Tag Archives: creche

Crèching down

It isn’t 2011 years old, but the little replica is getting up there in years.

Our family crèche was bought in December 1959, just before I was born.

Every year that it is lifted from its tattered box, as it was yesterday, our nativity scene shows more wear. The stable has become unstable. A couple of figures have lost their hands, one of which remains attached to the end of a camel’s rein. Two animals are each missing an ear.

One shepherd has lost the bundle of twigs he once carried on his shoulder. I know where it is—behind a heavy buffet in our dining room. If we ever move, I must remember to retrieve it. In the meantime, it’s been replaced with a shred of mulch from the yard.

The roof is in terrible disrepair, resulting from angel-induced erosion. For the first 35 or so years of use, we affixed the angel—which has a hooked wire in its back—to the roof by poking the wire into the thatching.

One year, our young son asked why we attached the angel that way: “Why don’t we just hang it on the hook?” He pointed to a tiny loop in the ceiling, which none of us had ever noticed. Sure enough, that’s where the angel was meant to hang.

A few things have also been added.

In the 1970s, a plastic cow from my brother’s toy farm set joined the cast. In the 1980s, my husband added a plastic California Raisin to the trio of processing Magi—to proclaim that he had “heard it through the grapevine.” The raisin has since disappeared mysteriously.

Between this nativity scene and my frail and dusty birthday Washington Post, the 1950s-era relics are looking pretty badly aged. (Dare I look in the mirror?) Watch this space for more citings.

Speaking of things acquired in December, 23 years ago today, at 8:49 a.m., we welcomed one blessing of a boy into our little house. Happy Birthday, kiddo. (And thanks for locating that hook; you’re an angel.)

And to the rest of you, Happy St. Nicholas Day. Read what St. Nicholas’Day means to me, from the ‘Nymph one year ago.


Filed under Hearth and Home, Holidays


This weekend the last of the Christmas decorations will likely come down at my house. Or, more accurately, go up—to the attic.

We dragged our spruce skeleton out before New Year’s. I am guessing it was cut down around August.

The crèche should have been put away on Thursday, which was Epiphany. We’ll just say the Magi extended their trip, but they’ll head back to their Orient in the attic this afternoon. Most everything else is packed up. I hate the see the mantel garlands go, they’re so pretty, but they too will be gone soon.

The last to go will be the Christmas cards that we affix to the molding in our living room—primarily that which frames an alcove where the tree goes. The remainder of the cards spill over into doorways and such. Taking down 180-some cards will be time-consuming and bittersweet, because we’ll re-read each one, take a moment to remember each friend and look at pictures of kids we seldom see.

There are several other items that stay up all year. We don’t necessarily consider them Christmas decorations, but people tend to ask mid-year why we still have Christmas decorations out. The truth is, well, I don’t know what the truth is.

Over the years, our kitchen has developed a chili pepper theme, and there’s an iron chili pepper wall hanging that says Feliz Navidad. It’s been hanging for 20 years, as much for the peppers as for the Navidad. There’s a carved wood statue of Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus; it lives on the dining room mantel year-round. There’s a collectible Byers’ choice caroler that the family of one of my hospice patients gave me. She has a special place on a little shelf and deserves to stay out of the attic. Because our dining room is red, there are all sorts of adornments—candle holders, berry wreaths, red glass bowls and such—that could be considered Christmasy. Maybe we’ve just forgotten to put them away, or perhaps no longer even see them.

Are there knickknacks in your home that you can’t quite explain?


Filed under Family and Friends, Hearth and Home, Holidays