Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Nativity Sets

I have a couple nativity sets though neither is particularly full of sentimental value to me. I can't remember where I got the first one but it's the teeniest, tiniest, bite-sized nativity you've ever seen, with baby Jesus being about the size of a pea--a split pea that is.

The other I got at Walmart for about $9.95 because I figured I really ought to have a nativity set and as I didn't really like any of the sets I saw in the stores, one was as good as another so I went for cheapest.  Ten years later it's still not fancy or pretty but it's what we've got.

Now maybe if I'd seen one of these (and had plenty of money) it would be a different story.

How many nativity sets do you have? I know people who collect them until their homes are overrun with magi and barnyard animals. This faux-origami porcelain nativity from Gumps is really quite the thing, isn't it?

If you have small children and want to have the pieces last until the next year you may want this wooden block nativity. While it's not fancy I kind of like the simplicity. The nativity story dice also listed on the site is quite a nice idea.

Then there is this wooden triptych nativity.
And a nativity carved from a Tagua nut in Equador.

And a stone nativity carved in Kenya.

Or a Japanese imperial family.

Maybe a nativity made from recycled metal pop can strips from Zibabwe is more your style?

Or an African style family from Ghana?

I particularly like this wooden nesting set

and this Peruvian clay set with it's modern-yet-traditional look.

It's rather fascinating how one story can be translated so many ways, using whatever materials are on hand.  But my very favorite is the nativity my mother has. It's so simple and I love the way Joseph has his arm around Mary (the two figures are separate) as if it's really a family scene. The picture is hard to see but you'll just have to take my word for it.


Janelle said...

My mother-in-law is a nativity fanatic. She doesn't have room to display all of them every year, so she rotates her displays each year, keeping a few favorites always in the mix. She even has a Veggie Tales nativity set, which is great for the grandkids.

Last year, my mom gave my the Willow Tree nativity set. She gave us the magi, the animals, the Holy Family, shepherds, and the stable. I was so grateful. I didn't have a "real" nativity set before that, and I love the Willow Tree simplicity, but it would have taken several years for me to acquire each of those pieces on my own.

RH (aka Lucy) said...

Check here for mine:

It's my favorite one. I took it to school once when I worked there and somebody who also worked there told me it was blasphemy.

Give me a break! Some people just have no personality.

Inkling said...

I still don't have figures that I love, but I have a barn that is worth more than any palace to me. My grandpa made it for me when I got my own place out of old barn wood from his uncle's place where he spent his growing up years.

My mom has decided to start giving me the Willow Tree figures that are too big for my barn. I thought she was done last year when she gave me the three main characters, but this year she has added some. I'm thinking that she's decided I need to collect it. Personally, I'd rather have something less mass produced and more meaningful because of how it was made or who made it. Oh well. It's the thought that counts, right?

Raejean said...

We have five nativities, which works out well so everyone can set one up. A friend gave us our first one when they were moving, it's good - but nothing fancy.

We have a few smaller ceramic ones that we were given as gifts, one of them is less than 2" tall.

My new favorite was a gift from my in-laws. It's a wooden handmade beauty from Indonesia where they served a mission recently.

The Source said...

I have two nativities. One that our oldest son bought for me when he was only about 6 years old. He saved his money and purchased it at the Secret Santa store at school...and then wrapped it himself and hid it under the tree and talked nonstop about his big surprise for weeks!!

And the other...our daughter made when she was three. It's crafted from...empty toilet paper tubes. Very adorable. Baby Jesus lies in a manger fashioned of half a toilet paper roll. Yep.

Flea said...

I had the same nativity the first 18 years of marriage. This last Christmas I inherited a creche from my grandmother, all the pieces glued into a wooden stable. It's hiding in the garage still, waiting, with everything else, to come out this weekend.

I love your mom's.

Shannon said...

I don't have a nativity set, not exactly. I have a set of four rectangular plates that fit together in a plate rail to make the nativity. I also have a wooden one very similar to the one oat the top of the post except mine doesn't have the bark on it, instead it is carved into the shape of fir trees, I got that one at a Christmas market. The last one I have is is a tiny German candle pyramid only about 6 inches tall. I am still on the search for one that I like AND can afford. I found a raku pottery one a few years ago that i loved but at more than a thousand dollars I will have to be content with the memory.

cndymkr / jean said...

Our first year of marriage all I asked for was a nativity. It wasn't expensive but it was beautiful - still is. I really liked the nesting one, very nice.

planetnomad said...

I actually love nativities when they are well done but I never have gotten one I really like. (I adore all the ones you've featured here!) But then a friend made us one from origami, glued into a box like a diaroma so it's lasted. And another friend gave me a Peanuts version which is pretty fun. Best of all, every year my son makes me a lego version, which always have lots of personality. Here's this year's:

Anonymous said...

You should stop by the LDS church out in Palmer this weekend. More nativities than you can imagine, thoughtfully arranged. Plus: Music and dance presentations from talented community members. Another great reason to visit the Valley!

Carolyn said...

We have 7 sets, including one that is from my childhood and 2 nativities that are minatures, one for each of the kids' rooms. Our favorite, though, is a one-piece, hand-carved Mother of Pearl nativity from Israel. It was a gift to my mother back in the 1960s from an elderly lady in the Sunday School class Mom taught. My kids are already fighting over who will get it when I am no longer around, and I'm only in my 40's! I just tell them it's going to go to a grandchild. ;-)

jubilee said...

Thank you for sharing these fantastic nativities with us. Makes me want to do a search for more!

Nanette said...

They are pretty. I have a Nativity set that is ceramic. My grandmother made it for me. I remember her painting the sets. She got out an old Bible and tried to copy the colors in the pictures. This is a treasured gift and it over 40 years old. I think of Nana when I put it out each year.

Robin Sue said...

We have a children's set so that my kids can play with it. I got it in Germany and they can build it all up and tear it down again. We hide Jesus until Christmas morning and they are thrilled when they find Him there in the early am of Christmas. Here is a picture of it.

Some of the Nativity Sets you showed us are amazing, so many different cultures and designs. I enjoyed reading this post!

Jen Rouse said...

I have one nativity set that is ceramic, but kind of cheap. Bought it cheap on purpose so if the kids broke it, it wouldn't matter. My 2-year-old broke one of the wise men last week and I shrugged it off, said too bad, and went back to what I was doing. Later I went and checked on her and she was so miserable about the broken wise man that she was curled up in a ball in her bed with her blankie, and refused to come out for 20 minutes! I went ahead and pieced him back together as well as I could, cheap or not, just to make her feel better.

Krista said...

I have a one piece nativity set that the grandfather of one of my youth group kids made when I was in college. I was given it after a church auction where I bid, but couldn't afford the higher bid. The older gentleman sitting next to me then started bidding on it and when he won he gave it to me.
It's carved with a little jigsaw blade (?) out of a solid piece of wood. Here's the silhouette in my Christmas post from a few years back.
And no, we don't even live in that place anymore!

I would really like to get the Willow Tree nativity set eventually, but I don't even have a place to display it so perhaps it's just as well!

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

Wow, it's amazing how the Christmas story has inspired so many different expressions. I like the nesting nativity too.

I blogged about nativities today. Heh!

Linda said...

I have something like 32 nativities. Each one is unique, and each gets put out every year. I have two Nativities that stay out all year long in the Kitchen on the mantle behind the wood cookstove - just to remind me what life is all about. This year, my dear Mother made me a table runner with the Nativity on it. And we have special friends doing the 12 days of Christmas on us... I'm getting a different piece of the Nativity every night. I'm not fanatic about collecting - Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday, and having so many reminders of Christ around my house seems to make the season.

I particularly love watching my 2 year old son drive the little people busses up to the nativity to load Mary and "Jo-Jo" and all the other characters into the two busses just so that they can tour the scene. Sometimes he has a party on the roof of the nativity with the characters dancing with the angel. He makes sure that he hits the angel so that she plays "Away in a Manger" before having his dance party. He's truly a riot.

Amanda@runninghood said...

oh these are gorgeous! I so want to have another pretty nativity set around the house other than our little people nativity. Glad to find your blog. can't figure out how to follow you since usually blogspot has a follow link but hope to be back to read more.