Christmas is one of those tradition-rich holidays. I love traditions, but I’ve found not all are ‘doable’ during Covid. In my book, Celebrate Grandparenting: 101 Ways to Intentionally Connect with your Grands, I devoted an entire section to Traditions, but that was pre-pandemic. Now, I find myself searching for a few new ones that are easily accomplished here and now.

I’m using my blog to tell stories, and I’m encouraging my grands to participate. Let me tell you more…but first, here’s the back story.

I am a connoisseur of creches. I love, love, love nativity scenes, and have many. Some would say too many. Not! Actually, I don’t even know how many I have. In fact, I may have just added another one a few days ago.

Now mind you, I’m very picky! A nativity scene must really appeal to me for me to bring it home. And, the price tag must also appeal to me! Most of mine are garage sale, thrift store, or antique market ‘rescues’. Some are gifts. All are loved, and all have stories, though most of the stories are known only by me. Oh…by the way, that last nativity cost me all of $6.40! I’m truly the last of the big spenders.

There IS one creche I’ve had my eye on for years; one which may cause me to forget my bargain-basement habit. Lisa Leonard’s micro-mini pewter creche is incredibly amazing. I’ve not yet convinced myself to spend the $200+ (and I most likely won’t) but it is exquisite! Go ahead and Google it. See for yourself.

Anyway…as I was decorating this year, I realized that I should write the stories of my creches or they would be forever lost. Since I’m also passionate about generational storytelling I decided to ‘introduce’ my readers to my creches on my blog, but also have my grandchildren vote on their favorites and give me the reasons why.

(Did you catch that, teachers? I’m encouraging my grands to use their persuasive writing skills!)

What makes this one so special? Is it something in Baby Jesus’ face that draws them to that certain creche? Do they remember playing with one as a young child? I have memories associated with certain ones. I’m sure they do, too.

I’m quite sure my estate will be more ‘touchy-feely’ and less ‘spendy’ ($$$) whenever my time comes, and I’m certainly not planning a departure any time soon, but my December 2020 Creche Countdown may help me decide who gets what creche when I’m no longer the keeper of this collection.

Let me introduce you to a creche or two…stay tuned, and perhaps by the end of the month, I will know how many I have!

This is my Rustic Black Bear Creche.

I love the detailed textures of this nine-piece resin creche. Mary Bear is kneeling with hands folded in prayer. Perhaps she’s thanking God for the gift of His son – her son – Jesus Christ. Joseph stands nearby, admiring his little one, wide-eyed atop the hay in his manger. Ten little fingers and ten little toes. Well, no – I guess it’s four fresh paws, stretching skyward. The Holy Family is perched atop the slice of an aspen tree adding depth. Two evergreen trees complete this display.

All eyes are on Baby Jesus. Three wise men pause in wonder as they gaze at this precious little one. They’ve brought gifts from afar. On the other side of this blessing-filled manger stands an angel, topped with a gold halo on this furry head, and wearing a cross around his middle. Two animals are in awe, too – the littlest one draped in a curly white covering which hints at the sheep he is representing. A larger bear with two humps on his back represents a camel. It’s a precious, animated nativity, special because of the person I got it from. A dear friend of mine (Thanks, Cindy) was moving away and decided to part with her lodge decor at the same time my husband and I were renovating (and decorating) a little cabin we owned at the time. What cabin is complete without a rustic black bear creche. Ours wasn’t!

We loved having this creche at the lake, but love it even still in our home as it reminds us of good friends and good times at the cabin.

Here’s my Olive Wood Creche.

I love this one. Several years ago I was able to check something off my bucket list which I never thought would happen. I had wanted to visit the Holy Land since I was a child. When it became reality, and I’d made my deposit, I devoured every single book I could find about Israel (including the Bible). I wanted to wrap my head around everything – the geography, topography, history, and Biblical significance of every site on our itinerary. The more I knew before I went, the more I could soak up and understand when I was there to hear, see, and experience it. I filled a notebook with hurriedly-written notes, every day, all day long. This was a teaching trip, not just a tourist trip. Whenever my hands weren’t grasping that pen I was taking photographs; I came home with 1,500+ digital pictures!

Back on American soil, I transcribed my notes and scanned my photos into a Powerpoint presentation which my friend and traveling partner (Kay) and I shared with various audiences for the next few months. What a blessing that trip was! 

OMGoodness…to have the opportunity to walk where my Savior walked. To see the same wadis and wildernesses. To wade in the Dead Sea. To ride across the Sea of Galilee on a replica of the fishing boats of His lifetime. All of these things made my heart soar, and none are forgotten! Best of all, I was able to be baptized in the River Jordan, just as Jesus was! Another item checked off my bucket list. 

We spent four days in and around Jerusalem, walking on the Via Dolorosa, touring Bethlehem – just five miles away – and the Mount of Olives. The angst between the Israelis and Palestinians became more real to those of us who witnessed it first hand. We went from one side of a massive wall to the other, and could almost feel the difference.

The rest of our two weeks was spent in and around the Sea of Galilee – a much more peaceful, idyllic location. But, while in Bethlehem – after visiting the Church of the Nativity – I bought this precious, two-piece, olive-wood creche from a Jewish Believer our tour guide knew well. I also got a smaller, single-piece nativity of olive-wood, but I’ll share that one later. 

The Olive tree is native to the Mediterranean Basin, providing people with olives and olive oil – staples in their cuisine. It was one of the first plants mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, and one of the longest-living trees, ever. The tourist will find olive-wood souvenirs everywhere! Some, crudely made. Others, skillfully, and delicately crafted. I searched through many for just the right one to bring home. Just the right grain. Contrasting shades of tan. Smooth and satiny finish. And, this is one of very few of my ‘full price’ nativities, but it’s well worth it. A treasure to me because of where I bought it. In Bethlehem, where the story begins!

Thanks for coming along on my 2020 Creche Countdown and I’ll see you tomorrow for another peek at my Christmas decor, 2020 style. 




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