As a child, every year my parents would break out the Nativity set. Some years it had its own spot in the house, other years it resided beneath the Christmas tree to be lit by pastel pinks, greens, blues and yellows.
As I got older I would start rearranging the porcelain characters. I decided some of them weren’t mingling enough. The Shepherd looked like he needed company. In order to correct this, some nights he wound up fraternizing with the Wisemen. Sometimes even Joseph would step away from baby duty to have some “Guy Time” with the “Wise Guys” himself.
Our Nativity also came equipped with one cow and one mule. Apparently the stable the Holy family stayed in had a small upper level (according to who made the set.) One night, I thought the cow and mule should take turns having a bird’s eye view of how baby Jesus was doing from that upper level. Every night I would go back to the Nativity to see if anything moved. If they were in their original spot I would move them in different positions again, to make it more “real” or “true to life”. It wasn’t until much later I realized how annoyed my mom was at this. She had no idea how much it annoyed me to not have a mule on the roof of the manger. This is a tradition that took place for many years.
Later, I moved on to move things around in a small lighted Christmas scene my Grandparents made out of porcelain. Then it was on to the rather large Christmas village my parents received from my Grandparents. The first year I started college is when they set it up. I found a figurine that had, at one time, also been my Grandma’s. The figurine was of a smallish mouse peeling a banana. When Mom wasn’t looking I placed the banana peeling mouse on one of the village sidewalks while my neighborhood best friend acted as an accomplice and a look out. One time the mouse stayed the night in the village before I asked mom if she noticed anything suspicious about the village and in particular, its sidewalks.
To this day, I still don’t know what’s more fun, creating the scenes, or getting caught being mischievous with the characters!
Which would you prefer? Have you or your kids done this to your Christmas scenes?