I know Christmas is over, but I think I told Julie I’d show you my baby Jesuses that I worked so hard on.
First, a little background. Thirty some odd years ago, my aunt made our family a bean bag nativity set. What is a bean bag nativity set, you ask? Well, this is a bean bag nativity set:
It’s the perfect nativity set for kids because you can actually touch it without mom freaking out. Not only you can touch it, but you can play with it, and even act out the whole nativity story if you’d like. With a closer look, you can see it has been well loved.
Hay and hair refuse to be tamed (though I’m not sure I remember the hair ever looking much different than this), Mary’s missing a hand (I’m hoping that has nothing to do with the nativity bowling incident of 1996), the camel can no longer stand unaided—you get the picture. But this nativity set is responsible for some of my most treasured childhood Christmas memories, and I wanted to pass that on to my children. So about a decade ago, my oldest sister and I made new nativity sets.
We mostly stuck to the original pattern my mom had acquired from my aunt all those years ago, only making a few minor adjustments. The color palette is a little less 70s and we gave Joseph a sash and Mary a shawl, but otherwise we tried to maintain its original charm (including rastafarian-head Joseph–his locks were legend in our family). It took hours and hours to complete. My sister did all of the machine work since a decade a go I was even more clueless about the ways of a sewing machine than I am now (if you can believe it), and I helped out with the hand work. Our original plan was to make a set for each of our other siblings, but after completing our sets, we decided to take a break for the rest of that Christmas season, and well, that was a decade ago.
This year when my kids set up the nativities, I decided my two other sisters must have their own bean bag nativities. I really had the best of intentions, but keeping in mind my previous sewing experiences and that I made this decision just two weeks before Christmas, I’m sure you won’t be too surprised to learn that this is as far as I got (times two):
It took hours and hours to complete. And hours. I included a note with my sisters’ packages that I expected to be done with the rest of the sets in time for their grandchildren to enjoy them. Maybe. But at least they have the essential pieces, and aren’t they just the sweetest things you’ve ever seen?
If I do say so myself.