I don’t know about you guys but I am getting really sick and tired of how commercialised Christmas has become. It starts as early as October with christmas decs already in stores even before Halloween. Every commercial on tv tells you what stuff you should buy and how christmas is all about what you can get from a fat man who somehow will squish through your fireplace and then leave with flying reindeer. The movies tell us that if we don’t believe in this fat man then all the kids in the world won’t get their presents and christmas will be ruined forever. But to be honest, if I think back on my life and my childhood I don’t really remember any of the gifts I’ve been given. I do remember the things we used to do together as a family though. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to believe in Santa and I’m not not dissing that but for me that’s not what Christmas is all about. So I’ve always been really grateful for the traditions that we had when I was a kid that we now started in our little family a few years back.
As you guys all know we have a tradition in our family to do a nativity each year. Since I love it so much I thought I would share a little bit about the background with you. So that I didn’t have to write out the entire history myself I just thought I would share what another website has to say about it… so lazy, I know… I’m not ashamed.
Traditionally, the main focus of Christmas decorations in Italy is the Nativity scene, presepe or presepio in Italian. Every church has a presepe and they can be found in squares, shops, and other public areas. Displays often go beyond the manger scene and may even include a representation of the entire village. Presepi are usually set up starting December 8, the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception, through January 6, Epiphany but some are unveiled on Christmas Eve.
Many people set up a Christmas crib in their house and figurines for nativity scenes are made in many parts of Italy, with some of the best coming from Naples and Sicily. Although the presepe is usually set up before Christmas, baby Jesus is added on Christmas Eve.
The Nativity scene is said to have originated with St. Francis of Assisi in 1223 (see Saint Francis in Italy when he constructed a nativity scene in a cave in the town of Greccio and held Christmas Eve mass and a nativity pageant there. Greccio reenacts this event each year.
Carving figurines for nativity scenes started in the late 13th century when Arnolfo di Cambio was commissioned to carve marble nativity figures for the first Rome Jubilee held in 1300. The nativity can be seen in the museum of Santa Maria Maggiore Church.
I may have started a little bit late this year but my goal is to get this year’s done this week. For the last two years I’ve been going for a kind of a cave scene, with last year’s being a little bit more elaborate than the year before. This year we decided to do something totally different. See, the whole idea is to come up with something different each year. That’s part of the fun. It’s so cool to see what ideas we can come up with and how we get better and better at it. So this year I’m going for a city scene, Bethlehem in some form I suppose. The material of choice this year is polystyrene as well as either tile grout or plaster, plus of course paint.
Just thought I would share the progress. Will of course show the finished product once it’s done. When have I ever failed on that?