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Photo of nativity scene in Chester
Knitted sheep, Halloween costumes and disused mannequins... yes, it's the nafftivity
Fergus Butler-Gallie reports: 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.

Nativity scene in Lichfield

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

Nativity scene in Winchester

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

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.

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.

Nativity scene in Lincoln

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

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.

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.

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.'

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.'

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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Simon Jenkins
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