A San Diego-based company is ruffling feathers with a new product: the “Modern Nativity,” a reimagined, 2016 version of the birth of Jesus, complete with hipster-style Wise Men and all of the bells and whistles of the millennial age.
Touted on the company’s Shopify page as “the coolest Nativity set you’ll see all year,” the modern-day scene includes Joseph – rocking a man bun and a denim shirt – taking a selfie of his family as he kneels next to baby Jesus in his manger and Mary, who is holding a latte cup and striking a “Duck Face” pose. The roof of their little stable is equipped with solar panels.
The three Wise Men are all riding Segways – each sporting a trendy style, including suspenders and a bow tie. They come bearing gifts for Jesus, packaged in Amazon Prime boxes. The Nativity also features a teenage shepherd, holding his smartphone and wearing earbuds and skinny jeans. His animals include a sheep clad in a festive holiday sweater and an organic-branded cow chomping on gluten-free feed.
The Modern Nativity is the brainchild of the Wright Brothers, who run their office out of B Street in downtown San Diego. They came up with the Nativity scene back in August and began selling the product, which is priced at $130 per set, about a week ago. In an interview Tuesday, the brothers told NBC 7 they've sold several hundred sets daily since launching their product.
But despite the high volume of sales, not everyone likes the Modern Nativity.
The creators said some people are criticizing the product for being sacrilegious and mocking the story of Christmas.
“We’ve gotten everything from, ‘Oh, you’re going to Hell’ to ‘You guys are totally reinventing the way we think about Christmas,’” Modern Nativity co-founder Casey Wright told NBC 7.
The Wrights are also being called out by millennials and hipsters who don’t agree with how the Nativity characters were styled.
Wright told NBC 7 he and his brother were raised in a Christian household and the product is all in good fun, and was not designed to offend those who are religious.
In San Diego, some residents told NBC 7 they found the Modern Navity hilarious, while some found the idea of the reimagined scene disrespectful.
"I believe it's offensive and we have to respect each other’s' beliefs and religion," said one San Diegan.
"I think it's cool. Definitely modern day," said another passerby. "I'm not offended at all."
NBC 7 reached out to the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego for comment on this product. Diocese spokesperson Kevin Eckery said this: "We don't really have anything to say. We're not interested in promoting controversy to help their product."