Last Christmas Ally and I put up a manger scene using my vintage nativity figures for the first time. She really liked these old figures and arranged them to her liking, just like I used to do with my Mom when I was young. Ally chose to have all the people and animals bunched up around the manger. You may notice a few non-traditional animals in this scene.
Many families have their own traditions regarding a manger scene. Some wait until Christmas Eve before placing the baby Jesus in his manger. Others add the three wise men later after Christmas Day to illustrate their arrival after the birth. In our house, when I was young, we added extraneous farm animals. Mom and I figured that a stable must have had more animals than the standard cow, donkey, camel, and sheep that come with most nativity sets, so we added duck and chicken figurines that she found at a yard sale. (One year we put up a irreverent Whoville scene for Christmas, complete with paper Putz houses and a pipe cleaner Godzilla terrorizing the Whos, but that's another story.)
After we put the vintage figures out, I told Ally she could add any of her animal toys she wanted. She rummaged around her toy box for a few minutes and added a small stuffed teddy bear; a few plastic horses, goats, and a pig; and my favorite, a unicorn, which she placed by the angels.
I think keeping the unicorn in the manger scene will be our new tradition from now on.