I have not decorated the house for Christmas in years. No, I am not a Scrooge. It has just seemed pointless since I am in Columbus visiting relatives for several days at Christmas, and then I have to get ready for a trip to Mexico in early January. I might put out a big, ceramic Santa by the fireplace, and the tables and shelves are filled with Christmas cards that I receive, but that's it.
Perhaps I was inspired by seeing the Nativity figures on sale at Mexico City's Jamaica Market, but last weekend I pulled out a few boxes and set up my Mexican "nacimiento" (Nativity scene).
I bought this set many years ago, probably in the early 1980s. I had taken a group of teachers from my school to Mexico City during Christmas vacation. It was right after a devaluation of the peso. Inflation had not yet caught up with the devaluation, and everything was ridiculously inexpensive for us. I found these lovely Nativity figures at Sanborns, a restaurant / gift shop chain, for only $10 USD. A few years ago my friend Frank made the "portal" or gateway under which which Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus are standing.
I set the scene up on the mantel above the fireplace.
If you remember my post about the Jamaica Market, you may recall the photos of the clay figurines used in the "nacimientos". Many Mexican families put up an enormous Nativity scene with an elaborate landscape and all the villagers of Bethlehem (who all look like Mexican villagers) coming to see the Baby Jesus. These figures are sold in the marketplaces in the weeks before Christmas. On another trip that I made to Mexico during Christmas, I bought a bunch of these figures. Since they do not match my Nativity, I set them up on a separate table.
In addition to the people, I have a well, a bridge (which I place over a mirror), a thatched hut, a donkey, a horse, a couple of cacti and some turkeys. (Yes, I know there were no turkeys in ancient Palestine, but this is a Mexican version of the first Christmas.) I still had a bag of moss and stones from the last time I set this up, so I created some landscaping.
I should have bought some more figures when I was at the Jamaica Market last month, but my suitcase was already filled with gifts to take home. The other day I asked Alejandro if he would find a couple more pieces at his local market and buy them for me as a Christmas present. Perhaps this scene will eventually get so big that I will have to set it up on the floor in front of the fireplace!