Steven and Monique Arnold look at Nativity Sets Thursday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Craig. The sets are part of an annual display showcasing Nativity Sets. This year, the exhibit contained 488 entries.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Steven and Monique Arnold look at Nativity Sets Thursday at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Craig. The sets are part of an annual display showcasing Nativity Sets. This year, the exhibit contained 488 entries.

Craig residents show off their nativity sets

Craig residents show off their Christmas collectables

Picture a traditional nativity scene with a manger, Mary, Joseph and three wise men.

Add a few camels, and throw in a shepherd or two.

Now, multiply that image nearly 500 times, and you'll get an idea of what an exhibit in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Craig looked like Thursday evening.

Hosting a nativity scene display has become one of the church's annual traditions. Its fifth-annual display opened Thursday. It continues today from 5 to 8 p.m. at the church, 1295 W. Ninth St., and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

This year, the display boasts 488 nativity sets, which range from humble cardboard displays to white, pearly glass creations.

The exhibit includes a group of tiny clay figurines featuring a clay cactus and rooster that flank traditional players in the Christmas story.

This nativity scene was made in Brazil and belongs to Craig resident LaJuan Shoemaker. Her collection includes between 15 and 20 nativity scenes from across the globe, including Sri Lanka, Chile, Ireland, England, Vietnam and Mexico. Her hobby isn't a secret, either. Her children know she collects nativity scenes, she said, and they pick them up for her when they travel abroad.

Still, it's not the allure of foreign souvenirs that fuels her interest in the miniature stable scenes.

Instead, it's the child depicted in the manger.

"I think that's what Christmas is all about," she said.

Nostalgia may play a role, too.

Shoemaker remembers the nativity scene her parents owned when she was a child.

It was made out of a heavy paper board and included a light that shined on the infant Jesus. Although the decoration may have paled in comparison to the more exotic varieties Shoemaker collects, she remembers looking forward to when the nativity scene came out during the holidays.

"I guess that's where the love (of nativity scenes) comes from," she said. "It's something from my childhood I remember."

One lifelong Craig resident and her siblings have gotten a head start on the hobby.

Katie Bohne's nativity scene collection started 10 years ago, when she was about 1 year old. Fittingly, her first nativity scene she remembers was made of stuffed cloth figurines.

But although her collection was started for her, Katie has since caught nativity fever. She and her two sisters - Hannah, 9, and Abby, 6 - own about 30 nativity scenes combined.

One of them, which belongs to Katie, hails from Bethlehem.

Her favorite?

"I don't really have a favorite," she said. "I just like them. They're very pretty."

Comments

gamesmas 5 years, 4 months ago

Wonderful exhibit. We have been in town just 6 days, and our picture is already in the paper. (At least in wasn't in the police logs LOL).

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