Last year this was one of my favorite topics for the Advent blog. Although some of this post will be the same as last year, I wanted to add some pictures I have found and some information on the little village houses and the Nativity set.
I had three favorite decorations or ornaments, the Nativity, the small cardboard village houses with the hole in the back and the original colored bubble lights that were both an ornament and a light! (In case you can't tell from my previous blogs I was born in the '50's).
My parents bought the simple Nativity set when they had my oldest brother (15 years older than me). Both of my brothers, Doug and Willard were in charge of it until I came along. I did some research on this Nativity and found out that it was sold both pre and post World War 2, at major department stores.
It was Italian made and was made out of a chalk like material. It had a young looking Joseph and Mary and the Baby Jesus had a manger made from a strange brown piece of organic material with small sticks glued on the side for legs (by the time I came along, rubber bands were added).
My favorite Shepherd was tall and kind looking and carried a lamb over his shoulders.
The camels were very heavy and for some reason, the bull's horns had springs sticking out them. The barn that Joseph, Mary and the baby stayed in was made out of such rough old wood that I believed that it actually came from Bethlehem! All these years later only a few of the pieces remain.
The Christmas before my brother Doug passed away, he found a complete set just like the original at an antique store and purchased it for me since I was so attached to it. It now is lovingly displayed each year with the remaining original pieces AND the organic brown manger.
I still have the cardboard village houses as well. "Back in the Day" I spent hours putting the fat Christmas lights through the hole in the back. The windows all were covered in colored cellophane and when the lights were shining, all the houses looked like families were home, warm and safe in the snow sheets.
I hope that you and your families are all able to sleep tight tonight like the families in the little cottages.