Sunday, December 13, 2009


Last week I was conversatin' with my sister on the phone:
Tami~so what are you up to today?
Jody Blue~not much, well I am doing something that is going to make you down right jealous.
T~rEALly? Well it had better be pretty good because right now I'm eating a double.. chocolate.. cup cake...and its filled..with chocolate. Can you do better than that?
JB~by a mile, I am setting up THE Nativity set;)
T~(busting out in laughter) You HAVE to blog that!

The story of the B family Nativity
My Mom made it in 1972 in ceramics and when she brought it home, we were in awe, and I don't mean awe like in awful I mean real awe, it was so pretty and she had worked hard on it. She had talked about it for weeks. Once the Christmas tree was up my brother Rock and I would set the Nativity up under the Christmas tree. Some years we would find a cardboard box for a stable. We would poke a hole in the back and fish a Christmas tree light to shine upon the baby Jesus. Some years they went with out a cardboard stable. Mom had always wanted to have someone build a wooden stable, but that never came to pass. We always put the Babe in last(I'm sure there was more than one fight on who's turn it was to actually place the Babe in the manger). We always referred to it as "the Nativity set". One year when I had just a couple of kids and I knew she hadn't used it for awhile I asked if I could use it. Now to be fair I have offered it on more than one occasion to each one of my siblings to have it so their children could experience the joy...they have all declined. So my kids have taken turns setting it up year after year. They always remembered who did it the last year, but that's usually after a bit of a dust up had taken place. They always save the baby Jesus to be put in the manger last. They have also been known to move it around to their own personal interpretation of how the Blessed event actually took place, and that has caused REALLY big dust ups! This year with just two boys left at home I decided to take a turn, for old time sake.

I had a chuckle the when I first brought it to our home over 20 years ago and realized that it was not historically accurate. The shepherds dressed in lime green and orange just make me smile and Joseph would have never been able to afford a red robe, on and on. Us B kids had no clue and were so impressed that all of the wise men royal robes matched their own personal camel blankets. I was always a bit star struck over the golden angel, and it can still be a challenge to find the right place to hang her, as it was when we were kids. Notice no stable, and I have no plans to provide one, some year I may find them a nice cardboard box.

The cow has a crescent moon on it and the B family initial on its behind...or maybe Mom was just labeling its B-hind:)
That poor sheep has lost both ears and some of the camels are missing tails. The little donkey was not a part of the set Mom made. It was one of the very few things that had been recovered when our house burned in Jan 1970. Mom had repainted him and added him in. My kids have since named him Madrikh after a Little Golden Book story The Christmas Donkey. When he comes out of the box I remind them that he has been threw the fire twice(I know there's a spiritual lesson in there some where!) so they have to be oh so careful with him.
The kneeling boy has a blue goats hair tunic and coordinating baby blue under garment and head band. I have always loved the color and texture of that sheep, he's probably as close to accurate as he can be for ceramics made in America in 1972.
The baby Jesus is missing part of one hand. There is usually a discusion on which way He should be placed. Grace says facing His Mama, the boys say Mary shared him with the world so he should be facing so we all can see him. Him and the manger are moved often threw out the Christmas season.
Although the Bible does not actually name the wise men, in a myth dating back to the medieval days says their names were , Melchoir, Gaspar not Balthasar...
...BUG EYES!?!
No matter how my Mom tried and had others try they just couldn't get his eyes right. We have always very affectionately referred to him as Bug Eyes. We would say that of course his eyes are bugging he just saw the baby Jesus for the first time. Let me tell you its not just his eyes that has had issues. The poor guys head was broken off with in the first couple of years. And try as we might Rock and I could not get that thing to stay on. Elmers school glue just wouldn't hold, nor would super glue, so we stuffed a pencil down his broken throat and put his head back on. But his head wobbled so we wrapped a kleenex around the pencil and that held as well as could be expected, yet with a noticeable wobble. Things are looking up for 'ol Bug Eyes, when I started working at the local high school I took ol' Bug Eye's in to the art teacher and he glued his head back on and it has stuck for about 9 years now. He does still bear the scar and I don't know if the pencil and kleenex are still in his neck, I could look up the hole on the bottom but I'd hate to embarrass him, he has already been threw so much. He is loved though, and every year when I remind my two brothers and sister that I set up "THE Nativity set" they always ask how ol' Bug Eye's is doing;)


Brenda said...

That's precious! I love that your mom made the nativity.

I have those plastic things that look like a million little plastic chunks glued together, wall hangings. Old stuff from Mom, fun for us.

I love that you still have this with missing ears, and broken heads. That says LOVE! Most people throw those things out. Good for you and your family.

Tami said...

I'm so grateful that you have taken care of a little piece of our family history. Something sweet and kind from our mother is so very precious, and should always be treasured.
On a lighter note. . .After closely examining the family treasure, I am so thankful that you stepped up. Bug Eyes and company on display is definitely an act of decorating courage. I guess I know where I get my love of bold color.
You were right, reading this post was way better than my double chocolate cupcake with the fudge filled center.

DayPhoto said...

I loved this post. I loved your memories and that you passed them on to your kids who are creating simular memories.

I have a set of Merry Christmas Angels that hold a tiny (birthday) red candle. They are mine. I was 8 when I got them from my favorite aunt and uncle. They are well loved and broken and the paint is pealing, but I still love them to this day52 year later.


sewtakeahike said...

what an awesome, awesome story and fun memories! I laughed my way through it and I'm so glad it wasn't just me who "wondered" a little about the neon outfits! Thanks for sharing this and hopefully bug eyes will make it through another Christmas with his head on his shoulders!

Schnitzel and the Trout said...

I love the story of your nativity memories and that you shared it with us. That is just one of the things that make Christmas so special and personal.

abroadermark said...

Yours is the BEST nativity set I've seen in a long time - because of the story behind it, and because it is so obviously loved. What a great post! Oh, and every time I think of Ol' Bug Eyes I smile - big. Actually, I sometimes even laugh a little to myself. Thanks, Jody.

Tessa Nelson said...

great story!

Barb said...

What a hoot! I wonder if the ceramic phase will ever come around again. I remember my mother going every week and making all this stuff that, excuse me, looked like crap to me. Now because I said that I probably won't inherit the one thing I did like--the large ceramic green tree with little colored lights. I love Bug Eyes!

kaydra said...

So Sweet Jody , i lovehow time allows us to treasure what the world may veiw as ,of no value...this is a precious treasure and memory...which of your kids will get to keep the family tradition ?

kaydra said...

That last post was not Kaydra but her momma, Kaye, she hates it when i post in her name , no idea how that happened.

Helvey Happenings said...

I thought, for sure, we once had a wooden stable... it had a fence and fake snow and I want to say it came from the Speckeen side... like, maybe Grandma Speckeen. What happened to that?

Eggs In My Pocket said...

Your post made me laugh...and what a wonderful keepsake for the family. When my children were small, they too, had to have a turn to set the Nativity up. What a wonderful post! blessings,Kathleen

Bev said...

Thanks for sharing. Now I know what I will need for the next season. Hope your Christmas was magnificent!

Emily said...

Sweet blog... I love the nativity set. :)

Jane said...

I just wandered off to your blog and have been reading your Christmas memories and just had to tell you how much I enjoyed this very sweet story of your Nativity. Such a treasure! Thanks for sharing!

Rosemary said...

I love your Nativity. For my family we had a manager ( made from a wooden peach crate 1960 era) and the children put real straw in it during Advent to make a soft bed for the Christ Child. On Christmas eve we made a procession to place Baby Jesus in the manager and to read from the Bible the Gospel of Luke. The youngest placed the Babe and the older ones took turns reading. The years took its toll, but the Babe is treasured. My treetop angelface is from my first Christmas as a bride 1951. The light in the back, makes the face glow.
I love Christmas traditions and now have great-grands to enjoy and pass on.