A Christmas Crib


Christmas Crib photography by www.paolathomas.com


We’re in full Christmas countdown mode here at chez Thomas and the Minx gets more and more insufferably crazy by the day. (We’re excitedly working through our Jacquie Lawson calendar – this year featuring a Downton-esque Edwardian country house, are you?)

This year I thought it might be fun to put up a Christmas crib. We’re not particularly religious in this household, but I think it’s important for the Minx to understand that there’s something more to Christmas than Santa and sleighbells and I find it sad that, unlike British school kids, she’s never had the opportunity to appear in a school Nativity play.

It also ties back to my (and her) Italian roots. Though they’re becoming increasingly popular in Italy, Christmas trees are only a recent innovation there. Instead each family puts up a wonderfully elaborate ‘presepe’ or Nativity scene, usually set in a little working village, often complete with running water and electric lights.

My aunt is married to a Neapolitan, and the Christmas crib tradition runs particularly strongly in Naples, with a whole street dedicated to shops selling little figurines and statues for cribs of various sizes. I remember visiting as a child and it was magical.

In the little mountain villages close to my Italian family’s hometown of Cuneo, they even set up ‘living cribs’, with actors playing all the parts, not only of the Holy Family and the shepherds etc. but of villagers of bygone times. I visited one many years ago and it was a beautiful, if rather cold, experience, which I one day want to repeat with the Minx.

In the meantime here are a few little crib ideas for you own home.

Christmas Crib photography by www.paolathomas.com

I’ve actually bought this beautiful little Nativity set from Princess Nimble Thimble on Etsy (we also got some additional angels). The quality of these little handmade dolls is superb and as a family we are particularly in love with the tiny Baby Jesus. We just need the Minx to build us a diorama to put them in.

I’d already bought the Princess Nimble Thimble crib when I saw the one at the top of the page from Alessi featuring the world’s most awesome Baby Jesus. It is touching how proud and full of love Mary and Joseph are. This crib also features the world’s cutest star (who knew a star could be cute?) and some very cool sheep. I’m thinking I might add this to MY Christmas list.

Christmas Crib photography by www.paolathomas.com Christmas Crib photography by www.paolathomas.com

Christmas Crib photography by www.paolathomas.com

Finally if you’re in the market for a modern Nativity and are also extremely rich here is the rather splendidly folksy Alexander Girard Nativity, a new nativity set based on an illustration he made which now hangs in his son’s house.

Christmas Crib photography by www.paolathomas.com

What about you chaps? Do any of you put up cribs? Found any other good sets?

Many thanks to Abigail of Abigail*Ryan fame for mentioning the Alessi crib on her Facebook feed. That might end up being quite an expensive visit to Facebook…



  1. nazila says

    Yup. Its carved wood, hinged, one piece. I should find it. Did you see our awesome advent calendar my friend Beth quilted for us? That is my favorite thing we put up for the holidays.

  2. Deri says

    I have religiously (ha!) put the hilariously expensive Alessi crib into Xmas gift guides over the last few years but actually prefer your little homsespun one. Alessi also do eye-wateringly expensive baubles – the Three Kings are rather fine….

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