Nativity body parts at Liverpool Cathedral

It’s the nafftivity

Posted in Comment


Christmas is traditionally the time of year when normal standards of aesthetics go out the window. I’m very pleased to report that England’s cathedrals have not disappointed in this regard when constructing their nativity scenes.

Photo of nativity scene at Canterbury

Canterbury, for instance, appears to have raided the ‘disused mannequin’ bin round the back of a local history museum in order to construct theirs.

Photo of nativity scene in Salisbury

Salisbury appears to have accidently left up its Halloween decorations.

Photo of nativity scene in Lichfield

Meanwhile, Lichfield has decided to contextualise the Holy Family with a ‘hipster loft space’ vibe.

Photo of nativity scene in Winchester

It’s all gone a bit Airfix down in Winchester.

Photo of nativity scene in St Albans

St Albans’ decision to knit their crib scene has led to a very unrealistic representation of the typical physique of the population of the Bethlehem area in the 1st century AD.

Photo of nativity scene in Hereford

Diocesan budget cuts mean Hereford has axed most of the supporting players and opted to replace the star with some sort of skeletal death wing.

Photo of nativity scene in Lincoln

Someone should probably tell Lincoln Cathedral that the nativity of Jesus didn’t take place during the eruption of Vesuvius.

Photo of nativity scene in Coventry

Coventry’s crib appears to be doubling up as a jumble sale, where the only people donating clothing have been Saharan tribal warlords.

Photo of nativity scene in Gloucester

Part Alice in Wonderland, part Pan’s Labyrinth – I’ll have some of whatever Gloucester Cathedral’s crib sub-committee have been smoking.

Photo of nativity scene in Leicester

Scene: Leicester Cathedral, 30th November:
‘Have we missed anything in our prep for Advent?’
‘Tree, carol sheets, calendars. All seems ok.’
‘What about the crib?’
‘Balls. Get to Poundland sharpish, I’ll rifle through lost property. How hard can it be?’
‘Right you are, Mr Dean.’

Photo of nativity scene in Oxford

Christchurch Cathedral, Oxford:
‘Are you sure that’s what the Dean said?’
‘He was born under a table?’
‘Yeah, something like that anyway. It’ll be fine.’

Photo of nativity scene in Sheffield

Finally, Sheffield Cathedral has opted for a more permanent installation. It’s one where St Joseph is the man from the Fisherman’s Friend packet, and Baby Jesus is a Coke can.

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Main photo: Dean Ayres under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Fergus Butler-Gallie

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