Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Nativity

I have never been one for collections. Many people are easy to buy gifts for because of their passion for a certain theme. Kev asked me one time what I collect and I said, "Dust." But over the last few years, I have acquired a desire for nativity depictions. I have also collected quite a few angels and snowmen, which have nothing to do with each other.

Since this blog is private, I realized it was senseless to join the annual Christmas Bloggy Tour of Homes, since it would only serve to frustrate non-members who would attempt to visit me and find they couldn't. So I decided to show you my nativity collection, as well as the other two previously mentioned.

This is the first set I ever had, and it was my only one for many years. As you may have deduced from our blogging friendships, I am not artistic in any sense of the word. Unless you count sewing, knitting, crocheting, counted cross stitching, crewel embroidering, etc. as art. But when it comes to a paint brush or any such device, I am hopeless. A friend helped me with this project - I went the easy way out - not individually painted pieces, and I can't remember what this process was called. I am certain one of you knows. Another friend's husband made the stable. I used to have it on my coffee table and it was never in danger, because my kids were old enough to understand, "Please don't play with the breakable pieces." When the grandkids began to be mobile, I realized I needed to put it up high --

and replaced it on the coffee table with this - - - they have really enjoyed this Fisher Price set. When the angel on top of the stable is pressed down, it plays "Away in a Manger." It seldoms looks like this, though, because they really play with it.

I found this one two years ago - it is designed to look like play dough, but is a rubbery type of material. Or the pieces could be hung on the tree.

This is a very simple set, with no movable parts. Its fascination for children is a button you can push to tell the entire Christmas story in a nutshell - including the "Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's Messiah, which I heard Feisty singing today.

The next two I picked up along the way and I took them to display in my office before my "retirement." I wrote about that last year - how we couldn't decorate the outer office any more, but nobody could prevent me from making my own space express the "reason for the season."

I love this one, not only because of its intrinsic beauty, but for two other reasons. My grandma had a simple one with angels which she set on a space heater. It tinkled and dinged every time the heat kicked in. It didn't need the candles to make it work. The second reason is that this was a gift from Kevin at a time in his life when it was a very touching surprise. He had heard me mention how much I liked it when we ate at the Cracker Barrel one day. I am having a hard time finding the correct sized candles the last two years.

I made this crewel embroidery picture many years ago, and I still love it. The unique frame was something I found at a garage sale, if my memory serves me correctly.

This one on the left was a gift from my sister-in-law a year or two ago and I just love it - it is different from anything I've ever seen. The JOY figures came from Miles Kimball last year.

I found this one at Hobby Lobby during the after Christmas sales. It is unique - I wish I could describe it adequately.

I fell in love with the Willow Tree figures last year when I saw them at Barb's house. I found a really good price for the starter set and ordered them. I hope I can get some additional pieces as the years go by.

I found this tiny little set last year and promptly lost control of it this year when Feisty discovered it, as well as the next one (see the last post if you want a better explanation of that story!) These figures are 1-2 inches and even smaller. The second set is called the thimble set. These pieces are probably 3 inches. It also came from Miles Kimball. They have the cutest things.

I'm also fond of counting down the days with the kids, so have advent calendars in various modes. This one is on the refrigerator (yes, still the old one without any other magnets on it any more). We haven't kept up with it very well, so I am using it as a decoration instead.

It's fun to light the candle each day and let it burn down until the date disappears. Unfortunately, a week ago I lit it, went upstairs, and came down to find a whole week had disappeared. We've just now caught up with the candle again.

The angels and snowmen adorn opposite ends of the shelves at the end of the family room. They make me smile. I wish I remembered where I got them all.

Last of all, and in no particular category - my new centerpiece that I found at Hobby Lobby at a BEFORE Christmas half-price sale.

Every year when we practice our cantata, at least one song sticks in my head all week long between rehearsals. This year it is this one:

Lord, Hear our Cry;

Come, heal our land.

Breathe life into these dry and thirty souls.
Lord, hear our prayer;
Forgive our sin.
As we call on Your name, will You make this a place
for Your glory to dwell?
Open the blind eyes,
Unlock the deaf ears;
Come to Your people, as we draw near.
Hear us from heaven;
Touch our generation.
We are your people crying out in desperation.
Lord, hear our cry,
Come Emmanuel
Lord hear our prayer,
Come, Emmanuel
Hear us from heaven.


Diane@Diane's Place said...

I love nativities and snowmen too, though I don't have too many of either. I'm not much of a collector myself.

I do like your new centerpiece and it was a bonus that it was half off!

Have a great rest of your week, Dawn. :o)

Love and hugs,


Nancy said...

WOW you do have a lot of nativity sets and I love them all... so unique! I always put a play set in the Christmas center in my classroom and the kindergarten kids loved it. I'm not sure how I got away with it, all those years in public school but I never had one parent complaint.

I love the snowmen too. I have several and just leave them out during January and February.

I hope you have a great rest of the week! BLESSINGS!

Mimi said...

I just love your collection of nativity sets...
from the looks of this song your Cantata will be beautiful...
we have done ours at an assisted living...and will do it again this sunday at a Nursing Home...
Then at Church Next Sunday...
There's nothing like the feeling you get when you sing in a Cantata is there!!!

Maine Mom said...

I love looking at different nativities. Thank you for sharing. One of my favorite nativities at the Creche Exhibit this year was a snowman one. It was so beautiful!

I like your magnet nativity. That would be a great countdown activity for my kids. I'll have to see if I can find one.

Mary said...


All of your nativities are lovely. I have one and have never had space to set it up. I'm hoping this year it can go in the entertainment center. It was given to me and I do enjoy it. Of course without Christ, it isn't Christmas.

You ARE a talented lady. Do you know how many people cannot do all the things you do with your hands. God blessed you with talent. Not everyone is talented in the same way. I cannot paint, but would love to. I can crochet, knit, write, do needlepoint and embroidery. Mom and my sister got the artist talents. I received others. So, we are all talented in different ways. And another blessing - you are a wonderful grandma.

Enjoyed my visit, as always and am grateful to be counted among those who can view your blog. Take care and enjoy this season of giving.

Love and blessings,

groovyoldlady said...

2 things I have always had a penchant for are nativity sets and teapots. However, I have a severe dislike for dusting, so I'm down to two teapots and 3 nativity sets.

I love yours. This whole post just made me feel all warm and fuzzy. :)

Midlife Mom said...

What lovely nativities!!! That is a wonderful collection! We have the little Fisher Price one for the grandkids too. Your tree is beautiful, mine is still bare but hopefully today I will get some ornaments on it! The grands are coming on the bus after school so maybe they will help me. Love the pictures of the twins under the tree! How cute is that! The one of you and Hubby and the girls is just beautiful!!!!!!!!! I love it! We aren't having a cantata this year but we are having a music night with numerous groups and also solos plus congregational singing. I miss the beautiful cantatas that we used to have when our choir had 40 people in it!

Robin in New Jersey said...

I love your sets Dawn! It is a dream of mine to collect Nativities. Maybe someday. Right now I only have one.

I used to collect teapots, but told my family not to buy me anymore. I ran out of room and like groovyoldlady above, don't like dusting them all!

Robin said...

What a great idea you had - having your own Christmas tour! I love all your nativity sets. And just for the record, I do believe needlework, crosstitch, sewing, etc. is an artform!
I have bought each of my grandbabies the Fischer Price nativity sets for Christmas - I think they are adorable. And I love the spinning/candle set. My grandmother used to have one of those.
I am the narrator in our contata this year.
Thanks for sharing your lovely Christmas decorations - they are just beautiful!

Hootin' Anni said...

If there IS such a'd be FANTABulous!!!! I love 'em all. I too especially like the last one that is similar to your grandmothers. I don't know why...whether is the colors or the actual 'feel' you get viewing it or what, but that one is super.

I had to laugh at the 'collecting dust'....will have to remember that one. Mine was always collecting fat cells.

nancygrayce said...

Dawn, I love the Nativity sets! In the picture of my tree, you can see my Nativity set on my coffee table. I love it! It is old and honestly I can't remember if it came with me or with Russell! We must be blending into that one flesh! Sorry about your laptop. I'm sure if I had a laptop, I'd mess it up too!

Needled Mom said...

Oh Dawn, I wish you could have gone to one of the luncheons that I went to this week. It was a lady who has collected Nativity sets throughout the years. She had over 190 sets!!!!! I could not keep my eyes off of them. You came to my mind immediately. One was made completely in a Chicklets gum box and had all the animals. They were absolutely stunning.

I see that we do double up on a few of our sets. I, too, love the rustic one. Its simplicity is very attractive.

Isn't it nice to have them up to show the "reason" for the season?

Have a great weekend. Stay warm as I hear you are in for another winter blast. Hugs.

Sioux said...

Love your manger scenes. We heard Messiah 3 times this year. It is so beautiful, so hopeful, so joyful.

Linda said...

What beautiful collections Dawn. I love the little bitty Nativity. I have a fascination with tiny things.
Your home much look just beautiful right about now.

Tammy said...

Dawn...first of all, I absolutely LOVE the photo of you and your husband with the grandkids...that is so absolutely sweet!

You truly have beautiful Nativities...
I have one special one and haven't put it up yet on our piano, but hope to this weekend.
I love all of your Christmas decorations and your home looks so warm and inviting!


Christa said...

I love your family picture, the girls are so cute. You all look just fantastic. Love the nativities and the stories behind them. I have about 3, which I will get out when I decorate. Just got the fisher price one for the grandkids last year.
Like the bird house in the snow.When we lived in the snow the kids and I would string popcorn and cranberries and wrap around the little tree in front of the window. The fox and racoons also liked it as well as the birds.
Have a great weekend.

Mimi said...

I forgot to mention that I really like the picture of grammie and papaw with the girls as your header picture!!!

Laurie in Ca. said...


Your collection is beautiful, each and every one. My heart smiled when I saw the Fisher Price Nativity here. I just bought two of those over the past two weeks. My grandkids just love playing with it.
And I just love Fisher Price little people. My 37 year old twin sons grew up with them and each laundry day I would find a handful (their pocket full) of them in the washer, fresh and clean. They took them everywhere with them. Special memories and now to watch the grandkids with them is icing on the memory cake. The picture of you two with the kids is so precious. We are blessed aren't we, to have these little people in our lives. Have a wonderful weekend.

Love and Hugs, Laurie

A Hint of Home said...

All your nativity sets are just lovely. You have quite a collection. I didn't know Fisher Price had such a cute set.
Merry Christmas to your family. The picture of you and the kids is precious.

nannykim said...

Wow, for a person who only collects dust you have certainly made up for lost time! I love the little tikes one--the one that plays away in the manger (I forget if it is little tikes---playschool, or what!!! YIKES)

Izzy 'N Emmy said...

Wow, you have quite the collection! I love all of the nativities. I am int snowman a little bit but find myself getting rid of more and more of them each year.
Beautiful post!

Judith said...

Again I thank you for sharing, this time, your nativity scenes. I especially like the stories of them, and how I agree it is a sad thing indeed, that stores and places are not allowed to acknowledge the reason for our celebrating. But you know what, you and I can. Everywhere I go. doing things getting ready for Christmas, I am spreading "Merry Christmases" all over the place.

The little ones, and the not so little ones are so pretty in their Christmas outfits. They all look like they are doing fine.

Here I go again: Merry Christmas!

Hootin' Anni said...

Well, I just wanted you to know that I passed on the Christmas Spirit award to you today. Come by when you can and pick it up if you'd like.

Sammy said...

Wow, what a collection! And they're all beautiful! You must have such fun decorating your house every year during this time.

I hope you and the rest of your family are doing well, Dawn. Have a great week!


Barb said...

What a nice collection of nativities, Dawn. I'm glad you found a good price for Willow Tree starter set. When Rob gave me mine, he bought the whole set at once. I hate to think what he spent - I'll bet there are amazingly good prices on eBay.

The centerpiece you found at Hobby Lobby is gorgeous - I've never seen such a pretty red candle. Maybe I need to find time to go back to HL.

PEA said...

Such beautiful nativities! I also have the Willow Tree starter set and just love it. I'll have to start looking for one of those children's nativity sets for Lily:-) Your snowmen are so delightful as well and that centerpiece is just gorgeous!! xoxo