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Saturday, December 19, 2009

It's a Good Thing--Fontanini

***Be Sure to read to the end for the dramatic surprise ending!***
The comercialized Christmas monster is one that I fight annually.  It's so easy to get lost in the shopping and the tree and gift giving, and forget the reason we celebrate.  As a family we try to stay focused in the bustle of the holiday and remember that the celebration is for all for the birth of our Lord.  There are many ways we do this, and one of them has been so good that I really wanted to pass it on.  This one has helped the children especially stay connected with the reason for the season.

Just a little background--My grandmother was a Polish Catholic WWII WAC that married an Irish Catholic Cowboy.  The Cathloic part meshed well cause let's face it... Catholic gobbie gobbie is pretty much the same the world around.  She joined the WAC because he was sent to war, so the military part meshed well too.  The rest didn't.  Never-the-less she was a devout Catholic taking communion and doing confessional till the very end.  I remember as a little girl, each Christmas, this nativity set was out.  40-50 years ago, and as a young mama herself, she collected the figurines individually through a grocery store promotional. I'm sure she started with 8lb 6oz sweet baby Jesus in his manger.  Then maybe the 3 kings.
 and the angel who I was sure was named Gloria but wasn't sure of the rest of that stuff written on there.
And the aminals made me love her creche all the more.  A donkey and a camel, goats, and lots of sheep.

I loved this nativity set.  When I had children of my own I was determined to get a set of my own just like it.  I researched it, and sure enough, it was still being manufactured.

These 5" figurines, still made in Italy by Fontanini, are made of resin, and one of the best things is that I let the kiddos handle them.  Not my little kiddos, but our medium+ kiddos set up the creche and occasionally get the figures down to see them close up.  Each peice comes with a little story card, and we read the card and remember the importance of each participant.  If you start with just the creche basics and add a couple new pieces each year, then it's a great wonderful family Christmas gift and affordable.  They're bright and colorful.  They can break, especially the legs of the animals (which we just glue back on,) but are ok for older children.  I got most of my set a piece at a time through ebay. 

Now some of you might view this next part as sacreligious.  I say nay nay 'cause I'm sure all of God's creatures rejoiced at Jesus's birth!  Over the decades, my grandmother's creche was "supplimented" with nontraditional participants, like an elf, Santa, a car...   Notice the onlooker? 
Somewhere along the line, someone added this pelican.  He makes me giggle.  
Soemthing about the way he has that one eyebrow raised, like look at that wee baby that's gonna turn the world on its head.

Fontini is available all over the web.  There's a link to a store, here, that has most everything to see what's possible, but look elsewhere for better prices.  And a couple of words of wisdom from a crazy mama who sometimes learns things the hard way.  Stick to the 5" scale 'cause we all know that bigger isn't always better.  And don't go hog wild with cypress trees and the King Herod's palace and an assortment of 5" barnyard birds.  It just isn't necessary no matter what grand vision you might have of Bethlehem sprawling all over your gamerooom is.  And do keep the story cards and read them as you let the kiddos set the figures up.  Over the years a little more God will seep into their souls.  And feel free to add a cock-eyed pelican or two, or a labrodor retriever, or a VW bus, or whatever you fancy.  It's all good.

*** Well that was the post I had written.  It was so pretty that way.  Too pretty in fact.  The crazy 8 factor hadn't come into play...  yet. 

I was "indisposed."  One of the babes, the one with the y chromosome, stealthly slipped out of my room.  That's when it happened.  The massacre. 

I heard the crash.  Then again.  I composed myself quickly.  No time to zip.  I rounded the corner to see the carnage.  My first vision was that of our sweet 8 lb 6 oz newborn baby Jesus upside down on the floor.  The next thing I witnessed was Jujube weilding a pool cue above his head, and with one level swipe he again attempted to clear the credenza of all of Bethlehem.   The shepards, the donkey, Mary, Gloria, and I were all were caught off gaurd by this Asian marauder.  Even the 3 Kings were not wise enough to avoid the devistation.  It was a blood bath. 
I'll pause while you remove the smaller children from the room... 
Are they gone?  
There were decapitations!  It was mass carnage at Bethlehem. 
There wasn't much I could do except take the pool cue away and use this as a moment for some active parenting. 
These following image could be disturbing to some viewers.  Viewer discretion is advised. 
Tommorrow, after I've had a chance to find some girlfriends that will tell me that I'm still a good mama, take a couple valium, and get a good night's rest, the Elmer's glue gets a work out. 
It's still a good thing.  I think.


  1. Oh my - that must have been rough for all of you. We have some practice in this arena, as we have had pets who have broken (or ruined) things and it always comes down to "they are just things." However....I cannot imagine how I would feel to have a treasured heirloom shattered to bits by Emma. Elmer's glue is amazing stuff. :) Hope this coming Christmas week is ALL good. Merry Christmas to you and your beautiful family. And bless little Jude's heart - that goose egg is wicked looking. :(

  2. Nancy, you really should submit your writing to an editor. I think you're the next Erma Bombeck! (remember her???) This "Carnage in Bethlehem" post had me roaring!


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