Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Collections

Neither of us were born rich.  There was no "grandaddy's trust fund" to inherit.  We each brought to our marriage a car payment, outstanding student loans, and a strong work ethic.  Throughout our married life, we never bought anything if we couldn't pay for it.  The only loans we had were for cars and houses.

Both of us are fond of Hummel figurines and we knew we wanted to own a Hummel Nativity.  Our first Christmas together, we bought the Holy Family because three pieces were all we could afford.  Each subsequent Christmas we bought one figurine until the time came when we could afford to complete the set.  We found a stable at an estate sale and purchased the palm trees from another collectable set.  We have been lucky in that we managed to raise two children and four dogs and still have the intact set with no broken figures.

Our Hummel Nativity Collection

We bought a small and inexpensive hand-pinched clay Nativity for our future children even before we had any children.  Over the years this set delighted our growing children.  The excitement began each year as we brought out the box containing the figures.  Our son and daughter alternated choosing one figure at a time.  The biggest triumph was selecting the Christ Child.  All during the Advent season, the children would rearrange the figures.  The only rule about arranging the figures was that all of them had to remain on the table.  So at a given time, one might find Baby Jesus anywhere.

This is the most common arrangement.

My husband bought this inexpensive Nativity in a fair trade shop.  All items in the shop were handmade by women in South America who otherwise would not have meaningful work.  I just love these fat little figures.

 The Holy Family, an Angel, and some Lambs

We have other Nativity sets but we rarely display them.  Perhaps the smallest one is also the oldest.  It is one I purchased for my parents when I was ten.  For years it was called "Carolyn's Little Manger Scene," by my Southern Baptist family.  No photograph of it, since it's packed away.

I love bringing out Christmas decorations that we have used for years.  Not the least of which are ornaments made by our children when they were small.  Each one is treasured and my now grownup children still move them around on the Christmas Tree, making certain each ornament has a conspicuous spot on the tree.


The Bug said...

One of these days I'm going to work harder to get some of our decorations out. I have a Tom Clark nativity set that I particularly love. Hmm - maybe I'll track that sucker down this weekend & find a place for it - ha!

Rae said...

Simply beautiful. It wouldn't be Christmas without a nativity on display. We have had one for many years and it the first thing I unpack each year.

Boondocks Love Shack Pack said...

Simply beautiful - the way you wrote it and the traditions you keep!

Samantha (the mom from Boon's Love Shack Pack)

My Mind's Eye said...

What a lovely nativity display...
The Hummels are breathtaking.
Hugs Madi and Mom

Dawn Fine said...

Love them all! Nice collection!

carolina nana said...

One of my favorite things at Christmas is the memories that all my old decorations bring back to me.

Karin said...

What a wonderful Hummel Nativity! It is beautiful! Love Hummels, but have only two pieces - not Christmas. So wonderful to have treasured family pieces and traditions. Ours is a plastic nativity, but the grands have loved it so much. One thing I've done in recent years is put the wise men far away from the manger to give us something to chat about as we start moving them closer. The wise men - we don't know how many - came to see the Baby in a house some time after the birth! The kids have really gone with the change and seem to enjoy recounting the story!

Ms. A said...

You must have been raised like I was. If you couldn't pay for it, you waited until you could. That's the same way I tried to raise my kids... it didn't work. They have everything they want, when they want it and they worry about paying for it later. Yep, I failed miserably.

I love that you built your collection over the years, instead of going for instant gratification. You exercised patience, perseverance and left something to look forward to!

Taradharma said...

beautiful collection, all of it. The High Hummel and the "lowly" wood. My great grandmother had quite the Hummel collection in a glass case and of course we children were never allowed to touch!

I like your financial philosophy -- so rare these days. I feel FREE when I am not saddled with debt. So I'm rarely in it. (Like you, car and house.)

Merry Christmas!

Busy Bee Suz said...

I adore all of your Nativities!!!! They are both beautiful and meaningful.
We had a nice set when I was a child and I spent hours rearranging all the people. It was given to my Brother when we were adults and after he passed away, all we found was the Angel. I now have the angel on my tree....up front and center!

George said...

We have a Nativity Scene which takes center place in our living room. It's nothing fancy, but none of the pieces are broken and we enjoy setting it up each year.

Your Hummel display is absolutely beautiful.

Nezzy (Cow Patty Surprise) said...

I just adore your little Hummel set!!! It's just beautiful.

I love usin' the decorations I've gathered over the past 39 years. Seems each and every one hold a special memory.

God bless ya sweetie and have a magnificent day! place...ya'll come...I leave the door open and a light on for ya! Heeehehe! :o)

Wayfarin' Stranger said...

Your mountain frugality also has applied in our marriage, and has now been adopted by our grown sons and their wives. I've discussed this with family members who, like you and we, "worked away" for many years before returning to the mountains to retire. They agree that it's born of necessity, which also spills over into "fixing it yourself," making do, and doing without until you can afford to pay cash. Now if we could just get our government to adopt those values........ :-) Jim

NanaNor's said...

Hi there, I love Nativity scenes too. I've had one since my girls were little and had a couple of other little ones; I love that children who grow up with these reminders, are so gentle with them.
Thanks for sharing yours with us.
Hugs today.

Anonymous said...

2 children and 4 dogs and you still have an intact set? A Christmas miracle for sure!

NCmountainwoman said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone!

Bug - I like those too.

Rae - We have the one from my husband's childhood as well.

Samantha - Thanks

Madi and Mom - Thanks. We have several other Hummel pieces but are not really collectors like so many people.

Karin - I think it is important to have one that the children can move around. Our creative children told some interesting Christmas stories around that nativity.

Ms. A - Mine as well. To their credit, they have good-paying jobs. But I fear they aren't saving enough.

Tara - It hasn't always been a good idea. Many of our friends bought and re-sold houses at a profit while we rented until we had enough for a down payment. But the peace of mind it has given us made it worthwhile.

Suz - I'm glad you have the angel at least.

George - It's the meaning that is important, isn't it?

Nezzy - We always recall interesting stories as we bring out our decorations over the years.

Wayfarin' - Unfortunately, our government can't seem to understand the basics. And I fear too many of our children are the same. I saw a documentary about student debt. One young man owed more than 120K but was still in school, persuing a masters in psychology. His comment, "You have to follow your heart." And I agree except that you have to take the trip slower and pay as you go.

NanaNor - It is surprising that children do seem to handle the figures delicately.

Jane - Well...the dogs were one at a time. And when the kids were small, the nativity was always placed out of reach to them. Thank goodness they knew not to play or throw things in the living room.