My grandparents lived in Bethlehem, PA, which is probably the most Christmassy place I have ever been, and is also where I spent the majority of my Christmases as a kid. My Nana had a nativity set I especially admired, because it had probably three times the amount of animals of most nativity sets, and it did not discriminate as to topical suitability (“look for the skunk in the nativity set,” my dad would mention on the car ride up each year). I spent a lot of time looking at it.
When my Nana passed away, I asked for the nativity set, but it’s been in a Tupperware bin for the last few years. This year, though, I got it out and set it up, and I will now give you a tour.
The charming thing about this nativity set is that it has collected the pieces of at least three nativity sets over the years. The figurines are a mixture of plaster and plastic. Some of the plaster ones unfortunately broke in storage — two large camels and a shepherd. Here, we have the royal family, many assorted sheep, a dog or fox with its face broken off, two donkeys, two angels, a very small black man who I believe was a wise man in another nativity set but has here been demoted to random small-sized passerby, a simply massive shepherd boy who my father says is actually David (here appearing roughly one thousand years after his theoretical death), and two of three angels.
Here, we have a cow, two other angels, a donkey (I think? It has a pig nose), and a closer look at the giant David, plus a rabbit from my own collection that I have added to keep the tradition going.
Here is another cow, donkey, fox/dog, and the three wise men, with bonus wee Muslim.
I was sad to see that the skunk had somehow gone missing! He was my favorite part. My relatives did not know where it had gone, but my aunt sent me a replacement skunk for Christmas. The proportions are…in keeping with the spirit of the thing:
I’ve decided that the skunk does not think much of the wise men’s offerings. Maybe next time, they’ll bring a diaper genie and a pack ‘n play, something Mary can actually use.