March 4, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Santa Monica Nativity Scenes to Return

Holiday display coming to 20th and Broadway

By Keldine Hull

The holidays are in full swing in Santa Monica. The Santa Monica Nativity Scenes at Calvary Baptist Church returns on December 8 and will be on display until January 4, 2020. Located at the corner of 20th Street and Broadway, visitors will see the display on their right- hand side if they head east on Broadway from 19th Street.

The life-size display has been a part of the local holiday tradition in Santa Monica for over 65 years, particularly at its height of popularity throughout the 1960s and 1970s when the scenes were located along Ocean Avenue at Palisades Park. 

The original Nativity Scenes and any overnight displays were banned from Palisades Park by the City of Santa Monica in 2012. A long-running legal battle ensued after Santa Monica’s Nativity Scenes, the non-profit behind the installation, sued the City with charges of “violating our constitutional rights of free speech and free practice of religion” by banning the Nativity Scenes. In 2015 the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the city forcing the displays to be relocated to private property. 

This year’s display features 14 dioramas that depict various scenes from the New Testament including Joseph’s Dream, Rest on the Road and The Nativity. 

According to Santa Monica Nativity Scenes, the display was created in 1953 to attract people to Santa Monica and spread love throughout the community. “The chamber of commerce and local businesses agreed that the Nativity Scenes would bring families from all over Los Angeles, and would benefit local business. After only a few years of the tradition, Santa Monica city council voted for the city to be known as the City of the Christmas Story. Today we keep the tradition alive,” the website continued. 

To learn more about the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes, visit: http://santamonicanativityscenes.org/home

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