the art critic inside each of us.  It offers no critical analysis nor any deeper meaning than what’s at face value, but you don’t care, you just bought it because you think it presents something deeper about you.  Minimalism is supposed to strip away artistic flourish to promote utility above all, so in actuality, this set is an oxymoron.  From the religious view, this implies that not only were the shepherds, wise men, and God’s surrogate parents vital to Christian doctrine, it means they provide as much utility as Jesus himself.  From the secular perspective, it’s a joke because if you wanted to strip away the flourishes, religion wouldn’t serve a purpose at all.  This thought has never entered your mind, however, and you plan to show this to everyone who has the misfortune to enter your living room (which you call a sitting room) and hear you drabble on about Banksy.

You’re a self-proclaimed Potterhead who is too deep into the franchise to pull yourself out now.  Despite the countless instances of J.K. Rowling’s transphobia and the realizations that several parts of the book were problematic, if not outright racist, the visible Deathly Hallows tattoo needs to be justified.  I’m glad you were into reading before all your friends were as kids, but this confusing Claymation scene needs to expelliarmus-ed into the garbage ASAP.  (also sorry about not getting laid this year)

You went to Jerusalem, but couldn’t bring back the “beautiful” nativity scenes you saw on the street market.  You did manage to take some pictures and bought the closest style to the originals you could find to trick your holier than thou friends.  Barbara remarked that she might have seen this very set when her and Robert visited 6 months before you, but decided to opt for the pricier version instead.  “All about supporting God’s chosen people” she assures.  Debra, on the other hand, was enamored with it and couldn’t express loudly enough with her husband (also Robert) in the room how she wanted to buy the same one when he finally decides to take her out there.  Robert 2 sat quietly fuming the rest of the night.  Good on you for recognizing how to pass a convincing fake, but maybe you should just get better friends.

You saw someone make this on Tiktok and decided you could do the same thing.  All it takes is cutting out the figures, putting them in the right spot, and spray painting over it, how hard could it be?  Turns out, pretty fucking hard because they don’t tell you, you’re supposed to do the black layer first, then do two more layers under the stencils to make it look like the video, and why didn’t they tell you all this shit in the 60 seconds rather than making you do all this work.  Now after 3 separate trips to hardware store (across town), you’ve decided “you know what, fuck this I’ll find the same thing on Etsy and Dorothy won’t know shit about it.”  So that’s what you did, sorry about your wasted Saturday.

Just buy some Legos instead, that’s what you clearly want.

For some reason, you want your doorframe to be improbably ornate, yet still ugly and unusable.  What is your endgame here?  Do you want people to remark on Thomas Kincaid’s rejected figurines every time they enter the room?  1. They won’t be able to see it and 2. If they really want to, you’ll need to reach up to that jumbled, spiky mess above your head and pray the virgin Mary doesn’t give you a surprise lobotomy.

You have taste and you don’t give a damn.  Why are most of the characters missing?  Because you don’t want them there.  Why do they all look like women and have those hats?  Because the men look busted anyway.  Why are there cute animals next to an infant Jesus Christ that could be the same age as everyone else?  Because biblical literalism is for people who don’t believe in dinosaurs and that cow is the entire reason you bought the set.  Your house is probably filled with quirky shit like this and I want to hang out with you.  

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