Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A New Blog About My Nativity Scenes Collection

Dept. 56 O Little Town of Bethlehem

This is my first post in this new blog, therefore I need to give some background.
My nativity scenes collection came about as a way to focus more on the essential purpose of the Christmas holiday. People often say that Christmas is no longer worth celebrating because, "Christmas has gotten too commercialized."

Not at all willing to give up on the most wonderful time of the year, I thought, why not do something about this overbearing commercialization? It always takes someone deciding and doing to make any changes, be they small or great.

So my goal became doing whatever was in my sphere to keep Christ in Christmas. One way to accomplish this was by presenting visuals of the story of Christ’s birth, to counteract all the secular images so prevalent at holiday time.

With this new blog I hope to extend the scope of my sharing these varied depictions of the nativity of Jesus Christ Our Lord.

Castagna Nativity, ITALY

I received the first item in the collection in about 1979 as a gift from a co-worker. The gift was a tree ornament in clear acrylic with a depiction of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus. It was not until 1991 that I bought my first two nativity scenes, one in ceramic and another in pewterplate. I then decided to form a small collection in various materials – wood, glass,plastic, and so forth.

Three Italian Nativities

So the collection grew and grew. At Christmas time I displayed them in each room of my house. I also exhibited them in the college library each year, and at a gallery in Worcester, MA, where I also gave a 40-minute lecture on the nativity in December 2000. In subsequent years I loaned sets for display in the gallery. Then, because of all the work of packing up, setting up and taking down, I decided to set up a mini museum right at home.

This major change came about in about October 2005 as I decided to empty the approximately 12’x15’ den and make it into a ‘gallery’ for my nativity collection. No longer were the nativities spread all over the house; instead, the major portion was consigned to the new Gallery.
To make the gallery displays, I gathered together a plethora of tables, stands and bookcases I had gotten at consignment shops, thrift and junk stores. To give the room some harmony, I rummaged around my house and found all the green or red fabrics, place mats, tablecloths, and even tissue paper, to provide a background for the various items. My aim was to avoid spending extra money on installation apparatus. I just made use of what I could find around the house and in the garage.

Nativity set by artist Shayne McCarter, USA

The next post will introduce the arrangement of the gallery room.


  1. What a wonderful idea! Thanks for telling me about your new blog. I will enjoy seeing these Nativities over and over!

    I have bookmarked it!


  2. Looks like I got all of my questions answered. I just needed to look around before asking!

  3. Hello again Elizabeth,
    Well actually, not all your questions were answered. I just noticed that you also asked if it was a "real gallery" ... well, I put up the display because it was so hard on me physically to pack up and transport the collection to display at a library or gallery. Therefore, just after the beginning of December I open my home to relatives, friends, neighbors who wish to see the collection. I printed business cards that I hand out to let people know that I enjoy sharing this special collection.

  4. Dear Carrie: I have visited your site before, but just got the chance to stop and chat. The nativity gallery is beautiful and inspiring to me and my family. Will the gallery be available all year? I love the Christmas season and stretch it out as long as I am able. The Christmas spirit is something that I try to I carry all year long in my heart. Incorporating the spirit of Love, Acceptance, Forgiveness, Thanksgiving into our daily lives gives added meaning to our beliefs regarding the birth of the Baby Jesus. And, you know, that practice keeps Christ in Christmas and extends the season throughout the year. Thank you for reminding us,with your gallery,'what it's all about'. Noelle.

  5. Very beautiful collection of Nativities thank you for sharing with us and opening your home for others to enjoy.I love the German porcelain Nativity. Thanks