• “Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple. Dr. Suess

Saturday, December 24, 2011


My favorite Christmas activity has always been the church Christmas party. I loved seeing the nativity portrayed, no matter how clumsy or how carefully orchestrated. It has always filled me with strong emotion.

 Christmas Eve at Ginger's 2007 
My favorite nativity play has always been seeing kids acting the parts, at church or at home.

the inevitable giggles
There is always the waiting in the 'wings' parts,

what's up with this thing getting so much attention???

even the family pets get involved,

and the babe is never the only one 'adored'.

My all time favorite nativity is a small scrapbook nativity.

Each of my children, that live days of travel apart, and many hours travel from me in many directions, took pictures of their children portraying the characters in the story of the birth of Christ. Then they compiled an album of individual pictures into a small book telling the entire story. I got the original - they got copies.

In 1982, I was homemaking leader in my Provo, Utah Ward and scared to death! I had not attended church much as an adult and had never had a 'calling' before. It was my responsiblity to arrange for monthly classes that helped women learn to use their hands and minds AND productively learn something.

Sister Roundy did not often come to church but was willing to teach the Relief Society sisters how to make ceramic figurines. We arranged for a class starting in July. Most sisters wanted to make nativity sets. I did not have the money for any.

I was expecting my 5th child.  In August I had partial kidney failure and the obstetrician ordered complete bed rest - no exertion - until the baby arrived - due in DECEMBER!!  I was BORED to tears! Sister Roundy asked if I would like to clean greenware for her. It is a tedious process. I found it interesting and engaging.  Under her tutelage I cleaned several sets while laying on our couch.

Then she gave me two of the sets.

It was a dream come true for me.
Each set had children's cherubic faces.
One, I finished with pearl glaze, I gave to my mother-in-law.
My oldest daughter has inherited it.

although you can't really see the faces here,
you can see generally how this set looked when finished

I was so thrilled with both. After the first firing on one of the sets we let each of our children help pick, and then paint, the colors onto a bisque figurine. Even the 3 year old could 'swing' a brush and was excited to 'paint' one of the animals as Papa held her on his lap and directed her brush back to the figure when ever she decided to paint anything else.

He enjoyed the process so much that he put a loaded brush into the hand of an infant son and 'helped' him paint one.  Strangely enough it almost seemed like the baby knew what he was doing - perhaps I only have a vivid imagination.

We have many various sized nativity ornaments and sets but this set has special memories. A friend came and went with tools and paints and glazes.  As I lay for months on bed rest I planned and then executed each face.  I had never painted anything besides a fence before.  I was a bit uneasy but tried anyway.

When it was all finished everyone wanted to 'arrange' it.

Joseph and donkey
We all have our own ideas of how things might have looked/happened. 

Baby Jesus

To prevent quarreling family members took turns. 

Cow and Sheep with lamb
It was arranged a new way each day and  if a guest came they were invited to arrange it for us.  

The kings were named for their jewels -
this one is the 'green' king
The 'blue' king with his camel
And the 'red' king in a tall turban
I have taken a few pictures the last few years.
Here are some of the interesting 'arrangements'.

by 6 year old Beckham
a fun idea from a 3 year old  ...
"they all want to be close and see him first"
a new father said, "there is no way Joseph is letting anybody near that baby!!
a mother said, "she is ignoring everybody and all the fuss"
a newly married girl said, "Mary is having 'me' time ... letting the guys talk."

Some think animals should not be too close - too many germs,
- except the symbolic lamb
How would you arrange it?
What do you think?


We have many nativities.

There is one small nativity I cherish.

It was our children's gift to us in 2003.

Many of our grandchildren are pictured in it as characters in the story.

Perhaps someday they will make us a new, updated one ...