Nativities Display Brings Christmas Spirit to BYU

Nativities Display Brings Christmas Spirit to BYU

The BYU Bookstore has a new display with more than 300 nativities from around the world. People are taking a break from their holiday shopping to admire these nativities of all shapes and sizes.

More than 300 nativity scenes are set up, with some made of materials such as fabrics, horseshoe nails and recycled Coke cans. They come from places all over the world, like Thailand, the Amazon and Botswana. One was made by Kenyan children out of mud and dung, and another is so tiny it fits on the head of a pin.

As impressive as this expansive exhibit is, it only includes about one-third of the over 1,000 nativities that belong to Orem resident Betsy Christensen.

Betsy collected nativities as she traveled the world. She first put her collection on display in 1983 as a gift to the community. Now, her daughter Jennie Brazel is paying tribute to her by putting them out in displays like the BYU store’s “Nativities from Around the World.”

“It’s always a really good feeling,” Brazel said. “It’s kind of a nice way to counteract all the Santa Claus barrage of things hitting everybody. We’ve found something that reflects what we’re really supposed to be thinking about.”

BYU Bookstore Marketing Director JR Ricks said there have been about 1,000 people coming to see the exhibit each day since it started.

“I wanted to do a promotion for Christmas, but I didn’t want it to always be just sales of a product,” Ricks said. “I want it to still be a Christ-centered Christmas in some way.”

Ricks recommends that visitors plan to spend about 30 minutes in the display to be able to see everything.

The BYU Bookstore will be hosting the display until Jan. 4.

Katie Embley

Katie Sue Embley is at BYU working on a double major in News Media Communications and Spanish Studies. Contact her at:

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