• donkey and ox next to Virgin Mary at nativity

    Were Animals in the Manger on the First Christmas?

    Most representations of Jesus’ birth show donkeys, cows, and sheep watching over the Holy Family and a camel or two arriving with the Three Kings. Artistic renderings may include animals that are native to the artist’s country. For example, an African artist might include a zebra or a giraffe at the manger scene. But what

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  • Christmas ornaments from 1960s

    Guide to Vintage Christmas Decorations

    Christmas decorating is about memory making. If you are a parent or a grandparent, you want to make Christmas special for the kids. If you are a young person, you may feel the holiday season hasn’t begun until Mom or Dad hauls out the boxes out of the attic or basement. No matter what your

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  • Jim Morrison's National Christmas Center in Pennsylvania

    National Christmas Center Keeps Memories Alive

    At the National Christmas Center, it is common to hear a grandfather whisper to a grandchild, “That’s the train I had when I was your age.”  Another visitor may gasp and say something like, “We had that ornament on our tree when I was a little girl.” “We make people happy here by taking them

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  • Santon figurines on shelf of store in France

    4 Amazing Nativity Set Traditions from Europe

    There is perhaps no more meaningful way to celebrate the birth of Christ than by displaying a crèche. Since St. Francis of Assisi staged the first nativity scene in 1223, the idea of the Christmas crèche has spread throughout the world. Since the crèche is both a representation of faith and an art form, many

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  • Handmade nativity scene by Fonantini

    How Fontanini Became the Most Famous Nativity Sets in the World

    If you grew up with a nativity set in your home that was a family heirloom, chances are pretty good that is was a Fontanini Nativity set. The Fontanini tradition dates back to the late 1800s when company founder Emanuele Fontanini began creating crèche figures in the little town of Bagni di Lucca located in

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  • marian library creche collection at university of dayton

    University of Dayton’s Unparalleled Creche Collection

    For three decades, the University of Dayton’s Marian Library has featured a collection of nativity sets from around the world. Today it is one of the largest – if not the largest – nativity collections in the United States. Ranging from hand-made paper sets from Germany circa 1862 to the recent Hipster Nativity Set, which

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