Every year in November my friend Nola Child begins to unwrap her Christmas treasures and transform her home into a sacred museum, of sorts. It takes Nola over a week of full-time effort to get everything into place. That’s because Nola owns over 600 nativity scenes from around the world (although, I’ve heard the unofficial number might be closer to 700). The pieces range from nearly life-sized down to the size of a thimble, and everything in-between. Her collection includes not only traditional crèche scenes, but also nativity-themed paintings, jewelry, toys, games, ornaments, wall hangings, blankets, pillows and stitchery (many handcrafted by Nola herself). Each nativity has a special story of how it came to be in Nola’s collection.
Nola didn’t always collect Nativities. She says it all started over 30 years ago when her children were very small. At the time, Nola was supplementing their family income as an Avon lady. One year, the company offered a tiny porcelain nativity set which Nola fell in love with, and was able to afford. The set remains one of the most precious nativities to her. It brought such a sweet spirit into her home each year. Nola began to realize she had a special love for images of the first Christmas. They touched her heart, and brought peace into her home. It didn’t take long before Nola’s family, friends and neighbors learned of Nola’s passion, and began helping to add to the collection, which has now grown so large Nola uses every room of her house for the display.
About seven years ago, Nola decided she would hold a little party for friends and neighbors to come and see the collection. It was a huge success, and word got around until it grew into a large annual “open house” event. Nola even makes nativity-themed treats. When I had the chance to visit Nola’s home this year, I couldn’t help snapping a few photos of the beautiful collection. . . which actually turned into a LOT of photos! With Nola’s permission, I have created a little video to share just a few of Nola’s beautiful treasures. Nola hopes that sharing her collection of nativity scenes will bring the same spirit of love, peace, and goodwill to others that she and her family feels; “May we never forget the true reason for the season.” – MoSop
“When we keep the spirit of Christmas, we keep the Spirit of Christ, for the Christmas spirit is the Christ Spirit. It will block out all the distractions around us which can diminish Christmas and swallow up its true meaning.”
– Thomas S. Monson