It's strange to still be writing about Christmas when I am sure most people have de-holidaid their homes weeks ago. Except for the nativity, we undecorated right after the New Year. We keep the creche up for Little Christmas and we celebrate the wise men making their famous journey to visit the Infant Jesus. That was well over a week ago now and they are still sitting in our living room. I think I'm not ready to say good bye, until next year, to our ghosts of Christmases past.
Our set is a hodge podge of figures from our relatives long past. Most come from my grandparents on my mother's side. My grandfather build the creche when my grandparents first got married. The straw in the roof is from their old garden. Before they were given to us, each of the figures had been lovingly repainted by my grandfather so that their faces would remain bright and their clothes pure.
My grandparents gave us one sheppard boy whos styling is a little different from all the rest. This year my Aunt told me that it comes from my grandfather's mother's set. I remember seeing her only once in my life. I was six and it was at her funeral. She seemed short, was wearing a light blue dress. I told my grandfather that I thought she was beautiful and he cried. I'll never forget that.
We also have figures from my father's parents as well. This makes for duplicate pieces so when we set up the nativity we decide which baby Jesus we are going to use, and if we have room for all the sheep. This year the baby Jesus, an angel, one of the sheppards and some sheep are from their set. You can tell if you look close that they don't really match. But it doesn't really matter.
A few years ago we added a piece of our own; a fourth wise man. The story goes that he wanted to make the trip with the other three, but came across a man that needed his help so he missed the caravan. Not to be discouraged, he set out on his own and eventually meet up with Jesus 33 years later in Jerusalem. Our wise man has a place of honor at Easter.
Now, in the middle of January, I look at the set, I see the figures praying, and the animals tucked in safe in their stalls. But what I feel is the loving presents of my relatives, and I'm not ready for them to go. And I wonder if my girls will do the same. Will they struggle when it comes it to put the nativity away in January, or February, March?
Do you think people would talk if the creche stayed up all year?