So your neighbors all have cute little mangers in their yards, complete with plastic baby Jesus, light-up sheep, and a couple of Wise Men who have probably seen better days. Are you feeling a bit left out? After all, as Pagans, we don't really do the baby Jesus thing. But don't feel bad -- you can still set up a Nativity scene (or something close to it) that represents your Pagan or Wiccan beliefs, and honors the birth of the sun, rather than the son of another religion's god. You can do this either in a large version to display on your lawn, or a smaller scale for indoor festivities.
Think about what the Yule season means. In nearly every tradition, it represents the return of the sun. It's a time of celebrating the continuous turn of the Wheel of the Year, and embracing the coldest aspect of nature. It's a time when we can look back at our ancient Pagan ancestors and see how they marked this time of year when the nights were long and food was scarce.
Instead of a traditional manger, make a framework of evergreen or pine boughs. Tie them together to keep them from falling over in the wind, and arrange them to form a shelter of sorts. On the ground inside, spread hay or straw, loose boughs, dried leaves, etc.
Surround the shelter with representations of the animal kingdom -- deer, rabbits, birds, wolves, cats, etc. You may even wish to leave a bowl out with offerings for your animal friends -- nuts, berries, seeds and more -- to tide them through the chilly months. If your tradition includes otherworldly beings such as gnomes, the Fae, vampires, or elves, feel free to include them as well, but try not to get out of control. The point of the décor is not to overwhelm people with cuteness or fantasy, but explain what it is you believe, and why the season is meaningful to you.
Create a sun symbol, and place it inside the shelter. You can use anything you like to represent the sun -- paint a disc gold, use a bronze sun figure, or even a statue of Ra or other sun gods. If you like, place it in a protective bedding a bit like a cradle, or nestle it in a bed of soft greenery.
Finally, add the blessings of deity. If your tradition honors a God and Goddess, or the three aspects of Maiden, Mother and Crone, add representations of these beings as well. If you like, cast a sacred circle around the entire scene. You can even place symbols of the Watchtowers at the four cardinal directions, surrounding the shelter and providing protection over the newly born sun. Add wreaths, small trees, pentacles, sun wheels or other symbols around your display.