Thursday, December 9, 2010

Advent Calendar Day 9: Why We Will Never Have a Conventional Crèche

Or: “Other Decorations”

“Other decorations”: not tree decorations or outside decorations, but simply other decorations we put up in our house, such as the manger scene.

The theme for today is “Grab Bag” – as in “anything you want” – but grab bag made me think of hodge podge. And a hodge podge is definitely what many of our indoor decorations are, including our crèche scene.

This began in my childhood. I remember mostly the figurines for the manger scene. For one thing, they were of different sizes: for some reason, the Three Wise Men were much larger than the Holy Family and the shepherds; obviously, there were originally at least two totally different sets. And the angels must have simply been collected and added individually, as they were ceramic figures of various styles, whereas the other figurines appeared to have been made of wood with a waxy paint covering.

And there were elephants in the manger. The two pretty gray ceramic elephants that had been a present for my fifth birthday. (I’m not sure why someone would give ceramic figures to a five-year-old – I remember them coming from an older couple who were friends of my parents – but I thought they were awesome.) Since we didn’t have any camels, I figured the Wise Men must have ridden them to Bethlehem and then parked them in the manger. Of course, two of the Wise Men would have to have ridden on one elephant, or maybe one walked.

Now my family has a set of figurines, but no manger or any setting in which to put them. The smart thing would be to buy a completely new set, but that’s not our way. They belonged to my husband’s parents, so we have made sporadic efforts to find the other pieces. Nothing matches. We’ll have to make our own.

I’m thinking Lincoln Logs. Or perhaps even Legos, because we have a lot of those. It will be sort of a mixed media kind of thing.

Since my childhood crèche set, along with almost everything else we owned, did not survive our numerous moves, I cannot include a picture of it here. And my in-laws’ figurines are up in the attic.

So I’m including pictures of other items that have evolved into Christmas scene decorations. The first pictures shows Russian/Eastern Europen tree decorations and similar carved wooden figures we have collected over the years, and the second picture shows a set of Russian dolls, most of which were Christmas presents. They actually stay out all the time. Nothing like having a little touch of Christmas all year round.


  1. Greta - I love these. What a lovely collection you have!

  2. we have a hodge podge set too. we were lucky enough to find a stable at a yard sale one year that fits pretty well. i should get it out and set it up. i usually do it the first Sunday of advent.

  3. Sometimes one needs to suspend belief. Our angels are the size of the lambs which are only slightly smaller than the camels. No way they'd be able to dance on the head of a pin.

    Love the wooden figures. Much prettier than the nesting dolls we have.

  4. Carol, Cynthia, Kristin, and Susan - Thank you for your comments. Kristin - I hadn't thought of checking at yard sales, but now that you mention it, I have seen other Christmas items at our annual neighborhood yard sale. Perhaps between that and the local thrift stores, I'll find what we need! Susan - we love nesting dolls, too. I have a weak spot for Russian and Eastern European crafts.