Friday, December 19, 2008

The Nativity Scene

Today's Wonder of the World is...the Nativity Scene!

Photo from
Like this one!
You can buy it at Etsy, here, but it's the same exact one my mom sewed for us when Sarah was born. It's made of fabric and all the pieces are stuffed with fluff, so Baby Jesus and the gang can be chewed on by little mouths or even fly across the room without a single worry! My kids played with the set for hours, and oh, if he could only talk, the stories that Baby Jesus could tell! Like his piggy back rides on the king's back, or the time the sheep got together and demanded their turn in the manger. Or the day he tiptoed away and went camping with Barbie and GI Joe.
(Don't worry. He could tell his birth story too.)

I've always admired the importance that the Jewish tradition places on all the hands-on stuff--the menorah, the dreidels (I love that song, even if I'm not Jewish,) the Seder meal--so full of meaning and tradition.
Handling the parts of a story (and sometimes even eating it) is such a great way to teach the story and remember it.
St. Francis of Assisi knew all about that. He's the one who introduced the whole idea of Nativity scenes back in 1223.

Nativity scenes can be beautiful. Plus, they're fun!
After Sam stopped swallowing Barbie shoes, we added a more detailed nativity scene to our home.

With Playmobile!
Try to set this out in your house and not play with it. It's irresistible.

Nativity scenes don't have to be full of little pieces to be meaningful. Here's one of my favorites.

So simple and tiny.

The Christmas after my sis-in- law Swanee joined the family, she gave me this Nativity set for Christmas.

Isn't it amazing? She made it in a ceramics class! Can you believe it?

She gave me a handmade 15 piece Nativity set, which she poured and sanded and glazed herself, and do you know what I gave her?
A scarf.
It's sad but true.
Bad me.

One last nativity scene to share...

I found it in a French antique/junque shop back in our French life. I LOVE the pure white of the set Swanee made me, and I also like the wild colors of this one.

And the faces! I'm not sure which piece is my favorite. Baby Jesus, who looks so comfy in that manger?
Or a shepherd...

Or a king...

Or this mystery man with the red hat.

Do you know who he's supposed to be? I've always thought he's another shepherd, but I could be wrong. That beautiful face always reminds me of a French translation of one of the beatitudes, Heureux les d├ębonnaires, Blessed are the debonair.
I love that! I hope you're feeling pretty debonair yourself today!

Before you go, tell me, if you're celebrating Christmas, do you have a special nativity set that you treasure? Or have you ever been part of a live Nativity scene? I've never done that and I'd love to hear about it!

Have a wonder-full Friday and a super weekend, y'all!
Love, Becky

PS. Since I can't seem to let go of yesterday's post on holiday weirdness, enjoy these singing cats!

PS again...Don't forget Angela's give-away!


Leah said...

Hey Becky! Thanks for the cat video... it was the weird hit of the morning at our house! The kids are still laughing.

Suzie said...

why why cant I watch videos at work? Now I will forvere wonder what those cats were singing about

lotusloq said...

I love the creche scenes! To me, it's the reason for the season and so I like to show that off. I have quite a few. My favorites are the new one I have by Willow Tree and the german one I have that spins when you light the candles around it. My kids especially love that one too. It's just cool! We had the playmobile one too, but the kids never wanted to put it away and so baby Jesus and the three wise men, etc., all mingle with the other playmobile we have in the castles and the barn or wherever. They are very social. The donkey particularly likes the barn. haha!

Could you do me a favor and stop by my blog today and help me with my name conundrum?

Kat said...

Okay, that cat video gave me the heebie jeebies. Creepy.

Thanks for the reminder about St. Francis. I forgot he introduced the nativities.

Growing up my parents had a HUGE nativity set. I loved that thing. I still look forward to seeing it all set up every year. :)

LW said...

Both of your Nativity sets are beautiful…
What a sweet sister-in -law to make something so wonderful for you and
Your family to enjoy year after year…


Rosemary said...

Beautiful nativity scenes Becky.
Love the cat video!!
Have a great weekend!

TattingChic said...

Lovely! I love nativity scenes, too!

adrienne said...

That last set looks very much like the one had when I was little.

I enjoyed the kitties!

Renee said...

I wrote about a nativity in my post today too.

The one you have from your sister in law is the one I have only my mother painted it all colourful. I love mine too.

Thanks for the fun posts.

Love Renee

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I love mine--it's carved out of olive wood and from Israel. My mother handed it down to me when she went whole hog for Hallmark only in her house. Lucky me, is all I can say! It's beautiful, simple and looks perfect on our mantle.

May Vanderbilt said...

I LOVE Nativity scenes. When we were little, we played with the kiddie plastic one we had until the little faces rubbed off the figurines. My sister and I would fight over who got to arrange it just so.

Now I have a very sleek, minimalist one that I adore.

Anonymous said...

Hi Becky
Merry Christmas! After looking at your Nativity sets, it reminded me of the ones we collected while overseas. We have one Korean Nativity made out of wood and the people are Korean dressed in their tradtional Korean clothing. The other one is an Italian precepe' which I have to use with a converter box to get the lights and the waterfall to work! My electrical engineer husband says he will convert the electricity to USA whenver he is not playing on the computer! This precepe has figurines which we selected to go around Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus. Some of the figurines are not only the wise men, but a bagpiper, a laundry lady, a drunk, a priest, and of course a pizza maker and a Punchinello! There are also some sheep and a dog and a cat. I love it! It is my favorite purchase from Italy. Our landlord in Italy was very upset when he came to look at it and saw the baby Jesus in the manger before Christmas Eve! He promptly took it out and laid him behind the precepe and telling us in Italian that Jesus should not be put in the manger until Christmas Eve! We now abide by that rule and put Him in the drawer until December 24th on the Korean chest where our precepe sits. Tammy Whitley

EllenP said...

Hi Becky. My son Matthew played the baby Jesus in our nativity play at church the year he was born. It was the sweetest thing ever. I've missed reading your blog all week because I've been taking care of him (8 years old now) since he came down with pneumonia on Monday. I'm glad I got to read you today and see all of those nativity sets. They always seems like such peaceful scenes and make me feel a little more peaceful too.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I have always been partial to the Wise Men! They were the most intriquing to me when I was little. I love your French set.

Angela K. Nickerson said...

Ok, the singing cats CRACK me up! And thanks for mentioning the giveaway.

Ya'll enter now, ya hear! :)

Sherry said...

The nativity scenes are beautiful. All of my children are grown now, but my daughter reminded me the other day that they used to have to take turns putting Jesus in the manger in our biggest nativity set.

paris parfait said...

Someone I know had that same fabric Nativity scene that was virtually indestructible. Quite a collection you've showcased here. Hope you're enjoying the holidays. xo

Susan Tuttle said...

Amazing! -- what memories you have dredged up for me -- I sewed that exact same one when I was a little girl, just learning to sew!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!


CC said...

You gave her a scarf!?!

If only you had known.....

What a great job. And I love Nativity scenes.

JaxPop said...

My dad built a Nativity set years ago to put up in their front yard. He slotted & tagged everything so it all so it could be taken down & reassembled each year. It's so big you can literally walk inside among the wooden 4'tall figures. He's been gone for over 5 years but my 78 year old mom insists on dragging it out & assembling it every year even though it's heavy & cumbersome. (She never listens to me.)

Deb bought a new Nativity set this year. It's so lifelike with the fabrics, chains, etc. The camels even have something resembling real hair. It's very nice - but I didn't find the price to be particularly amusing.

By the way - we're finally out of Chicago & visiting our kids & grandkids in Pa. Back to Florida in a couple of days.

Justus M. Bowman said...

Very nice post. I really enjoyed the variety of scenes and, " Baby Jesus and the gang can be chewed on by little mouths or even fly across the room without a single worry!"

Also, I know how you feel about not giving as much as receiving. It's tough. :(

Michele Thornton said...

I think the red-hat man is Robin Hood. Could he have escaped from a Sherwood Forest diorama?

Awake In Rochester said...

That Nativity set is beautiful! I also like the table it's on.

Alex said...

Good evening, Becky. Love the cat cute! :) I like the wooden nativity scene. Mom painted me a cute ceramic one this year. Thanks for sharing.

Silicon Valley Diva said...

My parents had a very special nativity collection that was very special. My aunt had made it and some of my Christmas memories are of my mother putting up the display, complete with the faux hay and everything. It really completed the Christmas experience for me as a child!